Engage to succeed 

A compelling presentation by ILC New Generation Lead and founder of Engage to Succeed James Lambert revealed just how costly a disengaged employee is to a business, and emphasised the strong links between performance and passion. 

Speaking at ILC’s New Generation event, held in Manchester recently, James began by highlighting the price organisations pay in lost output and income as a result of poor engagement within the workforce. 

Citing figures produced by respected global research company Gallup, he revealed that: 

  • 20% of employees are disengaged. 
  • An engaged employee is 21% more productive than a disengaged colleague, the equivalent of 48 working days a year. 
  • Only 16% of employees have effective conversations with their manager every week. 

James said, “The cost to a business is obvious, so why don’t organisations focus on engagement more instead of viewing it as a tick-box exercise? Engagement needs to be meaningful and relevant to that individual. Individuals are motivated by different things, so if you’re trying to create a single engagement plan for your entire workforce you’re failing before you even start.” 

He explained that the first step to successful engagement is recognising that performance and passion are intrinsically linked, and that passion includes not just enthusiasm for the work but also life passions. 

“If I’m not doing the things I love outside of work it will impact how I work,” he explained. “We pay people to come to work but there are all sorts of influences in their life that have an impact on how they do their job. So we need to think about engagement as a broader topic.” 

He said there are four levels of engagement: 

  • Level one; On The Up – an employee just starting out in a new job or on a new challenge, they typically have high passion but low performance. 
  • Level two; Flying High – an employee is good at their job and enjoying it, working with high passion and high performance. 
  • Level three; Rollercoaster Ride – an employee is working well, but time for life passions is limited and they begin to bring dissatisfaction to work. Often they will leave their jobs and return to level one.  
  • Level four; Stuck in a Rut – the quiet quitters whose passion wanes and their performance dips, but they remain in their roles. 

Incredibly, about half the workforce is on ‘the Rollercoaster Ride’, with 20% ‘Stuck in a Rut’ and only 20% ‘Flying High’.  

James said, “You need to know why people are leaving to know what you need to do to reduce attrition and increase retention. Does the engagement survey truly give you the answers? It gives you a baseline of data to work from, but it doesn’t engage employees.” 

He urged organisations to invest in training for managers to help them engage with their teams better, to gain a deeper understanding of their passions and what they would like their career paths to look like. 

He concluded, “Every manager has a team under them and they should know them as individuals better than they do. Imagine if employees loved their jobs and lives more every day because of what we were doing to engage them, understand them, and make their working lives meaningful.” 

ILC’s New Gen event took place at etc.venues in Manchester, backed by lead Sponsors Carpenters Group and Enterprise along with Ambassadors: Activate Group, Edam Group, Gemini ARC, Kennedys, S&G Response and Solera Audatex.  


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