Think of a big company that just completed another annual employee engagement survey. They found out (again) that there are some divisions that have an unfavorable score in the agility department.

Their employees complain about the company being too slow, decisions taking too long, and most people feel reluctant to move forward. And like most big companies, they only address this issue with a recommendation to all staff:

Be agile!

By now, you should have an understanding of why most companies fail to move employee engagement at a positive pace. Telling your employees to ‘be agile’ does not help them. You will need to be more specific.

What should an employee be doing differently in order to ensure greater speed in decision making? How should they manage maintaining quality and speed? Which decisions can generate disproportionately better results if their speed were increased?

Sure, identifying agility as an issue is a crucial insight, however, without specific actions that are designed to address the issue, it is totally meaningless!

Creating a Playbook For Engagement

Rather than writing high-level directives to boost employee engagement, try developing a concrete ‘playbook’ which is made of particular plays you will run in order to address crucial issues that are related to employee engagement.

A ‘play’ is something that you can create and change as you go along that will intentionally move the workplace culture in a positive direction and improve results.

If this play can make your staff more successful,  you improve engagement. Your change efforts should target particular areas inside your company that you think should move the needle on results.

Engagement plays are frequently seen in these areas:


If you wish to see quick results, you will need to pick some processes to alter that will begin to make a significant difference.

For instance, if your company needs to speed up decision making, you can change the rules about who could attend meetings and how the results were shared.

By limiting the attendance to those with the authority to think and decide and being strict about informing other people of the results, the decision making process is quicker and easier— without creating resentment from employees who used to attend the meetings and slow things down.

Also, with business process management or BPM it is important that you involve the people doing the work in capturing the change process and making sure you agree on the best practice to ensure employee engagement. This should be adopted as a process which is consistently followed and if your staff played a part in it, they are more likely to follow the implemented process.

2. Design/Structure

For a deeper change with a bigger impact, you can consider running some plays that will change your organizational structure or even a physical office space design.

If your organization storage becomes too territorial, this can prevent information from crossing department lines in a timely fashion and inhibits agility.

Some companies are responding to such problems by adding their own organizational chart online and then transforming it to an online community where individuals can generate new ideas and share information. This increase of information flow can speed up decision-making as well as help people learn what people are doing in other areas.

Changes in physical designs can also have a big impact on information flow. For instance, you can create a fun space inside the office where employees can do puzzles together. This may seem odd, but the increased social interactions can actually generate more effective and faster policy recommendations.

3. Human Resources

The HR division is usually tasked with boosting engagement, yet they typically end up ignoring any opportunities.

Performance management is probably the largest opportunity usually missed. If you really want your company to be agile, then you will need to add some new metrics and technology from process performance reviewing.

For instance, start tracking the number of key decisions made in each department every month. It might take some time to collect the info, however. If managers know that they are being evaluated on a regular basis, their behaviour will surely shift.


These are just a few plays that should start yielding positive results on agility and contribute to better engagement for your company. If you really wish to improve engagement, then you will need to develop an entire playbook that will continue to evolve when initial plays are done.

Build a playbook. Run the plays you create and communicate with everyone about how you moved to success. If you do this regularly, you might not even need those engagement surveys anymore!