Dear Santa

This year for Christmas I’d really like you to sprinkle some of that magic dust which opens up people’s eyes to the true meaning of employee engagement. Because to be quite honest Santa, I look around me and I despair.

I know there are some great organisations out there doing some really good stuff but there are still so many employers that just don’t get employee engagement. Even worse, there are employers who still see their people as some sort of cannon fodder, a pure cost to the business to be used and abused in the name of profitability.

In 2016 we’ve seen some high profile cases along those lines, ones which have so shocked the nation that Parliamentary investigations have been launched. We’ve heard tell of Victorian working conditions and people being so afraid to lose their jobs that they have gone into work when by rights they should have been in hospital.

What is perhaps more shocking Santa is that these are only the tip of the iceberg; brought to the fore because of the nature or size of the organisation. Over the past year my colleagues and I have heard other stories of equally poor practices in businesses large and small; the person whose boss expected them to drop personal commitments and work unpaid overtime on a whim, the person whose request for flexitime in order to be a carer for their family was turned down in case it looked bad to the customers, the person who was refused a job because of previous health problems.

Oh Santa; when are leaders going to learn that employee engagement isn’t fluff or some kind of sop to the conscience? What does it take to make them understand that people are the best assets that a business can have?  When you really look to engage your people in the strategy and values of the business then you get:

… And that’s before we start talking about innovation efforts and reputation and attracting investors and all the other great things that come from having people who take a personal interest and stake in the profitability of the business.

I know that the more organisations start to get employee engagement, the more that those who still see it as fluff will fall behind but that doesn’t help all of those people who are forced to work in some quite Draconian conditions in the meantime. And it certainly doesn’t help customers who are being consistently let down by organisations that really could do better if they just changed their viewpoint. So this year Santa, please spread some of the magic of Christmas and help employers to see that engagement isn’t fluff and that they really have to change in 2017.