Turning Engagement Upside Down – Part 2

Turning Engagement Upside Down
(Human Capital Magazine Interview – Part 2)

With employers failing to get cut-through with traditional notions of what engages employees, Human Capital Magazine’s Chief Editor, Iain Hopkins, recently interviewed ‘Employee Driven Engagement’ expert Ian Hutchinson, Chief Engagement Officer of www.LifebyDesign.com.au  who says it’s time for a fresh take on engagement.

In Part 1 of this interview Ian Hutchinson answered questions from Human Capital Magazine such as:

What is the problem with existing models of engagement?

You mention the top-down approach – what’s the alternative?


Now, Part 2 continues:

Human Capital: What are Life by Design’s ‘7 Key Motivational Engagement Drivers’?

Ian Hutchinson: We’ve boiled it down to seven key drivers, which we present as a set of cards. Each card has a key word on it (Leadership, Purpose, Reward, Opportunity, Relationships, Job Fulfilment and Work Life Balance). Simplifying it down to seven means that right across the organisation you can have this simple, but powerful conversation around what drives people. People leaders can then understand that there are seven things that engage and motivate their people, but everyone is going to be different in terms of the order of what those are.

For individual employees, they can see there are seven key motivators that really drive them at work. When talking to employees we call them motivators; when talking to HR or people leaders we call them engagement drivers – but they are basically the same thing. One is employee centric, the other is employer centric. Employees are happy to discuss what motivates them – we present them with seven, and ask them to pick their top three for the next 12 months.

HC: So they can be used to kick-start a conversation?

IH: Absolutely. This is engagement 101. The reason most people leaders don’t do that is because they don’t have the tools, skills or resources. They think they are not psychologists or coaches or counsellors, and in the past they’ve been burnt by sitting down with employees and asking, ‘what do you want moving forward?’ Fifty per cent of them won’t know, and the other 50% will probably have a crack at it and will probably get it wrong, thinking it’s either money or opportunity, and it could be some of the other drivers.

HC: Does this approach make it more difficult for managers to manage everyone’s expectations?

IH: It should be happening anyway. Everyone in my team is motivated by a different set of drivers. To get the most out of everyone it’s important to know what everyone’s top motivational drivers are. Once you’ve uncovered what the top three are, it’s a matter of keeping on top of them with development plans (PEP). That’s why we’ve created www.meCentral.com, with a dashboard that managers can use simply and easily to keep track of their team. It’s almost counter-intuitive that you think it takes more work, but actually a 15-minute coffee chat can save you weeks of time.

MeCentral.com is a whole platform to help employees take responsibility with career development, work-life balance, personal finances and other key areas such as motivational drivers. The people leader has a simple window that they can look into showing what the employees’ top motivators are and what the employee believes they would like to do about it, and how they are ranking (in a simple traffic light system). It’s all about employee-driven productivity.

HC: So is it an urban myth that HR is responsible for engagement?

IH: A lot of traditional companies will point to HR because they do the research, so they think HR should know what the problems are and how to fix them. We would say that everyone is responsible for engagement. HR is responsible, sure, for doing an organisational engagement plan(OEP) ; but what’s more effective are leaders being responsible for doing team engagement plans (TEP); and what’s even more effective is getting employees responsible for their own engagement plans (PEP).

For the full PDF copy of this interview email us at info@LifebyDesign.com.au