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April 2013

Employees as assets

It is ironic – and not a little frustrating! How often have you heard a colleague or senior executive say, “Our people are our greatest asset”? And they are not being facetious or hypocritical when they say it. Yet they never treat their people as assets and their people certainly don’t feel like assets. And that is a problem.

Why? Because feelings shape perceptions and perceptions shape behaviour. Consequently if you want to create employee engagement – if you want your people to show more interest in what they do and how they do it  – you have to make them feel like assets.

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Don't be a blind follower!

Blind leading the blind 000000837944XSmallThe HR news this week has hardly been encouraging, and brings to mind rather forcibly the adage “If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:13-14 Holy Bible: New International Version)

It all started with the news that the British parliament has passed a bill that allows employers to offer shares to employees in exchange for giving up some employment rights. The mind boggles; not least because the same day another report stated that 93% of employees would “definitely consider leaving their current employment.” While the report does not appear directly to link the two, it attributes a huge decline in employee satisfaction to “a culture of fear.” In such a climate, even if 93% did not want to leave, you can hardly envisage employees rushing to give up their statutory rights, can you?

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Collaboration, Collective Intelligence & Employee Engagement

Engaged Employees_000012107875XSmallDo you ever give collaboration any conscious thought? I hope so, because it is integral to virtually everything you do, and certainly a key aspect of any leadership role. After all, collaboration literally means “working together” and no organisation can exist unless people work together. So you could define management as “the art or science of enabling people to collaborate more effectively.”

Actually this definition of management may be more powerful and profound than you realise, for it makes people paramount: it makes them the centre and the circumference of management and reinforces the fact that, as a leader, managing people is the most important aspect of your job. It is powerful because it exposes something you possibly never consciously recognise: that your people are your brand! Your

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Employee Engagement & the Holy Grail

What do happiness and employee engagement have in common?

Actually it may be more than you think. In fact it is quite possible that they are different facets of the same thing. Let me explain before you start thinking that I have totally lost my marbles.

Happiness is an emotional state. As such you can argue that it is conditional, circumstantial and transitory – and possibly even transcendental. Certainly it varies in intensity and over time. It is also very personal and thus unique to the individual. It is therefore virtually impossible to qualify, quantify, or to contain. Ultimately it is simply an undefinable state of well-being; feeling good about life and your place in it at a particular moment or over a specific period.

That can make it elusive. However, it gets more complicated: because it is intensely personal something that may be one person’s delight may be another’s nightmare. This makes it impossible to have a standard formula for happiness or to deliver it on a mass scale.

Employee engagement is the same. It also an emotional state, subject to fluctuations while being difficult to qualify and quantify. This variableness may also be the result of events and circumstances

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