Terms of EngagementBy Margot Cairnes, MBA, B.Ed. (Hons), 12 SFB (12 Steps-For-Business) Boards seem to be very interested in the results of engagement surveys in which there is a burgeoning industry. CEOs are responding by ensuring they are doing “something” about low engagement scores. We recently researched this trend. It turns out that most engagement surveys are based on research done by those selling the surveys. Moreover, there is little agreement on the definition of engagement and although each consulting house has done its own research, there is no refereed research to back it up. This gave me licence to draw my own conclusions based on a remarkable increase in engagement I witnessed in one organisation over a period of two years. I saw a company radically reduce its staff turnover, attract higher quality staff and magnetise back good people who had left. I saw all the staff members increase their commitment to the company and their involvement in leadership of areas not directly under their control but also in service of the wider business. I saw team work increase and what appeared to be the staff “growing up” in thinking and behaviour. The key change was the result of a new CEO. The outgoing CEO had been self serving and mostly interested in his own image, power and status, whereas the new CEO genuinely cared about the company and the people in it. The old CEO controlled through divide and rule and seemed to create dependency on him as a leader – making all decisions and ensuring nobody acted without his say so.
I saw a company radically reduce its staff turnover, attract higher quality staff and magnetise back good people who had left.