Jo Geraghty


Employee engagement – lessons from Pokémon

Date added: 02nd Aug 2016
Category: Employee Engagement

Employee engagement - How many problems would be solved, how many genuine and long lasting solutions would be created if our people looked afresh at the world

It’s created a buzz that can’t be ignored. People are talking about it, discussion programmes are full of it and comedians are already making jokes about it. More importantly, it’s also captured the imagination, taking people out of their homes to walk or cycle across cities and search through the countryside.

With the Rio Olympics a few days away at the time of writing, are we talking about the sporting legacy of London 2012? Well no, we’re actually referring to the latest interactive internet craze which is Pokémon Go. Initially released on July 6 in the USA, Australia and New Zealand such was the game’s instant appeal that further rollouts were delayed until server capacity issues could be rectified. Since then the game’s worldwide appeal has seen it breaking App store records with more than a hundred million downloads by the end of July.

So what is it that has given rise to this instant appeal? Is it down to its simplicity or the challenge of the hunt; is it because it suits our urge to explore or is it because of the way in which virtual reality merges seamlessly with the world around us? Whatever the reason, Pokémon Go is a true example of innovation, combining existing technologies and branding in a way that not only captures the imagination but also encourages people to look afresh at the world around them.

A recipe for success

In fact, it’s a recipe for success which many organisations would love to be able to copy. Not simply in terms of turnover, although that would be useful, but more for the way in which the game enthuses, engages and encourages. If businesses were able to boost employee engagement in the same way, how different would the world of work be?

Just imagine what would happen if our employees bounded into work full of enthusiasm every day. How many problems would be solved, how many genuine and long lasting solutions would be created if our people simply lifted their eyes from the mundane and looked again at the world around them? When people interact then great things can happen. Admittedly, you may get a few problems along the way, but that is what engagement with innovation is all about, learning from mistakes and moving forward. And don’t forget that true engagement not only benefit the business/employee relationship, it also boosts customer service and adds to the bottom line.

Is capturing employee imagination and engagement an impossible dream? We would say unequivocally no! The leadership knowledge is there, the technology is there; all it takes is an innovative approach which combines a genuine desire for engagement with an engagement programme which enables your people to really take on board the aims and strategy of the organisation. Self managed engagement programs go some way towards this but leaders also have to be prepared to step up to the challenge; to  model the way, to inspire, to encourage and to enable, in fact to demonstrate those qualities identified by The Leadership Challenge.™

You may not be able to achieve an overnight transformation; but if you start now, as you roll out your new approach across your organisation you have the chance to create a buzz, to create a level of excitement and engagement which can’t be ignored.



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