A Day in the Life: In engagement, there’s no such thing as typical

I joined the ENGAGE team in 2015, and since then I can honestly say there has been no such thing as a ‘typical’ day. That’s because every client is different, every programme element bespoke, and every requirement unique.


ENGAGE’s clients are extremely diverse, working in multiple markets which always keeps things interesting. That said, there is a surprising level of consistency in the fundamental challenges they face: human needs don’t change as much as you may expect across organisational cultures.


My role requires a partnership approach to working with our clients, helping them to identify their strategic requirements, and then collaboratively designing an engagement programme that helps them achieve their goals, both short- and long-term. Depending on the stage of the engagement programme lifecycle, my day may be spent planning, or project managing, or analysis results, or interpreting and presenting them to clients to identify action.


While this is a much deeper, tailored approach to engagement than many other consultancies offer – and therefore more complex – the results are far more oriented to business success. That’s because we work specifically to drive organisational outcomes using innovative, data-driven programmes that deliver actionable insight – identifying and implementing the best employee engagement steps for each organisation as a unique entity, rather than delivering a one-size-fits-all package.


Our approach not only drives success for clients, but also propels the enthusiasm and innovation of the whole team here at ENGAGE. The greater client success we help deliver, the more we want to replicate this success for other organisations, large and small. We may be a small team, but we’re big on capability, skill and attitude – and that really makes all the difference!


Having specialised in employee engagement and customer engagement research since 1989 – I look much younger, I agree! – I’ve seen trends come and go, an exponential growth in engagement technology, and a wealth of new approaches to measuring and analysing all sorts of HR metrics.


Recently, a new and critical issue has come to the fore: in several organisations we are seeing something of a downturn in engagement across certain demographics. When we explore this, anecdotal evidence suggests that inclusion policies and programmes are leaving other segments feeling somewhat excluded. This is clearly an issue that we suspect will only grow as organisations re-balance many generations of discrimination.


What this and the many other nuances of HR are clearly telling us is that it is no longer enough to survey your employees once a year through a generic employment survey. True employee engagement happens as the result of continuous analytics of structured and unstructured data, through a carefully designed programme that delivers evidence-based insight on which to make better people decisions.


This is something that I strive to deliver to our clients, working closely with the fabulous team here at ENGAGE regardless of whether I’m in the London office or back at my home office ‘up North’.


Working remotely for half the week does have it’s advantages – I can still liaise closely with clients and the team, but also have the space needed to focused on the more detailed analysis and planning aspects of my job. I also spend less time travelling than I did when I lived in London and commuted every day – probably no surprise to those of you who battle with public transport day in, day out, and a real bonus when I need to get out on my bike for some clear thinking!


By Nick Thompson
Practice Head: ENGAGE