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Nigel Purse

The Oxford Group


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Getting employee engagement on your CEO’s agenda: Presenting your case


For any meaningful changes to happen within a business, the subject needs to be firmly on the CEO’s agenda. However, this is easier said than done and more often than not, it appears that the business has more important issues that will compete with your efforts to push topics such as employee engagement.

Whether you don’t believe employee engagement features on their agenda, or whether it is already there and you feel the Board should care more about employees benefitting from the legacy, there are certain boxes you should tick to create a compelling pitch.

There are three essential steps which you can take to ensure  the best chance of getting Board members to take notice of what your proposal, which I shall discuss through the course of three articles:

  1. Present a compelling business case and ensure you can explain a rational and economic beneficial case
  2. Make your case emotive to appeal to the Board members’ emotional triggers
  3. Ensure you keep it simple by featuring actionable steps for each party to progress

These articles will take you through each one of these points to provide you with the best tips and advice and equip you with the tools to have a productive and effective conversation with your CEO.

Preparing your pitch

Before speaking to your Board, make sure you know the subject inside out and have the answers to their questions on the tip of your tongue, to ensure your pitch is faultless.

You will need to clearly and passionately describe your case, and what can be done within the business to improve the current situation. It is almost certain that your CEO will ask why it is important to concentrate on this subject now, and you will need to be resolute in your reasoning and describe clearly, whether it is down to recruitment numbers or budgets etc.  

This step is all about you and your ability to present the data and facts in order to make your CEO sit up and listen to you. To begin with, you need to link employee engagement to the wider business environment and describe how it will promote a positive culture change.

You need to link employee engagement to the wider business environment

The organisation Engage for Success, set up by David MacLeod, suggests that across multiple countries and industry sectors, increased levels of employee engagement link closely to superior business performance.

Food for thought

In addition, Kenexa has recently found that organisations with an engagement score in the top quartile had twice the net profit and increased productivity, when compared to those in the bottom quartile. It is statistics like these which you need to highlight, as they may well be areas that your CEO had not considered before and you can open their minds up into thinking about wider ways in which to create a successful business.

Finally, it is important to think about what aspects of business development are important to your CEO at the moment, such as quality, innovation, returns or growth. You need to link each priority to employee engagement because if the two do not go hand in hand, it is unlikely that they will pay interest.

It is important to think about what aspects of business development are important to your CEO at the moment

Dig out information and facts which relate to directly impacting each focus and highlight these to your CEO and you can guarantee that they will pay more attention. This also shows that you are aware of what aspects of business are important to them and shows that you have invested a lot of time into the thoughts behind your pitch.

Through the organisation Engage for Success; Why Employee Engagement is Important, David MacLeod sums up perfectly why employee engagement is important;

“Organisations embedding the enablers of employee engagement as the way they work have more chance of surviving in the new global economy, because they are building the future with, and around, their people.”

Read the next in the series: How to appeal to your CEO's emotional triggers

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Nigel Purse


Read more from Nigel Purse

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