The engagement see-saw

Tony Latter blog, People Analytics

To a child, a see-saw can provide endless entertainment and takes minimal effort from both parties to enjoy. However the fun soon stops when someone isn’t fulfilling their side of the bargain. If the small amount of energy required to push your feet to the ground becomes all too much of a chore, its game over. As you get older, bar the odd relapse, the see-saw years become but a distant memory. That is until you enter the world of work, when you are introduced to a see-saw of the engagement kind.

Engagement is important in all aspects of your career from work-rate to fulfilment and the process of feedback is no exception. Employees and clients are busy at the best of times. If they don’t feel engaged to give feedback, they won’t and this will greatly affect the outcome and hence value you get as a business.

Like a see-saw if the equilibrium isn’t right, neither party will achieve anything. One question too many can result in losing feedback loyalty across the board and with that the loss of vital insight about your organisation. Each company will have harvested a different ‘economy of attention’ and so will be able to get away with asking more than others. However the general rule of thumb is that less is more. As mentioned staff and clients are busy enough during their working day so if you try and thrust too much upon them you risk alienation.

When it comes to acquiring feedback, companies can often fall into the trap of ‘more is better’ and gluttony takes over.

According to much maligned fictional film character Gordon Gekko, ‘greed is good’. This is true, if your love for money exceeds all else. Now there is such a thing as good greed and some of the most successful economies and businesses are testament to that. Nonetheless, the word has negative connotations for a reason.

Whether it’s HR, client services or another hub doing the asking, they always have the best intentions. They want information from these stakeholders so they can make better decisions which benefit all. However some companies can simply go too far, to the point where they end up damaging their response rate and devaluing the process.

Volume can be a barrier to value and a question culture of ‘just one more’ can be an organisational nemesis. Feedback is precious and all aspects of it should be treated as such. If you can get the balance right then you’re onto a winner.

If you’d like an informal chat about feedback engagement at your workplace, drop us a line.

Tony Latter
CEO and Co-Founder of The Happiness Index – Tony has over 13 years’ experience of growing companies (including IPC Media and AXA), working in new business acquisition and managing teams. Tony likes to challenge the status quo and disrupt out-dated thinking to provide a consultative, human approach to nurturing a business’s most important asset – its people.