The most used approaches, like setting targets on engagement, putting 'engagement toolkits' on the intranet, or even starting full fledged 'change programmes' to be 'rolled out' in the organisation, have rarely led to measurable change.
This hack offers a way to leverage the engagement survey to really increase employee engagement and so help employees become more engaged, motivated and productive.
Stop trying to force people to change. Instead, create the context in which the people themselves decide to change (or not!), and enable them to define their own actions for themselves.
In this hack we propose that organizations offer all managers the opportunity to run several "learning" meetings with their direct reports, or team, motivated by the results of an employee engagement survey. The learning meetings use Mintzberg’s model for management learning based on reflection ("Thoughtful reflection on natural experience, in the light of conceptual ideas, is the most powerful tool we have for management learning").
This creates the unique context in which people openly and honestly discuss and reflect on their own day to day working experiences related to engagement issues, and in doing so change themselves and take positive and meaningful action towards improving engagement of themselves and others around them.
This "hack" is now being implemented on a large scale at ING Group, a Dutch based, global financial services company. There, Mireille Jansma of ING Business School and Hendrik Jan Bot of the Performance, Culture & Change department are using CoachingOurselves - which is simply a form of Mintzberg’s management learning by reflection - as part of the engagement survey process, to help managers and employees develop new perspectives on engagement and find new, inspiring ways to work & think together. As a result hundreds of managers and employees at ING are now discovering new insights, new ways of 'doing things', co creating and increasing their own level of engagement by themselves, all for about a third of the cost of sending just one manager on a typical MBA!
In CoachingOurselves small groups of managers get together every couple of weeks for an hour and a half to share experiences and gain insight into themselves, their work, and their organizations in light of the major topics of management. Groups download topics such as "Time to Dialogue", "Models of Engagement", "FeedFORWARD instead of feedBACK" and "The Rewards of Recognition" to guide and stimulate conversation and reflection. These topics are written for CoachingOurselves by authors such as Marshall Goldsmith, Dave Ulrich, Nancy Adler, Philip Kotler, Edgar Schein, Henry Mintzberg, and other leading management thinkers.
There are no facilitators in CoachingOurselves, no trainers or formal coaches, just managers and employees empowering each other to learn from their own practical experiences and pursuing the consequences for change in their organization.
This hack creates the space in which people talk about, and reflect, on themselves in small groups stimulated by conceptual views of different aspects of engagement, and guided by a simple, semi-structured format. Through these discussions people create a safe learning environment in which they become aware themselves: they discuss what disengages them; what issues they have with themselves, others and the organization.
In the small groups people rapidly decide to take actions to improve things for themselves, their teams and the organizations. In the small group people readily support and motivate one another.
This changes their attitude and results in many small, simple and practical actions.
To provoke a discussion on engagement, find some "conceptual material" related to aspects of engagement with the questions to start self reflection. Then schedule a 90 minute "learning" meeting with your team or direct reports.
- Mireille Jansma and Jurgen Egges of ING Business School
- Hendrik Jan Bot and Celine Aladel of Performance, Culture & Change at ING Group
- Phil LeNir, CoachingOurselves