Author, Consultant, Executive Coach - Helping people and organizations grow into desired results

Friday, 14 May 2010

Thoughts and themes from an EE conf in Melbourne

Just wrapped up the Melbourne Employee Engagement conference and a couple of clear themes emerged:

  • There's great value to be gained in giving your people access to the senior leaders in your organization - if that's not possible, remember that it's your people managers who will need to carry your engagement efforts.
  • High salaries and a great safety record only get you so far in engaging your people. If they have to "park their brain at the gate" and get their intrinsic satisfaction (i.e. happiness and real engagement, a.k.a. "flow" experiences) from activities outside work, you've still got your work cut out for you as an organization.
  • Acquisitions and mergers are a fast way to grow a company and gain needed technology and market share. M&A's attract lots of "bean counters" looking to realize efficiencies...equally important (and too-often forgotten) is the need for people-positive engagement practices. No company ever cut its way to greatness and in the final analysis it's people who make the competitive difference. Great to hear about practical ways to demonstrate the value of the intangible people dimension.
  • A compelling presentation reminded us all of the power of stories to engage and motivate people. In the same vein, you'll find a tmc-related example of practical application of storytelling in an organizational setting (combined with the solution-focused technique The Affirm) here.
  • One of my favourite quotes of the conference was from Michael Specht: It's not a social media problem, it's a management problem. If you don't trust your people, if they're already wasting time in other ways, and you give them social media tools - they're just going to go play. Highlights the role of technology as not only an enabler but an accelerator of what's already happening in the organization - hence also an amplifier. If you're disconnected from your people no amount of social media will reverse that trend.
  • My equally favourite quote of the conference: Change programs [to improve people engagement] are not a sprint. They're a marathon. Enjoyed the insight offered that when leaders and manages fail to communicate using "formal channels," the result is not silence; instead the "informal" communication channels (i.e. the rumour mill) move in to fill the vacuum. For me the interesting question becomes: given that conversations in your organization are happening all the time - what can you do to get positive conversations working for you?
Those are my highlights from the Melbourne conference - tune in next week for an overview of both conferences.

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