How to drive effective engagement

Written by
Hesham Ikhwan

03 Jan 2018

03 Jan 2018 • by Hesham Ikhwan

Embed leadership buy-in, support and involvement

If you’re thinking about introducing an engagement programme in your organisation, discuss it with your leadership team and explain how it will benefit them. This might be outlining how the programme will drive better business results or help the organisation improve.

Get leadership involved in structuring and driving the programme – this way they become active participants rather than observers. Consider setting up an advisory board where they are actively engaged in the programme and cascading it down. Once you succeed in that, you have a much better chance of engaging the rest of the organisation.

Get the right HR capabilities

You need a strong HR function able to coach, mentor and hold leadership to account. Your whole HR community must be up to speed with the programme so they can inform frontline managers and ensure it's driven through the whole organisation.

This is not just about how to read a scorecard; HR needs to coach the rest of the business and initiate change.

Implement a clear governance structure

Select individuals across all areas of the business, at all levels, to be champions of the programme. They should be passionate about the people agenda and understand the value of an engagement programme.

Support them with additional training to help them drive it in their daily work lives, set the right expectations with other employees and become a coach to managers.

Trust and support managers

Managers need to be empowered to get on with their job of serving customers. It’s important not to create unnecessary processes and obstacles.

Link engagement and performance

You cannot achieve positive engagement without the right performance management. Ensure you are recognising the people who go above and beyond. 

You should also consider how to create a culture of recognition where positive behaviours are recognised by both managers and peers.

Identify a clear purpose

Do not fall into the trap of managing the metric. Define the real purpose of any engagement programme, to ensure it is not just a ‘flavour of the month’ initiative. Look at your business strategy and identify how you are going to link engagement to it.


We have an exciting challenge and opportunity around engagement. Because the region is so diverse, with many cultures in one organisation, you have to create a common understanding – and engagement is a good way to do this.

If you have a programme/language that anyone can speak, people will come to know how to behave. That will help to enrich the thinking and diversity within your business and lead to better performance.