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Engagement – A Frequently Thrown Around Word

August 21, 2023
Engagement – who holds the power? Where does the primary obligation to be engaged lie? With the staff member, or with those who have the opportunity to create an ‘engaging environment’? We feel it’s the latter. Quite simply, staff won’t be inclined to engage in a non-engaging space! Therefore fundamentally it’s not ‘up to them’, it’s up to us. The staff will determine their level of engagement! So what can we do?

Pat Graupp, Senior Master Trainer with the TWI Institute, led a Standardization workshop at Alfa Lavel in Italy in May this year. At one point during delivery he said “practicing TWI improves worker buy in”. We leaders can choose practicing TWI as one way of building staffs inclination to become engaged. (Of course, there are many others.)

Pat went onto illustrate as follows.

Starting with Job Relations (JR) – the TWI practice pattern for developing the skill of leading. The 4 foundations are:

Let Each Worker Know How They Are Doing.

Give Credit When Due.

Tell People in Advance About Changes that Will Affect Them.

Make Best Use of Each Person’s Ability.

If we practised these foundations, do you feel this would improve employee’s inclination to become engaged? As Dave Hyem (ex Boeing Site Director says) “TWI JR is a means to developing the skill of building trust.” We assure you that trust is a prerequisite for a staff member being inclined to engage!

Then there’s the 4 step pattern for handling a problem (a wobbly JR line). This gives consistency which again builds trust. (I recall a Tatura Milk operator saying to me many years ago “We don’t like this JR thing the Supervisors are doing, but at least we’re starting to all get treated the same way.’)

Pat then went on to refer to Job Instruction (JI) – the TWI practice pattern for developing the skill of instructing.

In ‘Get Ready, we through the training plan developed, demonstrate we care about the development of staff skills. We involve the subject experts in preparing the ‘training recipe’ being the Job Instruction Breakdown. When we instruct (train) part of our preparation is to show interest in the learner. In our training we don’t give them more than they can master in one go. We follow up. All these parts of the skill of instructing are underpinned by the ‘learner is the customer’. If we practised JI, do you feel this would improve employee’s inclination to become engaged?

Lastly Pat referred to Job Methods (JM) – the skill of making best use of available resources.

We break down jobs in detail, then we question every detail. We’re not just forcing the work upon staff. We’re recognising there may be a better and easier way. (Although the ‘pocket card’ doesn’t say such, we involve the workers in JM – we lead the practicing of the pattern.) In Step 3 we ‘Work out our ideas with others’ which gets staff doing the work involved. If we questioned staff’s work with a view to making it easier for them and involving them in idea generation, do you feel this would improve employee’s inclination to become engaged?

Our point throughout is primarily it’s up to us to create the inclination for staff to be engaged. If we do this, more will become so. One way of creating this inclination is practice the TWI patterns.

By the way, we don’t need to engage everyone, we just need to engage enough of the right staff members thus creating sufficient inertia to pull everyone along.

For more information on the TWI practice patterns, click here please.