HMRC has run a leadership development process for its top 900 during 2008. They were seeking industry leading experts in employee engagement to devise and facilitate workshops for all 900 over a three month period in London and the regions and approached us to deliver within the specified timeframe.

Using our research into employee engagement undertaken with McKinsey and John Smythe’s book, The CEO, The Chief Engagement Officer, we created a bespoke module designed to pull together all the learning from the previous five modules and take participants from ‘learning to personal and team action’.

The module enabled participants to explore the following all in a highly interactive fashion:

What styles of leadership have engaged each of them and resulted in a win for the department and for them?

Definitions of employee engagement – power sharing is the primary driver of engaged employees

Who are the most productive and contented workers? Wide discretion over their work being the key

  • What are the current approaches to employee engagement being enjoyed or endured by this group from the exco and by staff at the receiving end of the approaches to employee engagement practised by the 900?
  • Do we need to change our approaches to employee engagement to maximise performance and create a better place to work?
  • What are the implications of power sharing on the way leaders lead and the way HMRC manages change?
  • What practical commitments will each of us make to adopt new and effective ways to engage our people?

Our stance on employee engagement is very challenging and the group of 900 reflected that HMRC and the public sector in general will have to commit to a change of leadership philosophy to be able to adopt new approaches to employee engagement

Our aim and brief was to raise the issue and create controversy and debate. This was a learning exercise and is being built on in the next stage of HMRC’s change journey called ‘Leading The Way’.