Come On CEOs – what’s stopping you?

I’m really looking forward to going to the Engage For Success breakfast briefing tomorrow “Engagement through the CEO’s eyes”. We’ll get to hear about the findings from a year-long study commissioned by Engage for Success, which explores the concept of employee engagement through the eyes of 16 UK CEOs – and I’ll be blogging live from the event to bring you updates throughout the morning.

In preparation for the event, I’ve been thinking about my own experience of CEOs and engagement over the years. When I first started talking to CEOs about the need to focus on engagement back in the early 2000s, I had to work hard to make a case and convince them that this was the right thing to do, and that engagement would lead to improved business performance. Even back then, there were those that just intuitively “got it”. Then there were those who wanted more and more evidence, who would argue the short comings of correlations versus regression analysis, and who would argue that we can never prove that any positive benefits are actually a result of engagement activity – so why waste our time and energy on this?

Over the years, times have changed. It’s very rare now that I have to convince CEOs of the merits of employee engagement, or of the business case. They know (at least on the surface) that engaging your employees makes good business sense. But underneath, I often feel I’m still having similar conversations to those I was having 10 years ago. Some of those conversations are with CEOS who just get it, and what a joy they are! Then there are other conversations, where I hear the CEO saying they buy into employee engagement but the say/ do are just not matching. Lip service is being paid, but I’m just not feeling it from them. And if I can pick up on this, then sure as anything the rest of their organisation can.

So I can’t wait to see the findings from this research – to help me better understand engagement through the CEOs eyes. That way, maybe I can help more CEOs I work with to engage with engagement.

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