TSI Blog

What does employee engagement actually look like? Part 2

May 5th, 2011 by Gary Cattermole

I was at a meeting recently and was asked how best to describe employee engagement (it’s quite a common question!).  I took a few minutes to take the group through the various definitions from different perspectives: academia, consulting companies and those at the coalface.

In addition, I provided some clear examples of what true engagement is and what it looks like in the real word.

I posted in a previous blog (What does employee engagement actually look like?) about my ideas for what employee engagement looks like but I thought you might be interested in one of the other examples I used.

Imagine the scenario, if I were to suggest that we got some technical savvy people working as a group together to design some fantastic software, sounds good so far.  What if they worked for free, and volunteered their efforts? Then imagine, that we ‘gave away’ the results of those efforts, completely free and we built a community to support it – you might think me slightly mad.

Fundamentally, that’s what happened with Linux. People came together and gave hours (20 plus) of their ‘free time’, these people had day jobs (rather well paid day jobs as it happens), and created the ubiquitous operating system (and various flavours) now used all over the world.  Not only is it free but it’s open source as well – people continue to contribute to it and to develop it.  It’s an amazing story!

All that ‘discretionary effort’ – wouldn’t it be great to have your people that engaged?

I think it’s another great example of engagement.

Why did people do this?  The challenge, the kudos maybe altruistic motives? Why do we have hobbies? We do things with our ‘free time’ that are challenging; we gain personal satisfaction from them and rarely earn anything (financially) other than pride from what we do.

It really is amazing what can be achieved when people or your employees are engaged.

We can help you obtain higher levels of employee engagement.

Written by Gary Cattermole
Gary Cattermole is a Director at The Survey Initiative, a dedicated employee research organisation devoted to helping its clients gain insight and understanding into what drives employee engagement in their business. Gary has extensive expertise and experience in a range of employee research techniques from employees surveys and 360 degree feedback to workshop facilitation and action planning sessions, working with a diverse range of clients such as EPSON, Telegraph Media Group, Natural History Museum, AVEVA and Accor. Gary is an avid sports fan, in particular table tennis and football. Visit http://www.surveyinitiative.co.uk for more information.

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