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Employee Engagement Strategy: What’s Your Story?

Why strategy needs to be a story

Employee Engagement Model Zinger 2011

Shawn Callahan from Anecdote wrote a fine post on the potential for organizational leadership to be disengaged from strategy because they don’t really understand or feel the strategy. If this is true for leaders it is frightening to think about how disconnected or disengaged other employees may be from the strategy of the organization. McKinsey&Company estimated that 65% of employees may be unable to articulate the organization’s strategy and Shawn’s post makes me think this number might be low.

In the age of engage, we must stop having senior leadership retreat to craft strategy. Social media offers great mechanisms for engagement with strategy and Shawn let’s us know how important it is to transform dry strategy statements into living story. Here is a section from Shawn’s post:

The strategy gets developed as an analytical and rational process (and quite rightly so) and the end result is a document. The document gets passed around the executive team for comments. It’s duly read and commented on and at that point those running the strategy process believe everyone understands and is on board with the strategy. But something quite interesting happens when they have to tell the story of the strategy. Firstly, by telling the story of the strategy they feel what the strategy sounds like. And you can literally see executives squirm in their seat with aspects of the strategy as they say it.

The Engage for Success movement has demonstrated that strategic narrative is one of the four enablers of employee engagement.  Let’s bring engagement to life with a compelling strategy story because if executive squirm in telling the story how can we expect them to live the story of the organization.

To read Shawn’s full post click on his title: How to get all your executive team on the same page with your strategy.

So, what’s your story and how would I see it lived in the work of all employees?

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David Zinger is an expert  global employee engagement speaker and consultant who uses the pyramid of employee engagement to help leaders, managers, and organizations increase engagement.

The Answer is Clear: The Employee Engagement Business Case

Nailing the Evidence

Employee engagement the evidence from Engage for Success

I appreciate this slide presentation from Engage for Success on the evidence or business case for engagement. Watch it and let’s be done with this discussion about whether engagement does or does not make a difference for business.

The evidence is clear. Employee engagement make a significant difference.

Zinger Associates

David Zinger is working hard to ensure that individuals, managers, leaders, businesses, and organizations understand what they can do to realize the benefits of employee engagement  by following the 10 practices outlined in his pyramid of employee engagement.


8 Developments That Stood Out in Employee Engagement in 2012

What stood out for you in Employee Engagement last year?

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 Here is what stood out for me last year in employee engagement:

The UK Engage for Success Movement. It was incredible to see the UK rally behind employee engagement with the Engage for Success Movement. This ranged from more work on the business case for engagement and a resource rich website to hundreds of events and actions around the UK.  I encourage you to visit the Engage for Success website to learn what they did in 2012 and where they are going in 2013.

Social Media Growth in Employee Engagement. Twitter, Linked In, and Facebook have been buzzing with talk about employee engagement in 2012. I remember five years ago on Twitter when there might be one post on employee engagement every 5 hours and now it can be one every minute.

Employee Engagement Pairings. Many of the large consultancies have been pairing employee engagement with another key variable. For example:

  • Gallup = Employee Engagement + Wellbeing
  • Hay Group = Employee Engagement + Enablement
  • BlessingWhite = Employee Engagement + Energy

Growth the of Employee Engagement Network. The Employee Engagement Network continues to grow at about 20 to 30 members a week and has reached over 5500 members in just under 5 years.

More Books. There have been a lot of books written on employee engagement in 2012 and many books on leadership and management ensure they address employee engagement in their contents. Just a few of the recent books that have landed on my desk in 2012 were:

  • Susan Walker, Employee Engagement and Communication Research
  • David Bowles and Cary Cooper, The High Engagement Work Culture
  • Christopher Rice, Fraser Marlow and Mary Ann Masarech, The Engagement Equation
  • Timothy Clark, The Employee Engagement Mindset

Postgraduate Certificate in Employee Engagement. Katie Truss from the University of Kent has lead the way in creating a university certificate in employee engagement.

Searching for Employee Engagement becomes a hit. About eight years ago there were about 200,000 results found when searching “employee engagement” in Google. At the end of 2012 there were:  8, 380,000.

Employee Engagement Humor. John Junson offers a weekly cartoon on employee engagement on the Employee Engagement Network and Dilbert made fun of engagement at least three times last year. We are growing in the ability to take our topic seriously and to take ourselves lightly.

This was a top of mind  list of a few items that stood out for me about employee engagement. What stood out for you in employee engagement in 2012?

ZingerNEWLogo_Apr.5.2012 (1)

David Zinger is a global employee engagement expert already scheduled to work in New York, Mumbai, Delhi, Berlin, and Chicago in early 2013. Contact him today to offer education, speaking or consulting services to increase employee engagement where you work.

Get the Employee Engagement Picture: Engage for Success Go Live Event (#E4S)

Well done all involved in the Monday Engage For Success Event

It was a pleasure to attend the Engage for Success event in London yesterday and see how the UK is leading the way in employee engagement!

I look forward to my event on Wednesday on engagement, strengths, innovation, and excellence in conjunction with Strengths Partnership. If you are in London and available I encourage you to attend. To learn more, click here.

Employee Engagement: Lessons from London Drunks and Disruptive Voices (#E4S)

Employee Engagement and Employee Voice

I am in London today for the Engage for Success event this afternoon. My wife and I are staying in central London on Charing Cross Road. It is a brilliant location in the heart of the theatre district but it is also a very busy area. After long sleep deprived travel I was jolted out of sleep last night by the loud drunken voices of people leaving the pubs and bars in the area.

While I was trying to return to sleep I thought about how disruptive those voices where but how they also caused me to wake up and I began to think about possible disruptive voices within an organization and how if they are embraced rather than stifled or ignored they may help an organization to wake up. Of course I must admit, I have employee engagement on my mind a lot.


Engage for Success has identified one of the four key enablers of employee engagement as employee voice: There is employee voice throughout the organisations, for reinforcing and challenging views, between functions and externally, employees are seen as central to the solution.


Clayton Christensen gained notoriety for his work on disruptive innovations. Christensen’s research explains why organizations have such trouble countering or embracing disruptive innovations that are on the horizon. His theory is that organizations customarily develop mind-sets and processes that revolve around doing what they already know. Once that pattern becomes established, managers have great difficulty justifying to others or even themselves the need to make any changes.

My engagement thought as I was trying to fall back to sleep was that what Christensen has identified in the field of innovation also applies to employee engagement and disruptive voice. We need to welcome and even embrace the disruptive voices within the organization. What seems at times as a frustrating annoyance may be the impetus to a new way or working, engaging, or organizing. We should not be wearing earplugs when it comes to hearing what all employees have to say.

Here are some ways to welcome disruptive voice:

  • Have employees develop the questions you ask on engagement surveys. I have always liked the line if you want to get everyone on the same page, give them the opportunity to write on that page. Also, never ask a question on a survey unless you are ready, willing, and able to share all responses and act on those responses. Make the results of all surveys including all employee anecdotes (good or bad) available to all employees as soon as possible upon completion of the survey. Do not have an external consultancy and senior management go through a process of sanitizing or justifying the results.
  • Cease using any form of anonymous feedback within the organization. Make it safe to be disruptive but require people to own their disruptive voice rather than taking shots at someone else under the veil of anonymity. Disengagement should never be a punishable offence rather it should be a trigger to a conversation.
  • Live the positive deviancy dictum for work with employees: Never do anything about me without me. One way is to ensure there is ample room and opportunity for employees to be able to voice their perceptions, experiences, and thoughts.
  • After all organizational change, ensure employees have the opportunity to voice the impact of that change, especially what they feel they are losing because of the change. Stop trying to sell the change or get buy in, rather create conversation to engage with the change. As William Bridges so aptly stated, change begins with the end and the biggest failure of organizations in managing change is the failure to determine who is losing what because of the change.
  • Don’t allow senior executives to go away on an isolated retreat to develop strategy — use the various internal social media tools and crowdsourcing to have all employees, the people closest to the work and customers, offer their contributions. McKinsey has performed some research that found that 25% of employee in healthy organizations cannot articulate the organization’s strategy and that up to 65% of employees in unhealthy organizations cannot articulate the organizations’s strategy.  Stop making organizational strategy a leadership decree and start making it a living conversation involving all employees.
  • Make use of an internal social platform and keep any censorship limited to disrespectful or spam-like messages. Develop guidelines to request that disruptive voice is paired with respectful communication

If you are looking for more tips on developing the voice of employees Engage for Success has created a list of 20 helpful tips. To download the pdf, click here.

Wake up to the disruptive voices in your organization.

David Zinger is a global employee engagement who is in London for the Engage for Success event. He will also be doing a workshop on engagement, strengths, innovation, and excellence on Wednesday. For more information or to register for that workshop, click here.



Employee Engagement: Brand New Engage For Success Site is Awesome

Successful Employee Engagement from the United Kingdom

A big congratulations to all those involved in helping develop and launch the brand new Engage for Success Website and resource site. If you are interested or involved in employee engagement this will be a site to bookmark and visit frequently.

It just launched and here are some of the early features that I have already engaged with:

  • The Four Enablers
  • Voice: The Engage for Success Magazine
  • Ideas and Tools
  • Get Engaged Video
  • Community and Events Calendar
  • Community Groups
  • Top Tips

I’ve have added the RSS feed to my Google Reader and look forward to all the developments as the Engage for Success movement goes forward. Well done everyone!

David Zinger is a global employee engagement expert who looks forward to going to London in 2 weeks to join in the celebration of Engage for Success.