One year on . . . four things I’ve learned about employee engagement!

February 22, 2019
Employee Engagement

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” Virginia Woolf, Writer

This quote seemed fitting to share on the one year anniversary of our book, ‘Build it: The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement‘, as it so aptly describes where our book came from, which was from our hearts, souls, minds and our combined experiences.

And by sharing this through our book, our goal was not about selling thousands of copies, but to open the hearts, souls and minds of others. We wanted to encourage others to ‘join the rebelution’ as we say in the book, challenging the status quo in how we all drive employee engagement, and thus success, at our organizations.

“This is not a book for the faint hearted who love status quo. This is a challenge and a gauntlet for anyone who has the passion and desire to drive change in their teams and organisations.” Dominic Price – Work Futurist at Atlassian

On the book’s anniversary I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on how we’ve done against our goal, looking back on an absolutely amazing and life-changing year. Here are some of my proudest achievements and key themes I’ve learned:

  1. There’s a global appetite for change

Throughout the year I travelled the world speaking at events, conducting workshops, and participating in interviews to do what we could to share the key messages from our book – enlisting members of our rebelution.

But as I stood on stage, I asked myself the question, would these messages resonate to our global audiences? Or, would I be faced with looks of confusion and/or outrage?

The good news is that I was met with an appreciation and understanding for what I had to say. From the UK to the US to Australia, from Greece to Hong Kong to Iceland, audiences embraced the Engagement Bridge™ model, the suggested rebel behaviors, and left armed and ready to be an active member of the rebelution.

This shows that there is a global appetite for change, and the need to ‘feed’ them the tips and tools required to drive the change that needs to happen throughout the world.

  1. We all love a good story

Half of the book is filled with stories, or what we call plays, of what rebels from around the world are doing since. This was a different approach to a book, so we wondered if it would work? Would our readers enjoy and appreciate all of these stories, all 60 of them, or would they complain that they wanted more theory and statistics?

The answer to this question is an overwhelming yes, with people loving the plays. Here’s what one reviewer named Kate said in respect to them:

“What I like about this book is that it gives different levels of examples – from one ‘rebellious’ extreme to the other. This means I can pick and choose what is suitable for my organisation and, not just be inspired, but actually put some into practice (and get them signed off).”

The reaction to the plays has been so amazing that I continue to write and post plays on the book’s website. And why not, since we all love a good story, especially those that have a happy ending!

Currently there are 83 plays on the book’s website. Please check them out and, just as important, let me know if you have a rebellious story (play) I can write up and share.

  1. We’re all in it together

Another thing we’ve done throughout the year is to share our messages outside of the HR community, with the aim of widening the scope of who we could influence. We did this because like many of you, we recognize that  HR cannot and should not do it alone. We need our leaders and managers to join in on the rebelution, working together to drive the change that we all need.

This involved speaking at leadership and management events, and inviting business leaders to attend our traditionally HR-focussed events. But how would they react?

Would they think that what we were saying was utter nonsense and was nothing more than HR fluff?

The good news is that leaders and managers have embraced the messages as much as HR have. An example comes from an HR Director who told me that her CEO quotes our book, citing rebel behaviors and plays as they work together to create the HR strategy at her company. Love it!

  1. Change is happening

The final theme is from what we’ve heard and seen, and the one that brings joy to our hearts, and that is that our book is helping to drive change.

Whether it’s using The Engagement Bridge™ as the foundation of their HR strategy, using one of the tools from the toolkit on the website, or taking a play and creating their own version, organizations are using the book to change how they fundamentally treat their people.

So one year on, as we sit down and ask ourselves if the book has been a success, the answer is a great big fat yes. For you, our readers, have shown us that you are ready and willing to change, and that in our own little way, the book has and will continue to help you do this. So thank you for the best gift we could have imagined, and . . . . welcome to the rebelution . . . we’re so pleased you decided to join us!!

“Every company in the world is trying to disrupt itself before it is disrupted by newcomers. Everyone knows why but most struggle with how. Here is a book bursting with great examples, concrete actions, real success. It’ll give you ideas, debates, great arguments and, most of all, hope.” Margaret Heffernan – CEO & Author

Here’s my lovely co-author Glenn Elliott making the world a better place to work.

About Debra

I’m an author, speaker and consultant (or what I like to call ‘pay it forward’ specialist) with over 20 years experience as a global HR leader, working for companies such as Gap Inc., Quintiles, Merlin Entertainment and Reward Gateway.

I’ve published two books, Build it: A Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement and Effective HR Communication: A Framework for Communicating HR Programs with Impact.

Feel free to add comments and questions, and of course, feel free to share on any social network you fancy. Thank you!

© 2018 Debra Corey.

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