When I was employed in a large corporation, a well-meaning employee from the central HR team had a ‘light bulb’ moment about employee engagement. They conjured up the idea of implementing a ‘Thank You Card’ scheme in a bid to boost morale.
As a senior manager I received a box of cards which (as a global company) had 'thank you' on the front in several languages. They were nice, quality cards - they must have cost quite a lot.
The instructions accompanying the cards were to think of something positive to say to each of our employees and thank them for their contribution. They gave a deadline of when we had to deliver the cards to our employees by.
I had quite a lot of staff, so I received quite a big box - but I only used one card. I wrote a little note inside the card, sealed the envelope and attached it to the outside of the box.
My note said:
‘Thank you for your thank you cards. When I want to say thank you I just say thank you. I therefore don't need these thank you cards but thank you for sending them. Regards, Pete’.
This didn't go down too well with the central team who considered this to be working against their employee engagement 'strategy'. I offered for them to take me through a disciplinary procedure, which they declined.
More importantly I offered for them to spend a week with me so they could experience real life and engage with employees - again they declined - they were too busy to meet employees as they had an employee engagement strategy to write!
Employee engagement is not about forced initiatives and empty platitudes that look good on paper or in a glossy PowerPoint presentation, pitched to people within a boardroom.
It’s about effective interpersonal relationships and having real conversations with employees.
This is one of the many reasons why mediation is so successful – we help people to talk properly, understand each other and resolve their own issues.
We leave others to sit in their offices and draw up their theoretical strategies!
I hope you've enjoyed reading this post - I look forward to receiving your thank you card...