When can 5 be equal to between 4 and 6 – a simple way to do some maths of engagement

“If you can measure of which you speak and can express it by a number, you know something of your subject; but if you cannot measure it, your knowledge is meagre and unsatisfactory” – Lord Kelvin


“What gets measured, gets done” – Tom Peters


If employee engagement is truly business critical, then we should be able to demonstrate it in a simple way for anyone to understand. Employee Engagement Surveys with outputs such as 73% don’t do it for me. Such a value is meaningless to all but a few.

Let’s cut through the jargon and complexity and look at things in a simpler way. We assume engagement is good for business because people are motivated to work harder. If so, all things being equal, an “engaged” person will have higher output than someone who is “not engaged”, and both will outstrip a “disengaged” person (using Gallup’s terminology).


Let’s assume an “engaged” person has an output of 1.2, a “not engaged” person an output of 1 and a “disengaged” person an output of 0.8. For a 5 person team, output can range between 6 and 4. For an elite team (all engaged), there is a 50% better performance than one struggling to stay together. But, even over a median team, the gain is 20%. In big organisations, that soon adds up to real money.

There you are – 5 can range between 4 and 6.  You may well challenge the values – feel free to do your own calculations. You may even apply a wider range, but there is no getting away from the fact that improving employee engagement makes good business sense.


This simple approach can provide a basis to think about engagement policies and processes that you can apply to move the numbers up. But, that’s another story for another time.           

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Cheetah and Dog living in harmony 19 November 2013

The Quarterly CIPD Survey Autumn 2013 – employees want feedback and recognition

The latest CIPD Employee Outlook survey has been published ( The headline is the fact that a quarter of employees are looking for new jobs. This prompts me to comment.

There is an old saying that people join companies, but leave bosses. In addition, looking at engagement scores, whilst the headline is for a small improvement, there is still a minority in the “engaged” bracket, with the bulk in “neutral”. This suggests a considerable potential to be exploited. This is especially so in larger companies where non engagement is highest and amongst the junior ranks.

Attitudes to managers is put positively at 64%, but I wonder what this really means when considered against the “neutral” engagement score and more particularly minus numbers for involvement and consultation on planning. In reality, we all know not everyone can be involved, but at low level in teams, the potential for involvement should be considerable.

The numbers that did strike home with me were not in the headlines – but in the performance review process – 33% were reviewed in the last 6 months, 12% in the last 12 months and 27% never. In a fast moving and constantly changing world, these numbers are not good. People really do need feedback and direction – and encouragement. The big number in the middle of the performance review data was the 81% given to people wanting feedback and recognition.

Feedback is important. People don’t come to work to wreck businesses. They want to achieve, so they need to know what to do and how well they are doing. And they need recognition of their achievements. But, with around a third having only a six monthly appraisal, that suggests a big gap not meeting the demand.

That’s why I like what we do – we can offer an opportunity for people to receive direct and recordable feedback recognition for anything of value down to a daily basis. Score these up and it can act like a review of progress. But at the very least, it gives immediate recognition where due. Simple to set up, simple to use, removing excuses for leaving people in the dark as to how they are doing.     


It's all very confusing! 14 October 2013

It’s all very confusing!

The Challenge of Leadership

Remember when you were first appointed to lead a team?

The world was at your feet. You had made it on to that first important management rung.

If you were lucky, you got some “management training”.

But then, reality strikes.

The job is big. No matter at what level you are. There are business demands, targets to meet, crises to solve, the boss’s demands for action today, often in contradiction to last week’s requests. And there is the team. Looking to you for guidance and leadership.

The burden is heavy, the responsibility great.

No doubt many of you responded by extending working hours, dealing  with matters out of hours, cutting short weekends. That’s often the reality.


And did I say that there is a team?  Oh yes. Nearly overlooked that.

It is easy to plough on in the same old way – many managers have their own tasks, as well as leadership responsibility. And it is all too easy to slip back into old ways. Focus on your own work, leave the team to get on with it – after all, you gave them their objectives when you joined them.


But – let’s pause for a moment and remind ourselves that it is the team that leverages your capability. There’s plenty of material on communication and goal delivery.

I would just like to suggest two simple things:

  1. Spend more time with individuals in your team – find out what makes them tick.
  2. Remember to thank them for doing things that matter to you


And that is not just making sure goals are achieved. It’s the little extra things that go on, often unnoticed, day in and day out. It’s that little extra thing that would normally go unnoticed.

And if you don’t think this would work, I leave you to look up Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbells Soup. Now, there is a story to take on board.