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Transform Workplace Culture

How to transform your workplace culture

I’ve just come back from a conference in Sydney entitled Transforming Workplace Culture by Gallup. This conference explored the critical elements of what it takes to develop an engaging workplace and how to transform your workplace culture. I found it quite inspiring so here are some of my key takeaways.

Only 15% of the global workforce are engaged in their job. This means that they score highly in all areas of the Gallup Q12™ engagement survey. This tool measures the 12 elements that lead to engaged employees. Here, we are talking about emotional engagement, which is a much deeper than just satisfaction.

What are the indicators of employee engagement?

There are a number of indicators of employee engagement. Engaged employees have clarity about what is expected of them, are well supported to grow and receive frequent feedback, and have strong social connections to coworkers. They are involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace. They are psychological “owners,” drive performance and innovation, and move the organisation forward.

By contrast, the next group down are those who are not engaged. This group comprises a massive 71% of the global workforce! Employees who are not engaged are just ‘going through the motions’. This is a group of people that leaders can make the most shift with by adjusting a few things. They give their time to the workplace, but not their passion and they are not emotionally connected or committed. Even worse, people who are not engaged can slide downward toward becoming actively disengaged, especially if they are ignored.

Engagement Pie Chart

How bad does it get?

The lowest group is known as actively disengaged and this group accounts for a staggering 15% of the global workforce – this is approximately 1 in 6 employees! They aren’t just unhappy at work — they are resentful that their needs aren’t being met and are acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers potentially undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish. They may also be feeding those who are not engaged. This presents a huge problem for leaders in organisations.

Another key aspect of emotional engagement at work is the idea that I believe in the mission or purpose of my organisation. This aspect of the Q12 was a strong theme of the conference, in which a number of stunning case studies where shared. Certainly in education I would hope this is high. Do your team understand what the mission or purpose is of your organisation and do they believe in it? What might you do as a leader to engender this in your team?

Strengths-based development is a driver of engagement

The power of implementing a strengths-based philosophy came through strongly as a way to help transform workplace cultures. Having a strengths-based approach  is effectively a driver of engagement and therefore high  performance. I have seen this in the organisations we work with on a long term basis because we see the changes to their culture they make as a result of focussing on what is right in people, rather than what is wrong!

70% of the variability in employee engagement is down to the manager!

Gallup has produced a new book which each attendee received a copy of. This book, ‘It’s the manager’ has a synthesis of Gallup’s 30 years of research into engagement, strengths and leadership, so I’m looking forward to devouring it and applying this into my work.

Finally, as I reflect on the power of engagement and in implementing a strengths-based approach in organisations, I am reminded as a leader that the responsibility falls on my shoulders. In fact Gallup’s research has shown that over 70% of the variability in employee emotional engagement at work is down to the leader of the organisation. I have come back feeling inspired.

Its The Manager
Sustainable Development Goals

Make learning authentic using the Sustainable Development Goals

I’ve just spent the most fabulous day at St Mary’s Catholic School in Rotorua supporting their STEAM Extravaganza. My role as a guest speaker was to introduce them to the Sustainable Development Goals and help them learn how to use these goals. This post is aimed at helping you make learning authentic using the Sustainable Development Goals.

The SDGs are 17 global goals that the United Nations has set for the world which they want to meet  by the year 2030. They are ambitious and complex goals that address issues that are sometimes referred to as ‘wicked problems’. For example: No Poverty, or Gender Equality, Life on Land, Life under Water, Climate Action, and so on. Using the SDGs in your teaching provides a great way to improve learner agency and give students authentic contexts that are challenging and rich.

If you click the circular SDG logo on this post, it will take you to a voluntary project I lead in my capacity as Special Officer for Education for the United Nations Association, called the UN Education Portal

This presentation below gives an overview of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and also links to some of the resources on a website I’ve been involved in leading called This project has over 100 webquests which are linked to various SDGs which primary students and teachers can use in their learning. Slide 26 has teacher notes which provide a bit of guidance for educators.

If you combine the SDGs into the design of your curriculum, you will naturally tap into these rich opportunities to deepen the challenge that students face and make their learning more complex and authentic. If you want some advice on how to incorporate the SDGs into your curriculum design please check out these free tips for teaching using the SDGs, or resources on  or get in contact with us.

