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Tim Hadfield

Accord Engagement

Managing Director

Read more about Tim Hadfield

Blog: The racing line for employee engagement


A couple of weeks ago in the lead up to the new F1 season, I heard an interview with ex-driver David Coulthard who is now a commentator on television.

In it he used a phrase that I thought was interesting. He talked about ‘The Racing Line’.
His comments set me thinking and so I did a bit of research on it afterwards. I learned that apparently in racing sports, the racing line is the optimum route for a vehicle to take in order to complete the course in the quickest possible time.
When taking a corner for example, the racing line is the one that minimises the time spent in the corner and enables the fastest possible speed through it. The term is most commonly used in motorsport although others sports like cycling and skiing have similar concepts of an ideal line.
I thought about it again this week during a conversation with a client about their employee engagement plans. They are impatient to make progress and want to know the best and quickest way to engage their people. And they’re no different to every other organisation I talk to, they all want to make progress quickly.
That’s no surprise, being agile and able to change is a key competency for every successful business. They are all seeking the racing line.
So is there one when it comes to employee engagement? Well yes, and no. Yes, there are principles that can and should be followed in every engagement programme. And yes, there are levers to pull in every business that will be most effective and have the greatest impact.
BUT no, they are not the same for every organisation. In the same way that the racing line is different at every circuit because the design of each one is different, so the most effective way of progressing engagement is different in every organisation because the culture of each one is different.
Designing a standard approach and applying it for every organisation is like a racer using the same racing line for every track, it doesn’t make sense. As the racer seeks the racing line specific to each track so an employee engagement practitioner needs to seek interventions specific to the organisation.
The role of the employee engagement practitioner is to:
  • Understand the desired future state
  • Understand the current state
  • And then design the most effective way of moving from current to future state
That’s the employee engagement racing line…

Tim Hadfield is managing director of culture development consultancy, Accord Engagement.

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Tim Hadfield

Managing Director

Read more from Tim Hadfield

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