Posts Tagged ‘CIPR Inside’

Engagement, Discretionary effort and Freakonomics

posted by Scott McKenzie

I like the way that my successor as CIPR Inside chair Sean Trainor describes the importance of engagement in his recent PR Week podcast.

He rightly talks about “engagement” being an over-used term. In my view it is often inappropriately used – sometimes lazily, occasionally more cynically.

One of my biggest concerns is how often employee engagement is described as the outcome we are seeking to achieve. It is not.

We live in a world driven by the bottom line. Engagement is an enabler to better results – whether they are profits, customer service, patient satisfaction, etc., or whatever results drive your organisation. These are the real outcomes our Chief Executives care about.

Sean makes the absolutely key connection between engagement and discretionary effort. In other words if I have the choice to do something of incremental value for my organisation will I do it?

These are the real moments of truth that we all face every day of our working lives.

I have always believed that it makes intuitive sense that if you have an employee who understands the direction of their organisation, and believes in it, and understands the role that they can play… you are likely to get better business results.

But how do I prove it? Is it too much of a leap of logic to assume that an “engaged” employee will be a more productive one? It’s at this point that I wish I thought like Professor Stephen D. Levitt of Freakonomics fame. Perhaps we should all club together to ask him to explore the behavioural economics behind employee engagement?

Although there may be no need. A couple of pieces of research may be making the picture a little clearer.

Thomas Lee brought this research by Hewitt to my attention, and I am also grateful to Kevin Dwyer for highlighting some work the Corporate Leadership Council has released.

This data is useful to us. As I have long argued the way we promote this profession has to be about more than good use of language. We need to understand the numbers and how they relate to what we do. We can then present an overwhelming business case to our leadership.

Perhaps I should put that call into Professor Levitt after all…

Two years on

posted by Scott McKenzie

I am in a reflective mood this morning. My beautiful little daughter – Erin – is two years old today. Time has just zipped by since she came into our lives.

In those two short years I have got engaged, been promoted, got married, and gone on honeymoon. My two my best friends have got married and have had kids (or are having kids). My sister has also had her second child. There have been lots of happy occasions… in which Erin has more than played her part.

What scares me is how much of a unique personality she already has. Bossy, cheeky and inquisitive. Much like her mother.

I try to think about what life was like before she was born and it is genuinely difficult. I imagine I went out more, I definitely got more sleep and was probably more fun at parties… although to be fair the only parties I go to these days involve jelly and ice cream…

I first started this blog at a time (just after Erin was born) when I was fully aware that my life was changing. In fact my first post talked about the various roles in my life.

One of which was my decision to take on the role as chair of CIPR Inside. A role I recently relinquished (although leaving it in the safe hands of new chair Sean Trainor and my friend and former colleague Phil Turner).

So, the last two years have been a rollercoaster ride… scary but ultimately fun and rewarding. And with a new baby on the way and an imminent house move there is even more on the horizon…!

I promise to keep you posted.