A long but broken engagement?

Back in April 2010, we wrote about the MacLeod Review, a government review into the complex and timely issue of employee engagement. Judging by the frequency with which we read about the topic in the HR/L&D press – and are even requested to comment or write for the same media outlets ourselves – it is not in that category of organisational issues that we can mark down as essentially a fad. On the contrary, engagement is the issue that will not go away. But are organisations listening to the sources that provide evidence of the need to make changes (or even the benefits of doing so)? The verdict is less clear.

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Outside the Ivory Tower

Those of us involving in workplace learning and professional development should be more than aware that ‘our’ kind of education has left the Ivory Tower. The classroom is no longer some kind of ‘holy’ place where employees congregate – no pun intended – to have learning bestowed upon them. The future of organisational learning will be WISE - Workplace, Informal, Social and Experiential – even if it might take a while for the actual individuals to merit the adjective.

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Fighting Talk

The following is an opinion on British Management. “Short Sighted, Short-Termists, or Long-Term, Growth Visionaries”. If the first couple of words hadn’t given an indication that further language with a hint of ‘step into the executive car park and say that again, would you?’ might be about to follow, here are more words from the same source ...

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Glass Ceiling? If only it were so simple

Is it too critical, or too nuanced, to suggest that it’s not just the visibility of female role models that is an issue ? Visibility – and more fundamentally, existence – is certainly important: the vast literature of leadership development and behavioural change provide endless examples of the power of modelling what you wish to create, rather than merely calling for or espousing it. Without role models, the idea that something is possible is far harder to grasp or conceive.

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Workplace Learning: don’t stand in your own way

As employees increasingly take their training ‘on the run’ as well as ‘on the job’, the percentage of training that takes place in the manager’s rather than the trainer’s arena will only increase, but how far are managers shouldering or responding to this increasing responsibility? Is the determining factor more one of willingness or of ability? Or, perhaps, of opportunity and encouragement? This is a vital debate, and one in which managers’ own voices have so far been little heard. To ask these questions so that we might all benefit from being aware of the answers, ASK (working with Institute of Leadership and Management) has launched the UK Workplace Learning Survey 2013-14.

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Line Managers are organisational pillars, but pillars need support too

Despite the evidence of the passing years, we had perhaps clung to a hope that the optimism we were showing by doing so was less delusional than that of organisations that identify a genuine need and use ill-equipped people as sticking plaster or means to plaster over the cracks. Hand on heart (and palm on forehead), the brief chuckle that we had at the recent example of a project manager being hired to act as a dedicated change manager (see our recent post) was hollow laughter: the kind of merriment to be briefly gleaned when something terrible happens to someone else. But also the kind of merriment that dies on your lips when you realise that something far less than optimal will have happened to several other people as a result.

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Not on your own shoes, please …

The harder challenge, perhaps, is to identify when it is us that are being unreasonable, and starting on a journey that may well end in conflict. Stark questions-to-self along the lines of “Have you remembered where your salary comes from?” are much clearer and easier to answer than “Is my opposition or antipathy to this issue ultimately constructive?” or “For my own longer-term satisfaction, might I do well to consider starting to plan either a change of position or a change of behaviour?” Organisations find it difficult to notice and monitor the early signs of possible dis-engagement, and their eyes are on the larger agenda: individuals are likely to find this harder.

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Challenging or Competing? Taking issue with Gavin Kilduff

By its very nature, the whole concept of ‘fierce rivals’ implies an absence of loyalty, other than to the notion of defeating your opponent at any cost. Having constant competition (albeit that it is not quite synonymous with rivalry) could foster greater in-group cohesion if the group has collectively bought into the notion that they are competing intentionally and that a collective benefit can be gained (ie they relish the competition). The critical difference is of intention.

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