How to do employee engagement badly

How much do you know about employee engagement? Fancy finding out more?

Today I’ve got a guest post by the team at INVOLVE agency here in the UK. Hot on the heels of their successful How not to run a conference book, they’re here with news of their latest publication.

It’s a tongue-in-cheek look at employee engagement and I’ll think you’ll enjoy it. It’s more of a guide of how not to do employee engagement, or how to do it badly!

The book has been written in the style of the classic Ladybird books which are currently doing the rounds. You’ve probably seen them in shops – you can get guides to all sorts, from The Hipster to Dating.

If you have a copy, you’ll find it impossible to read without wincing! Do get in touch with them if you’d like your own copy. You can find them on Twitter @involve_uk.

I’ll hand you over…

How to do employee engagement badly

The Mockingbird book of The Conference had an impact that none of us at INVOLVE ever anticipated. We heard stories of how our little satirical book became the main topic of conversation at a dinner party in sub Saharan Africa.

It also apparently connected two people who didn’t even know they worked in the same industry! For INVOLVE to be the matchmaker in an industry where connections count has been awesome!

Some of our clients described it as “genius”, “hilarious”, and one person said, “it was OK, but I chucked it in the bin”. If we have learned anything from dipping our toes into the world of satirical humour, it’s that you can’t please everyone!

The sequel

So, after its success and the attraction of 19 new clients in 2016, it was inevitable that a sequel would quickly follow. And, what better way to poke fun at ourselves and our industry than for the second book to focus on Employee Engagement.

Creating the second book in our Mockingbird series has once again been an agency wide effort, pulling on the power of our collective experience and involving everyone in the process.

The final copy was sent to the printers a couple of weeks ago late on Friday night – the whole team proof read the final copy together with the help of a few drinks to maintain our stamina!

Our clients frequently ask, “how did you do this?!”

The answer in short is a lot of hard work and ensuring that we are fastidious in our process.

We held brainstorms to nail the overall concept, brainstorms to finesse the story arc, brainstorms to map out potentially humorous touch points, and yet more brainstorms to bounce jokes off each other.

So why the Mockingbird series?

Over the last 20 years INVOLVE has seen its fair share of the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly.

From Leadership teams using reward and recognition events as the sorbet for redundancies, to a company launching their new brand promise of ‘Free and Easy’, and then handing out badges with those words for their checkout teams! We haven’t been short of stimulus, but above all we are a creative agency and are eager to showcase our talents!

(The phrase “sorbet for redundancies” is a new one on me! – Rachel)

As an engagement agency we believe that there is no better way to engage a company’s people than by involving them.

So our latest book teases all of the touch points where we’ve seen engagement done badly!

INVOLVE has always had a reputation as an agency that dares to push the boundaries of creativity, connect with employees in a human way and above all be focus on effectiveness and results. We believe that is why some of the world’s most trailblazing organisations, like Salesforce and Audible in the last six months, make INVOLVE their agency of choice.

Please do check out our book review website too.

And if you are holding a big live event or need an experienced team who love to make every project as effective as it is fun, then please get in touch!

Post author: INVOLVE team.

What do you think of the extracts I’ve featured on this page? As ever, you’re welcome to comment below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.

Further reading about employee engagement

If you would like to learn (sensibly!) about employee engagement, these articles from my blog archive will help you.

Despite the tongue-in-cheek approach in INVOLVE’s book, it is a topic I take incredibly seriously and encourage you to do your own research to understand the right approach for your organisation:

Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 28 June 2017.


  1. Geoff Talbot says:

    Great post. I love this line “we believe that there is no better way to engage a company’s people than by involving them”.

    Too often decisions are made for people and they are left passive and are simply expected to follow orders robotically, nothing “of them” has been invested.

    Thanks again

  2. […] How to do employee engagement badly […]

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