February 6, 2018 in My thoughts

#HRD18 Engaging Workforce Cultures – Kevin Ames – O.C. Tanner

We can’t ‘drive engagement’ and force people to engage, but we can influence greatness. Kevin opened with the story of Alex Scott, a young girl who was diagnosed with cancer and started a lemonade stand to raise money for the hospital looking after her. That inspired so many people that it has scaled to a charitable foundation. That’s the power of inspiration.

Employee engagement is such a tired term; it isn’t an organisational destination, rather it is a choice that each person makes. There are things we can do to encourage this:

(1) Connect people to purpose; connect to the optimal experience that the customer has, not just the product (for example, Starbucks isn’t focused on coffee, it is focused on creating a third place between work and home). “Getting our people nearer the focused range requires upping their motivation and enthusiasm evoking a sense of purpose” – Peter Drucker. When you are really inspired by a purpose, you will break down barriers and do what it takes to make things happen. You will feel energised. As leaders we need to identify (if we don’t already know what it is) and articulate the organisations’s higher purpose so that people can connect with it.

(2) Inspire people to produce great work in pursuit of that purpose; People have so much potential and they want to do great work. Great work is making a difference people love. There are five things that  great workers do:

  • Ask curious and provoking questions
  • Great workers are compelled to go and see things for themselves and go to where their work makes an impact
  • Have engaging conversations
  • Improve something
  • Chase the change

A great question to ask ourselves every day is “what is the difference I’m supposed to make for these people?”

(3) Appreciate people for it;

We need to notice what people do, to tell them, and to celebrate. OC tanner literally wrote the book on Appreciation 

Appreciation isn’t a process or a programme, it is a collection of moments:

  • sensitive awareness or understanding of people
  • it is an expression of approval, gratitude, admiration
  • “The greatest motivation in life is not money, It’s opportunity to learn, to grow in responsibility, and to contribute to others, and to be recognised for achievement” Fredrick Herzberg
  • Rise in value

There are three huge opportunities to appreciate people:

  • When they apply effort (e.g. every day)
  • When they achieve a result
  • Years of service (long service awards)

As leaders, we need to encourage:

  • Collective purpose
  • Collective power
  • Collective passion

That way, we can create great places where great people can do great work.

(This was a superb keynote, laden with stories that I’ve not been able to blog as I was so engaged in listening!)

This was live-blogged during a session at the HRD Summit 2018 – I’ve tried to capture a faithful summary of the highlights for me but my own bias, views – and the odd typo – might well creep in. I’ve also curated the story of the session as told through the tweets of the attendees (you might need to tap ‘load more tweets’ to see the full story):

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