Fishbowl Gives Food For Thought On Engaging Leaders – 10 February 2017 

Our latest Share |Learn | Inspire event, using the Fishbowl Technique, found that building trust, cutting cost and proving impact are three of the key ways to persuade leaders to invest in an Engagement Programme.

More than 40 engagement professionals gathered at the offices of generous hosts Squire Patton Boggs in Birmingham to hear from senior leaders on how to drive boardroom buy-in to employee engagement.

Following a delicious breakfast everyone gathered in a fishbowl format (see picture attached) to put the execs at the centre of the action to begin with. As other people added questions or observations they swapped places with the senior leaders. Showing how engagement builds trust, demonstrating engagement improves performance using data and emphasising the hidden costs of a lack of engagement were all seen as key drivers.

In the light of the discussion we’ve identified ten key ways to raise the interest of senior leaders in Employee Engagement:

Ten Ways To Interest Senior Leaders

Trust Is A Must – Leaders want to build trust above all else. Showing how employee engagement builds trust with employees is a very a powerful argument.

Data Decides – Think smartly about use of intelligence and data to persuade. Link static engagement data for different sites/locations/teams/staff groups to other metrics for example, turnover, recruitment costs, L&D costs, absence, performance. Provide a baseline on engagement and then compare the change to these KPIs over time to demonstrate the relationship and then the business case. Make sure employee surveys are relevant to your own organisation and its drivers.

Cost Is Boss – Present the hidden cost of a lack of employee engagement – average cost of a tribunal claim = £9K; average settlement costs £5K; average time taken 3 years. Alongside this is the stress, management time involved as opposed to the extra efforts of engaged employees. Research highlights that every disengaged employee costs the business 1/3 of their salary.

Lose The Lip Service – Where leaders are paying lip service to employee engagement despite having the data you need, find ways to present leaders with direct frontline feedback and ensure they proactively demonstrate they are listening and responding.

It Starts From The Top – Emphasise the importance of senior leaders roles in modelling the desired behaviours and attributes for engagement and filter down.

Engage To Engage – Remember communication is about engaging your leaders. Make communication two-way; ask questions, listen and develop your proposed programme responsively and in collaboration with key allies. Involve, involve, involve.

Customers Come First – Demonstrate the link between employee engagement to customer perceptions of the business, service delivery and their loyalty

Many A True Word – Use humour, fun and personality to raise employee interest in engagement and show senior leaders how that is driving improved performance.

Use The Engage For Success ResourceLeadership and the Barriers to Engagement.

If At First…Acknowledge from the outset that embedding employee engagement takes time, try all of the above and then try again…

Thanks to everyone for their input not least our executives in the fishbowl and hosts Squire Patton Boggs.

Find out more about the Greater Birmingham Engage for Success Share | Learn | Inspire Network.

Our network volunteers are:
Fiona Anderson, Founder
John Travers, Co-Founder
Baljit Kaur

John Travers, Co-Founder

Image courtesy of John Travers
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