Staff Engagement and the Like Principle

Author: Sean Fletcher


Local Government Officers attending training at WALGA 2015

Welcome To Today’s Post

Today’s post is part two in a series on staff engagement and continues the debate on the importance of staff engagement. In part one, I commented that there are differing opinions on what staff engagement is, but its underpinning core would appear to consist of making employees feel valued and involving them in what happens in the workplace.

I also pointed out that there are some simple things you can do to get the engagement process underway quickly including using staff meetings as a key engagement tool to problem solve, share ideas, seek feedback and update everyone on what’s happening to the organisation.

Now, let’s look to what it means to be valued and involved.

The Three Key Characteristics (and Benefits) of Staff Engagement

Although there is much debate regarding the validity of employee engagement (Ashraf: 2012, Bacal: 2014, Bersin: 2014, Tripe: 2014), we firmly believe staff engagement is not only a valid practice, but is vital to the success of any organisation. For instance, Ames (2014) states that for employees, the sense of being valued is key to the success of an organisation (or team, group, branch, department for that matter). As a result of feeling valued, he points out the engaged employee will exhibit the following three key characteristics, or benefits:


Loyal people are proactive and innovative. They have a belief in the organisation and share in its vision and values. Ames comments that this is better than any retention strategy!


An engaged employee is productive due to their:

  • Effectiveness which includes the ability to produce a full day’s effort along with quality results, and
  • Efficiency as they tend to learn a job in less time and therefore have scope to expand not only their capacity, but the organisation’s capacity as well.


As advocates, the engaged employees are the “diamonds” of the organisation both internally i.e. supportive of their associates, and externally where they will bring other quality people to the organisation through the positive promotion of products and services.

In addition to the above, Robinson (2007) states that research by the Institute for Employment Studies shows that for employees it is not just about being valued, but being involved in what happens as well. So, that being said, how do you involve your employees? The short answer is what we call the LIKE principle:

     Let them participate.

     Invite them to participate.

     Keep them informed.

     Encourage their training and development.

In other words, if you “like” them, they will “like” you. Quite simple really!

What Does The Disengaged Employee Look Like?

It would appear that only one third of employees are actively engaged (Cataldo, 2011). Further, Harter (2015) contends that only 5% of long term employees (10+ years service) are in fact engaged.

Harter (2015) goes on to explain that the disengaged employee is someone who along the way, lost some of their motivation to make a difference and create value for their employers.

As such, there are a number of key characteristics regarding disengaged employees Harter says to look out for including:

  • Increasing levels of apathy;
  • Staff who do the minimum each day;
  • Employees that nurse a grudge for years; and
  • Those who actively undermine the organisation.

Sound familiar? If so, then read on. If not, read on anyway and find out some further tips on how to keep the engagement process going.

So, how does disengagement happen? In my experience, workplace culture is the culprit. This ranges from such comments as “this is how we do things around here” through to what Fermin (2014) points out as the danger presented through managers not listening to their employees (Twice as likely to be disengaged than other staff members and 98% will not become engaged if ignored by their manager). Staff meeting anyone?

What Does The Engaged Employee Look Like?

Further to Ames (2014) characteristics mentioned earlier in this post, and what we refer to as the Like Principle, the engaged employee is someone who is matched to their role. In short, their manager has helped the employee find ways to do more of what the employee is good at i.e. using their natural talents (Harter, 2015).

Seemingly, this would allow the employee to create greater value including working well with others and what Zinger (2015) also refers to as employee engagement:

                     Good work done well with others every day

Zinger comments further that the engaged employee will produce consistent good days, and if done with intention, will at times touch greatness.

Till Next Time…

In the next blog we will look at the four elements of staff engagement and how they make up what we at Strategic Teams refer to as the Engagement Diamond.

In the meantime, if you have any comments you would like to share regarding staff engagement, please comment below 🎯


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