Ruth Dance, Managing Director, The Employee Engagement Alliance

Employee Engagement Interview with Ruth Dance, Managing Director, The Employee Engagement Alliance - GroSum TopTalkRuth Dance is Managing Director of The Employee Engagement Alliance (The EEA) – the membership organization dedicated to helping the world create workplaces that people love through their global network of members with learning events, training, content, awards and networking opportunities.


What does employee engagement mean to you?

Employee engagement is about how we feel – on our commute to work, in work, thinking or talking about work or any work-related activity – and how it affects the results we produce. Employee engagement isn’t the latest buzz-word, it’s dealing with people’s hearts and minds every day.

How to measure employee engagement?

There are so many different tools and measurements out there that different organizations or even individual departments are using. From employee net promoter score, engagement survey scores, employee satisfaction scores, happiness surveys, sickness and turnover rates and exit interviews through to business results and ‘the bottom line.’ How you are choosing to measure engagement right now maybe (or may not) be right for you. But in my opinion, the best way to truly measure how engaged your people are is to really listen to them, ask them, get involved, be there, watch, listen and learn – and then do this again tomorrow, and the next day.

What are the common causes of employee disengagement?

#1: Managers

Even now, we’re still seeing people promoted to a role with people management responsibility due to their outstanding work performance or skill without any real understanding of what it is like to be responsible for another’s wellbeing,

It’s taken me 2 years, multiple books, blogs, google searches, groups, phone calls, courses and more to learn how to successfully look after the needs of my child. Yet we are giving people management responsibility with little to no training, coaching or support; then we wonder why our people are disengaged or we’re not seeing the results we’d hoped for!

#2: ‘Doing’ engagement to people

Demonstrating employee engagement as an HR activity. Rushing through it to boost the next survey numbers. Assessing yourself against your ‘once a year’ survey results. Treating the disengaged people in your organization as poor performers.

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

Engagement is personal, relevant and timely. It’s something that’s designed by your people, for your people and should be lived and reviewed daily. I don’t think there are specific drivers or whether it is even possible to ‘drive’ engagement at all. Yes, the world is moving fast – technology has enabled us to work where, how and when we choose. We have access to more data, facts, and research than ever before. We experience information overload frequently. Ensuring everyone understands and has their own and shared purpose, has the autonomy to achieve their goals and supporting our own and each others well-being will be the key to future success. There are some fantastic organizations seeing great success from the initiatives they’ve taken to engage their people. But as I mentioned earlier, each one is personal, relevant and timely.

What makes a really effective employee engagement programme?

  1. Bring your people in
  2. Let your people lead
  3. Listen
  4. Act
  5. Repeat

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