Employee Engagement - Top Down + Bottom Up

Summary of our 6th December 2012 Briefing Workshop

"A culture of engagement surveys, communication and training is not the same as an engagement culture"

Ray Atkinson, Managing Director, The Wadenhoe Consultancy Ltd.

We were delighted to welcome representatives from a cross section of large organizations including: Honda, Siemens, Noon Products - Kerry Foods, Lafarge Aggregates, Ricardo Engineering, Rolls Royce and Autoglass.

Our aim was to share experience of developing integrated strategies that combine "top down" and "bottom up" approaches to Employee Engagement and understanding of the +'s to ensure the two are complementary. Everyone acknowledged that the route from strategic intent to creating real movement for change is seldom a "top down" straight line. Yet there is frequently a great temptation to get into the action too quickly, even though we know that a culture of engagement surveys, communication and training is not the same as an engagement culture.

Throughout the day, the Wadenhoe Team provided examples of six areas where they had solid practical experience of implementing "bottom up" activities that really worked:
  • Engaging Leadership: Leaders can't make people engage, but they can create an environment by their conversations and actions, where people choose or don't choose to engage. During this part of the day we showed how line managers can fully engage their people by generating: commitment, confidence, competence and self-esteem.

  • Energisers: "Top down" role modeling alone does not bring about behaviour change. In this exercise we looked at methods for identifying and developing "ordinary" people throughout the organization, who were highly trusted, well-connected and influential. Then we considered how they could provide bottom up stimulus for change.

  • Few Key Behaviours: Too many references to new behaviours and competencies only serve to confuse people. We looked at some creative ways of using Energisers at all levels, to identify a few key engagement behaviours and how they could help to make them "stick".

  • Informal Crossover Networks: Cascading information about Engagement through the usual formal organisation networks is only a small part of a successful Engagement strategy. We considered tools for using Energiser contacts to develop and expand bottom up "Networks Webs" that transcend formal organisational boundaries.

  • Level-to-Level Peer Conversations: High-level champions advocating change, however sincere they may be, have limited impact without corresponding "level-to-level" conversations. We looked at informal processes for generating activist conversations eg person to person, team to team, department to department.

  • Daily Spread of New "Stories": Outdated, character or department-specific accounts of good Engagement practices soon wear very thin. We shared the secrets of telling a good story that is: memorable, transferable, prompts emotions, easy to tell others, becomes more important than the character and is directly linked to a particular engagement behaviour.
Feedback from everyone was excellent. Alongside networking opportunities, participants all agreed that they were leaving with:
  • Greatly increased awareness of "top down" and "bottom up" approaches to Employee Engagement.
  • Excellent examples and practice in applying some of the Wadenhoe tools and techniques.
  • Better understanding of the Wadenhoe style and approach.
For more information and/or to arrange an in-house workshop please call us on: 01865 339558 or email me direct at: ray@wadenhoeconsultancy.com

Ray Atkinson
Managing Director

The Wadenhoe Consultancy Ltd

Prama House
267 Banbury Road

Phone: 01865 339558
Mobile: 07899 796993
Fax: 01865 339301
Email: ray@wadenhoeconsultancy.com
Web: www.wadenhoeconsultancy.com

Registered in England No: 6717860

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