Ah, Change Management. Change management experts, as the name indicates, focus on Management. The employee part of the process is usually dumbed down to mindless training and rigid processes which, the experts tell Management – will become routine (I call it ‘rottine’). Not my favourite industry. Like the fad-diet and self-help industries it does more lasting damage than lasting benefit. Unless, we agree that it is not about building a better business at all, but just about cutting cost.

When the Change Management teams finally move on, business is left with a ghost ship of a program and some bruised people. But, everybody breaths a collective sigh of relief and everything goes back to the old routine – ready for the next diet-fad. The prevailing Business Culture takes over.

The Culture of an organisation cannot be stopped but it can be channeled in the RIGHT or WRONG direction.

Wrong Direction

How can employees be engaged when they don’t know the big picture. They were hired to ‘lay the bricks’, by quota (8 hours a day, 5 days a week). They don’t know if they are building a cathedral or a public toilet they are not likely to use. They don’t know who the customers are, don’t ‘need’ to interact with them and they don’t relate to customers’ interests or problems… and they don’t care. But, most of the time, they turn up and ‘lay their bricks’.

The actual problem IS Management. Firstly, only 46% of Leaders communicate strategy to the workforce. But the biggest danger (crippling, invisible disease) – is that often Managers do not want to admit that there is a problem and refuse help because they are afraid that it would badly reflect on them.

I was once invited to a meeting with a Marketing Manager in a multinational manufacturing company. This was a former Engineering Manager promoted to marketing. He was happy to tell me that he knew about ‘4Ms’ of marketing. He actually discussed the problems openly, but said he couldn’t hire me because ‘my bosses would say “why do we need you?”‘.

The incurable problem in the wrong Culture is that both employees and managers will defend the status quo, until there is nothing left,  because they are afraid of change, retribution for taking risk, or worse, for questioning the status quo and asking for help. Beware of such situation. If you recognise the symptoms, the first step is to confirm or flesh out the problem by getting a 2nd and 3rd opinion.

And, be prepared to pay for the advice – otherwise you will not get a full answer.


Culture attracts – when your logo becomes a desirable personal statement for non-employees, you’ve got something.

Right Direction.

Meaningful and productive employee engagement can only exist within a Brand-focused CULTURE. Culture – you know… Cult, that connects people in shared belief? – is the energy that propels people in the same direction, wanting the same outcome, basking in the same sunshine of the Brand they are proud of.

Let’s look at #employee #engagement by numbers – as if you were looking at your customer segments.

In an average company, depending on the industry*, approximately 30% of employees are actually engaged  – and 60% are NOT. Ask yourself: would is be wise to invest a lot of effort into selling to your loyal, heavy-user Customers? No. You will tailor activities to show them gestures of recognition. They love your product and your brand anyway. They don’t have to be sold. But, everybody needs to be appreciated. Why?

Firstly, remember that 69% of employees and 68% of customers leave because they are not appreciated. But guess what! Appreciation goes a long way. You can actually engage your committed Customers to be part of your Brand Culture. And, they will be more than happy to help pull the cart – because it makes them Special!

Instead, you need to make a massive effort to try and bring on-board at least half of the 60% of those not Engaged with your company.

You need to put your best marketing-thinking hat and get to work. Because without these employees you are leaving a lot of lost profit on the table. Companies often invest  hundreds of thousands of dollars in selling to new Customers, but as long as at least 60% of your Employees are not pushing the cart as well, your cost of selling and marketing, not to mention, innovation, will always remain high, leaving gaps for competitors to close.

Here are THREE first essential steps in the direction of the Right business Culture:

  1. Develop a concise, meaningful business Mission that meets three criteria [a. What Problem do we solve? b. Whose Problem is it? c. Difference: why should people buy from us?]
  2. Communicate the Mission to all employees and coach managers to amplify the message ALL THE TIME. Roll out the red carpet – invite people to join your party.
  3. Imbed this practical and meaningful Mission into training, induction and daily conversations, especially your ideation and improvement discussions.

Start with this. You will gain unstoppable momentum for your business when a group of active Brand evangelists emerges and starts pulling internal support and creating external ripples.

Good luck.

*The highest employee engagement occurs in engineering and health professional industries.

Jojo-2InnoFuture is a Business Culture innovation specialist, helping SME leaders bring their Competitive Strategy on every employee’s agenda and more successfully drive Productivity, Brand Engagement, Continuous Innovation, easier and more Profitable Sales, and Growth.


Margaret Manson | Chief Inspirator
M: 0407 66 11 30 | P: 03 9857 9215