David Ducheyne, President, hrpro.be


Employee Engagement Interview with David Ducheyne, President, hrpro.be - GroSum TopTalk
Picture Courtesy: Björn Comhaire

David Ducheyne is the President of hrpro.be and owner of Otolith, a consultancy practice focusing on leadership development, organization architecture and people strategies. David has 25 years of experience in strategic HR and business. Prior to his consultancy work, he has gathered international experience with Henkel, Alcatel, Case New Holland, Securex, and Ghent University. As an author, he has published on Sustainable Leadership, Customized Work, Health Management and Learning. He’s also an avid blogger on hrchitects.net and an inspiring keynote speaker.

What does employee engagement mean to you?

Employee Engagement is about the willingness of people to be responsible for more than their own job. People who are engaged go to the extra mile. They are entrepreneurial, optimistic and excited.

Every leader knows how comfortable it is to work with engaged people, in contrast to working with disengaged people.

How to measure employee engagement?

When talking about engagement we tend to focus too much on its measurement rather than on creating the right conditions for engagement to occur. But if you want, I prefer the short questions like an eNPS with a qualitative explanation.

What are the common causes of employee disengagement?

Organisations and leaders kill engagement. They focus too much on efficiency and neglect the experience people need to be engaged. By tolerating bad habits, by being untrustworthy and by neglecting human needs, leaders undermine engagement.

What are the drivers of employee engagement in today ’s fast-moving world?

In my book on Sustainable Leadership, I describe what leaders need to do to lead in a VUCA World. Much of the insights from the book are applicable to the topic of engagement.

Leaders need to create a context in which engagement is possible. The first output of leadership should be trust and then meaningfulness. Meaningfulness creates direction, trust creates safety. And by giving people the autonomy they can handle (don’t be too pessimistic), and by aligning the job to personal characteristics and needs, and finally by making sure people can progress, leaders, create the best conditions for people to be motivated and even engaged.

So it’s about leadership, culture and people strategies.

What makes a really effective employee engagement programme?  Any best practices to share.

I don’t believe in specific programs for engagement. Just be consistent in creating that context. I don’t believe in programs to solve issues about engagement. If the culture is one of excessive control and lack of trust, no program will solve that. Create the right conditions first, and engagement will follow.

I use principles of behavioral science and design thinking to help organizations to create that environment. But there are no quick fixes and if management is not willing to invest time and effort in it, there is no way to move forward.

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