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.

engagement ninjas we are ready to fight!

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