Brian Tullis – Collaboration is what can drive engagement

We talk a lot about employee engagement, that’s a big buzzword these days, and it’s important you know. I guess there are plenty of studies that correlate high engagement with high results. In my point of view, collaboration is what can drive engagement, because when people are connected to each other, they going to feel connected to the team and the community and the company. And once they feel that connection intrinsically through collaborative work, they’ll be quite happy to say “I give you a 10 out of 10 on.. This is a nice place to work in”. This is one of the questions in employee engagement surveys, “this is a nice place to work – my manager treats me with respect – I value my interactions with my colleagues”. And if you’re naturally working collaboratively, you don’t even have to think too hard about those questions, you just reflexively answer 8 or 9 or 10 out of 10.

On the other hand, if you don’t have that culture, and you don’t… you aren’t encouraged to walk across department boundaries, team boundaries, and are only evaluated through individual performance, you know, I think you’re not gonna get a high engagement score, no matter how many strategic updates your manager sends you to try to make you feel connected to the company. You have to FEEL it really to be able to do that. My approach has been around transparency and collaboration to make my IT organization be connected to each other and connected to the business because… Now that’s one of the classics knocks on IT people is that they’re disconnected from the business.

We are trying by making what we do transparent to the rest of the company, they can actually feel connected to us, and we invite people in, rather than saying “we are a black box, stay out of our black box, we’ll develop the tools here and give you the tools to do your job”. It’s a working process, that’s definitely a working process, but it’s actually fun and energizing to work that way. It really is. We come to with the mindset, you really try to find answers to problems through working with people and being connected to them. It’s just a lot of fun.It be not fun for all people but, it keeps me energized.

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