Scalpels at the ready… the employee engagement industry is in desperate need of a face-lift if it wa

Last week, I went into a dentist’s surgery and was presented with a form that asked me about my hopes and dreams for the future of my teeth. On the flipside of the form there was a line that said:

“Would you like to receive information about other services such as Botox and Lip Fillers?”

And it hit me…

If my dentist surgery has gone from metal fillings and train track braces to minor plastic surgery, isn’t it about time the employee engagement industry stepped up its game?

The fact is that despite significant investment in engagement activities, businesses are still not seeing an increase on the bottom line. And that’s primarily because the ways in which companies are choosing to engage people are not relevant in today’s workplace.

Gone are the days where some extra fruit in the kitchen or a summer BBQ are enough – what employees expect from companies today is totally different. They want to find purpose, community, innovation and flexibility at every stage of the employee experience.

So, how can businesses take a scalpel to their approach and evolve employee engagement in this new era? I would start with these four things.

1. Update the way you think about engagement

Businesses need to start thinking long-term. Many companies focus on the here and now. They provide short-term solutions to engagement challenges thrown up by an engagement survey or the latest engagement app insight.

But the real value lies in tackling engagement through a more sustainable approach, by shaping a mutually beneficial employee experience that encourages people to actually want to go to work every day. One that aligns with the company’s purpose and strategy and empowers employees to focus on what is going to drive growth for the company and the individuals who work there.

Designing, building and maintaining the right employee experience is one of – if not the most important – roles a leader has. Get it right, and you’ve opened the door to better bottom-line results.

2. Don’t forget, we’re all human

Technology has transformed our lives and the way we work. But, it’s not always the solution to the employee engagement challenges we face. It only tackles part of the problem.

In a world of technological saturation, now more than ever we need to create moments where people come together to connect, collaborate and establish a community offline.

We’re all human and the impact of engaging with others is something we will always need, and something technology cannot replace. Live, raw, face-to-face contact is therefore critical to shaping an engaging workplace experience.

3. Shake up the ownership structure

There is still a common misconception that employee engagement is an initiative solely owned by HR.

Why? Because companies are underestimating its impact.

But the smart companies among us recognise that employee engagement is a multifaceted beast. Anyone that interacts at touchpoints across the employee journey needs to own their interaction as part of a holistic experience. That experience starts with recruitment and attraction, and goes right through to induction, onboarding, learning and development, exit and beyond.

Regardless of whether you’re in HR, Sales, Finance or Marketing, if you impact the experience, it’s time to take ownership.

4. The line manager population is yet to be unlocked

Line managers provide the crucial link between employees on the ground and the senior leadership team. They’re the people you interact with every day, and some of the most important gatekeepers of a company’s culture.

Their potential to drive change in an organisation is therefore huge, however, within many organisations line managers are still an untapped resource.

Investment in training and development for line managers is put to the bottom of the list, which means they aren’t prepared for what their role throws at them. This is where the disconnect starts, and engagement falters.

Equip your line managers with the skills and tools they need to own engagement within their team, and you’ve got yourself an army of advocates right on the front line.

Ready to get started?

These four areas are a great starting point for thinking longer-term and focusing on investing in the things that will drive a lasting impact on your business.

Get in touch at if you want to unlock the real power of engagement in your business.