What drives employee engagement?

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Recently a Symmetra post commented on “The Great Resignation” – a flood of employees leaving to seek greener pastures as the pandemic starts to ease. So how can organisations counteract this outflow which is clearly a result of long built-up dissatisfaction and disillusionment?

What is it about an organisation which makes employees engaged, committed, loyal and excited? The view which has gained great currency of late is that “a sense of purpose“ is the bedrock upon which an inclusive and engaged culture can be built. However eminent professors, Cross, Edmondson and Murphy, following a decade of research have just revealed unequivocally that this premise is misconceived.

For example, they found, contrary to all expectations, that a cancer hospital treating the world’s most devastating cancers and which should have imbued all with an enviable sense of purpose was beset by low morale and fear and consequently, high worker turnover. In stark contrast, a retail chain with stores across the globe had a notably higher spirit of camaraderie amongst staff, generally more energised and enthusiastic employees, and very satisfied customers. What this demonstrates is that purpose is important but should not be the starting point. The primary concern and drive of leaders should be to build trust and safety.

Crucially, employees will respond if they are able to trust their leaders and colleagues in three areas: trust that people will act in the interests of others, not only themselves; trust that people will be consistent in word and deed; trust that people have the competencies they claim for themselves. Once trust is established, two latter elements can be brought into the mix: purpose-instilling behaviours and energy-generating behaviours.

Leaders who are adept at leading inclusively will certainly understand the priority order of these factors to generate the best and most sustainable results.

Embed and Sustain Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace with E-Challenge

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E-Challenge is Symmetra’s unique diversity and inclusion online learning platform, built to empower leaders and teams to embed inclusive behaviours for the long term.

Using a unique gamified approach that encourages learners to compete and complete, E-Challenge addresses the full spectrum of diversity and inclusion topics with a continuously evolving library of 10-minute interactive Learning Bytes.

In addition, every module comes with practical toolkits and team discussion guides to ensure that what people learn translates into new habits and behaviours.

Get a free demo of E-Challenge today!

Why Inclusive Leadership is Critical Today

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Heather Price, CEO at Symmetra, discusses why inclusive leadership is so critical today.


When you talk about diversity, we’re talking about all the differences that people bring to the table. We’re talking about inherent differences. Those are the differences you’re born with like your age, your gender, or ethnicity. And then we’re talking about acquired differences. Things like your personality style, your socioeconomic status, your education, your industry experience and career path. All of these are what we are referring to when we talk about diversity, and inclusion is when we’re referring to the glue that helps those differences stick together.

In the last few years there’s been a host of empirical research that has emerged which has demonstrated that diverse teams outperform homogenous teams, and that more importantly, you can use inclusion to drive business growth, performance and innovation.

The whole mark of an inclusive organisation is one where people feel a very strong sense of belonging and commitment. Where people actually feel that their voice is heard and that you are accessing their full intellectual capital. And what’s the key to achieving that? The key to achieving that is leadership. Leaders, as we know, cast a very long shadow over the culture of an organisation, and if people want to feel that their voice is heard and their full intellectual capital is being utilised, then you need to build the skills to lead them in an inclusive manner.

We need to understand that today, effective leadership in the 21st century is inclusive leadership. We need leaders who know how to leverage diversity of thought, so that they can optimise performance and innovation. We need leaders who know how to counteract unconscious bias so they don’t allow their bias to stand in the way of giving credibility to the ideas of people who are diverse from them. We need leaders who can embed psychological safety. In other words, make it safe for people to express their divergent views. Pushback, disagree, experiment with unproven actions. That’s what inclusion means in the 21st century, and that is the critical enabler.


diversity and inclusion video series

Why Diversity and Inclusion is Now a Source of Competitive Advantage

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Diversity & Inclusion has become significantly more important in the last 3-5 years where it’s shifted from being a social justice issue to a strategic imperative.

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Diversity and inclusion has become so important over the last three to five years, where it’s shifted from being a social justice issue to a strategic business imperative because there’s been a host of empirical research which has emerged which demonstrates that diversity can actually optimise performance and innovation in organisations.
And this has really changed the way that leaders think about diversity and inclusion. Because historically, they really just looked at it as a social justice issue, about being a socially responsible organisation who could ensure that everybody, no matter how diverse, could actualise their full potential.
But what this research now demonstrates is that inclusion is inextricably interlinked with performance and innovation. And that means that this is something they can leverage to respond to the ever-increasing demands for change and innovation that they’re facing in a currently disruptive business environment.