LAKE DISTRICT — I really like David MacLeod. And I am very pleased that the Prime Minister is excited about the idea of employee engagement. I like that he sees it as a possible source of competitive advantage for Britain.
(I am a bit disappointed that with so many delays they only issued it this week, deep in the heart of summer holidays. And long after school has broken.)
And, because I think that engagement is something that we can and should spend more time, I am very reluctant to ask for more… but…
here I go…
Couldn’t we do this a bit faster?
If ever there was a time to galvanise industry into thinking and acting on engagement it is in this economy, in this time of change, in this moment. Now.
We do know a lot about engagement. There has been a lot of academic research. It is all pointing in roughly the same direction. But Mr MacLeod also sees the controversy over ‘what is engagement?’, and I think he has deferred the decision of trying to nail it down.
My view is that there are a lot of people selling events, surveys, programmes, picnics and other things that they say will ‘drive engagement’. And basically won’t. And that audience is a scary one.
But we know what does drive engagement. It’s things like perceptions of fairness at work. (How have the last eight months fared on that level?!) It’s line management leadership skills and an organisation’s ability to create some level of decisions participation.
But this stuff is harder than picnics and company values posters.
Unfortunately, all that the MacLeod Report has chosen to do now is kick the issue forward into the future. “More study”, from my time in politics, was always code for “extra time to bury it.” I know MacLeod is not like that. But what about BIS (BERR) and maybe Number 10?
Engagement in UK industry and the public sector is a potential boon to us. It even impacts on people’s quality of life.
I can’t see it.