When I were young!

Doug Shaw started this ball rolling for me with his blog on Employee Engagement and the thought that the term was not well known and a buzz phrase amongst HR and a body of consultants.
Doug put forward the view from some research that maybe being trusted, valued and respected was far more fundamental.
Doug made the point that making work better is important, a view that I completely endorse.

Here’s the link to Doug’s blog:


I would like to come at the subject of engagement from another start point. It is about making work better, as a production engineer by education and where I spent my early career my focus has always been on making work better, namely producing more stuff when it’s wanted, of the right quality and at right price. In producing stuff, people are a variable to be managed. That might sound rather hard and heartless but that’s the reality in pure system terms.
What I learnt early on, was that we could manage our processes, we could reengineer them to make them lean, and measure to death all the materials and inputs that went into the production process. It was however people that decided whether the work got done, and how well it got done, and what you found on the packing lines, and in production departments where they got better results it was because they felt valued, respected and trusted despite all the systems that tried to prevent delegated authority.
This happened not because of big initiatives but because some managers felt there was a better way, and in spite of the systems around them, they started doing things differently. Looking for things that people were doing right instead of wrong, asking their opinions, taking them to meet suppliers of materials as they were the people who worked the line every day and could see the problems clearly, and most of all they started staying thank you!

So my point, there is a better way. As we used to say JFDI, treat people as you want to be treated and it’s amazing what they will do for you. My Dad taught me that after years at British Leyland!
I love the intent of Employee Engagement and the work that has been down to raise the case, but let’s keep it simple, and we might just get what we are looking for?

this blog is live from Worcester Swimming pool 🙂


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