I may be wrong, I often am.
My heart sank with yesterday’s news that the UK Government has launched a taskforce to boost employee engagement. Read that sentence again and tell me it doesn’t reek of despair. However well meaning this taskforce is I shudder when government, any government, starts fiddling with the concept of making work better. There’s a huge industry chuntering out surveys and magic numbers and other guff purporting to be about discretionary effort (that means working harder for no more money). Kevin Ball has written a storming post on engagement surveys which is well worth a read.
This taskforce is to be headed by David MacLeod, an eminent speaker and writer on this subject. I know he’s an eminent writer because I have a stack of ten copies of Engaging for Success (co authored by MacLeod and Nita Clarke and contributed to by me and doubtless hundreds of others) now doubling up as a footstool in my office. Engagingly supportive. And I know that MacLeod is a highly polished speaker on the subject of employee engagement. I’ve seen him speak several times over the years (including once at a conference I disorganised in April 2010) and he’s good at it. Trouble is it feels stuck. It’s the same story, using the same slides, same jokes, same pleas. I am not yet convinced he has the vigour and rigour to drive this along purposefully. Mind you I’m unsure anyone could drive this in a useful way unless that by useful you mean appeasing government bureaucracy, or driving the whole damn thing off a cliff.
I believe engagement is simple, and that doesn’t mean it is easy.
I think I’ll set up a counter taskforce! I already have an army of HR undead massed at the gates of engagement. War is declared – let battle come down.
Keen to know what other folks think about this. Are you up for more government sponsored plodding or shall we try a more agile, exciting kick ass way to engage with meaning?
photo c/o carloscappaticci