The most common challenge I hear from organizational stakeholders is that they need to be able to make the business case for the so-called soft strategies before they can get buy-in from their colleagues. The idea that strategies that engage the whole person are soft, while those that target operational aspects of organizational life are worthwhile, overlooks the very core of organizational success—the living, breathing people who must fulfill its mission each day. Without engagement, without playspace for innovating, learning, and changing, the best that organizations can hope for is compliance. Unfortunately compliance is not enough to ensure organizational success. People do not challenge each other’s ideas, explore alternative scenarios, or persevere through complex issues and obstacles out of compliance; they do so out of commitment (Senge, Roberts, Boss, Smith, & Kleiner, 1994).
Commitment is fostered by engagement, and engagement is fostered in playspace. A study conducted by Patrick Kulesa (2006), global research director at Towers Perrin, of 664,000 employees from around the world showed a significant difference in the business success of companies in which workers were highly engaged and those with low engagement scores. Their research showed a 52 percent gap in operating income between high- and low-engagement companies, a 13 percent growth in net income for high-engagement companies versus a 3.8 percent decline in low-engagement companies, and a 27.8 percent growth in earnings per share for high-engagement companies versus an 11.2 percent decline for low-engagement companies. There is a direct link between spaces that inspire high engagement and profitability.
From: Meyer, Pamela. From Workplace to Playspace: Innovating, Learning and Changing Through Dynamic Engagement (Jossey-Bass, 2010)
Kulesa, P. (2006). Engaged employees help boost the bottom line [Electronic Version]. HR.com, 2. Retrieved April 15, 2009 from http://tinyurl.com/qyw45x.
Senge, P. M., Roberts, C., Boss, R. B., Smith, B. J., & Kleiner, A. (1994). The fifth discipline field book: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Doubleday.