Late last year, a company approached us on the topic of employee engagement. They’d received the results of their biannual engagement survey and, as with previous years, realised that the data pointed them to strengths and potential weaknesses but didn’t help understand what was really going on, or what to do about it. The data might show that 63% of staff agreed or strongly agreed with the statement ‘I am proud to work for this company’ and this might be down 6% from the previous survey. On its own however, the data doesn’t help with the question “what does this mean and what should be done? ”
Narrative approaches are excellent for exploring these sorts of issues and helping organisations find out what is really going on, and what actions they can take to reinforce things that are going well, and improving things that need work. The survey data is vital ‘targeting information’ but on its own it is an insufficient basis for planning. Thus, exploring employee engagement is a natural marriage of traditional approaches such as surveys and the emerging practice of narrative.
Our approach to staff engagement looks like this:
Since the initial approach, several other unrelated opportunities have emerged to work with companies to explore their employee engagement outcomes. Our extensive work in leadership/management development also has a strong link to employee engagement (as the main roles of a manager can be summarised as ‘driving performance’ and ‘building engagement’). It looks like employee engagement is a growing area for us to apply narrative approaches.
About Mark Schenk
Mark works globally with senior leadership teams to improve their ability to communicate clearly and memorably. He has been a Director of Anecdote since 2004 and helped the company grow into one of the world’s leading business storytelling consultancies. Connect with Mark on: