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Home » Leadership

Say, stay, strive? – First understand THIS…

Submitted by on Friday, 1 November 2013One Comment

Say Stay Strive‘Say, Stay, Strive’ is a neat moniker coined by Hewitt Associates to describe the behaviours engaged employees exhibit.

To summarise: engaged employees exhibit these three behaviours more than their disengaged counterparts…

Say things like ‘this is a great place to work’, ‘my colleagues / boss are wonderful’, and ‘I really identify with my company’s mission

Stay They are more likely to want to stay at the company and less likely to be looking for work elsewhere, and

Strive They are more likely to give extra effort in their job, or what Hewitt might call ‘discretionary effort’

So far so good. Do you love the concept? We’ve got to say that we do. Only…

…Not so fast!

Here’s where it gets interesting. How do you discover the ‘Say, Stay, Strive’  behaviours of your employees at any time? The bottom line is, that it’s very difficult to. So these consultants will embark on an ’employee engagement survey’ to ‘discover’ these behaviours.

Please bear with us as we follow the methodology these consultants take…

First, they will typically ask your employees a number of ‘engagement-related’ (and typically rational) questions

Next, they will collate this data and claim to have made the link between the answers to these questions and that neat catchphrase above (or something similar).

Finally, they will give you a set of remedies or ‘interventions’ to close those gaps.

Now please don’t misunderstand us. Conducting an emotional engagement survey of any kind is better than nothing. But as you probably already suspect, measuring employee engagement effectively is not quite as straightforward as the process described above…

The Missing Link of Employee Engagement

You see, the process above may look sound, but in reality it misses a vital ingredient – emotion.

And, as you know every time you go to buy something of value or make a decision of any kind, emotion trumps reason every time. As the neuroscientist Donald Calne has said, Reason leads to conclusions, whereas Emotion leads to action.

Engagement Factor Training

And that’s the problem with 99% of employee engagement surveys. They miss out emotion. They still labour under the premise that humans are rational, when plainly they are not.

It is unnatural to think that humans are anything other than Head, Heart and Hand at work. Cutting out the heart (as many organisations may do) will get you precisely nowhere. In the words of Lady Gaga, humans simply weren’t ‘born that way’.

The solution’s actually far easier…

The factors that many engagement surveys actually cover are usually important (though these should be kept simple as we propose in our ‘catch-all’ 9 factor model here. This model is based on a meta-study of key organisational performance criteria).

In the same survey, you have the opportunity to measure the ‘heart’, or the emotional impact these factors have on the employee. For example, one of these emotional factors measures the feeling of being ‘in control’.

Please bear in mind I’m not advocating another layer of compexity but reality, since, as we know, it is emotions that drive the desired Say, Stay, and Strive behaviours as we have seen above. These emotions can also be used in pulse surveys too. These emotions, also, have been empirically tested.

Now here’s where it gets interesting – and valuable.

These emotional questions are exactly what form a bridge across to your customer experience, and they make the ‘bore’ of managing much, much easier.

They promote empowerment, and actually simplify the complexities of modern management.

We’ll be looking at these emotions in a future post but in the meantime, make sure you stay tuned by subscribing below. Also, why not run Engagement Factor with your team or company where all these factors are made crystal clear…


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