Why focusing on the overall dynamics of an organisation will also increase engagement

When you look at the employee engagement figures released by Gallup and the CIPD over the past ten years they have remained relatively static. We can probably generalise that a 1/3 of the workforce is what we would call engaged, another 1/3 is actively disengaged which leaves a final 1/3 somewhere in the middle.

“Over the last few years, and in line with other research, our Employee Outlook survey has found employee engagement levels to be broadly stable in the UK” CIPD

So it begs the question, why is nothing improving given that more companies actively measure engagement and launch initiatives to increase engagement and leadership capabilities?

Well, there is no point ignoring the current economic and geopolitical backdrop although recent figures suggest that only 20% of employees see this as having a negative effect on morale (CIPD).

Clearly there are other contributors to be considered, in fact we may well already have the answers as studied in Hertzberg’s “Two Factor Theory” (1968)

Two Factor Theory, otherwise known as the “Motivation – Hygiene Theory”, looks to classify the factors that increase dissatisfaction (hygiene factors) and those factors that actively motivate.

Hertzberg's "Two Factor Theory"

Just the term ‘engagement’ immediately steers the mind towards the positive, the inspirational and motivational side of management and leadership. The reality is however that ‘hygiene factors’ can drag all the positivity and motivation from a team and individuals much more quickly than a feeling of engagement can be created.

If we agree with Hertzberg’s theory, then solely measuring around what we see as the traditional drivers in engaging workers is not enough. We need to understand the whole picture – the overall dynamics of the organisation.

Last year we carried out an evaluation of the organisational dynamics of an international engineering firm allowing them to understand the gaps in more than just traditional engagement issues but also in areas such as structures, systems, processes, technology and overall organisational effectiveness. What this has done for them is address many of these ‘hygiene factors’ thus removing much of the negativity and frustrations of workers clearing the path for them to build a more engaged workforce.

Engagement is pivotal but it is just one part of a bigger picture that we would call organisational dynamics.

If this is something you would like more information on please get in touch.

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