Our approach to employee engagement

Our approach has three stages

1. See it and own it

…seeing what really goes on in the organisation and taking responsibility for it

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We normally run a ½–1 day workshop for a group of around 15 people drawn from different levels and teams within the organisation. This day is about helping the group see the reality of what is going on in their organisation, business unit or team and then accepting responsibility for the situation and for changing it. We help them to articulate how they would like it to be – i.e. what behaviours are necessary to build a fully engaged and high performing workforce.

We often use actors to dramatise situations and relationships within the organisation, which is powerful and revealing but in a non-threatening way.

At this stage the group will feel not just a sense of ownership but real excitement about the possibility of change throughout the organisation.

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2. Change it

…creating and experiencing change, not just talking about or planning for it

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We normally bring together the advocate group (as we call the group of 15) for a 2 day workshop to put into practice and make real the behavioural goals they identified in the earlier phase.

Our view is that the workshop is a microcosm of the workplace, and the behaviours you see displayed reflect work behaviours. This gives you a chance to see those behaviours, away from all the normal daily meetings and activities, to explore why people are behaving the way they do and then help the individuals and the group to try different, more constructive behaviours. This is challenging for people as they start to create and experience change. The people gain real insights into their own and colleagues’ behaviour and into how they can start to effect change in themselves and others.

In the second part of this workshop the group develops a high level strategy for how to transform engagement across the whole organisation. Because the advocate group is itself a microcosm of the whole organisation and because they have gone through the experience of challenging and changing their own behaviour, they have a good understanding of how to change the wider organisation.

This is the heart of the Metafore approach and many of the comments from clients included on the website make reference to how different and powerful this approach is.

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3. Live it

…making the change stick

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This third phase is about the implementation of the strategy developed by the advocate group. At this stage they may want to engage with the business leaders about what’s needed. They will certainly want to work with their immediate work groups; they will have a sense for whether some more workshops are needed, what comms there should be, how HR should be contributing and so on.

Our role here is coaching and advising; critical friend and experienced business partner. Running more workshops. Transferring skills to the people to run the workshops for themselves.

This is a marathon not a sprint. It takes time to truly embed a new way of working. Processes need to be aligned. There must be feedback and reflection, performance reviews, board accountability, and surveys and communications to reinforce the change. And celebration of the commercial benefits actually achieved!

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From our blog: * 27 Oct 2011 25 years of Big Bang *

site developed by Mark Iliff, Talespinner