Here is a video created by the student reporters about the day…

How Inclusive Is Your School

How inclusive is your school?

How inclusive is your school? What does inclusion mean to you? Did you know that one of the eight principles of the New Zealand Curriculum is inclusion? Did you also know that these eight principles are described as the lens through which all school decision making should flow?

I came across this inspiring video ‘Inclusion: Why it Matters‘ on Facebook the other day, and wanted to post it to stimulate discussion on the issue of inclusion in schools. I wonder if the principles are often misunderstood, merely being pasted into our strategic or annual plans in order to say ‘we do that’?

All children deserve an equal opportunity to education. But for some parents of children with disabilities, accessing good education can be challenging. In this video, a group of mums talk about their experience with education:

This video was produced by The Attitude Group which is a really innovative and inspiring organisation that champions new attitudes towards people who live with disabilities and chronic health issues – check out their website or their youtube channel – it is truly inspiring.

Questions for educators to reflect on/use as discussion prompts:

  • How accepting of diversity are we as a school? What would show this?
  • How do we accept those with disabilities and adjust the environment to support their learning?
  • How do our learners who have ‘differences’ feel about this school?

The lovely thing about the messages in this video is that it encourages us to focus on relationships. If you would like help strengthening this critical aspect of your curriculum or how your team works, please get in touch.

Do You Know How Emotionally Engaged Your Employees Are

How emotionally engaged are your employees?

Do you know how emotionally engaged your employees are? Really? I recently attended a two-day professional learning session run by Gallup in Wellington called Engagement Champion Training, which gave me new knowledge in how Gallup’s Q12™ Engagement Matrix can be used to help develop highly engaged workplaces, by measuring the degree to which an employee is emotionally engaged in their role. I learned that Engagement is the way towards developing healthier organisations. Not only is it the way towards healthier organisations, it is also the way towards developing a more productive and effective team in organisations.

Since becoming a Gallup-certified Strengths Coach, I have been wondering how Strengths and Engagement work together. I’ve also been considering how we can develop healthier, more productive and happier workplaces through the use of strengths – the answer is through Engagement. As it turns out, the work we do with Strengths Coaching is a powerful way to develop one of the twelve aspects of engagement.

The Relationship between Strengths and Engagement…

One of the questions I explored during the course is what is the relationship between Engagement and Strengths? I wanted to find out how they complement one another. What I realised is that the answer to this lies in understanding how the Q12™ Engagement Survey tool works.

The Q12™ survey tool comprises the 12 questions that best predict engagement at work.

These 12 questions have been extensively researched using millions of employees across thousands of organisations for well over 20 years; it is the largest dataset in the world of this type of information.

Gallup Q12 Engagement Hierarchy

How the Q12™ is organised…

The Q12™ questions are organised in a hierarchical manner and are grouped into 4 main areas:

  1. Basic needs – or what do I get as an employee
  2. Management support – or what do I give as an employee
  3. Teamwork – or do I belong in my workplace
  4. Growth – or how can we grow in our workplace

These four areas, with their associated questions and the subsequent answers people provide to the Q12™, are the best indicators of the degree to which people are emotionally engaged in their workplace.

Being able to identify exactly where the organisation needs to turn its attention in order to improve next gives us very specific and actionable information we can use to improve.

Gallup Q12 Engagement Hierarchy

This short video gives you an overview of the Q12™ and its benefits:

In essence, using engagement and the Q12™ will attune you and your leaders to more effectively meet the needs of your team, thus creating a much more effective workplace. It doesn’t ask a lot of questions, it asks the right questions.

More Information…

If you would like to receive further information about engagement and an example of a Q12™ report please give us your details here:

How To Make Strengths Based Learning Come Alive In Your School

How to make strengths-based learning come alive in your school

Learn how to make strengths-based learning come alive in your school by developing a strengths-based curriculum for school leadership, staff, and students with this episode from Gallup’s Called to Coach series.

Gallup Certified Strengths Coach

Called to Coach is an ongoing series of podcasts and youtube live webinars for Gallup-certified Strengths coaches and those intending to become a strengths coach. They feature people who are leading the way in strengths-based development from around the world.

This episode features Kelly Parks who has an impressive career in education as a former award-winning school principal and superintendent. Kelly has blended her experience in education and certifications in Strengths training to create a Strengths curriculum for school leadership, staff, and students.

Kelly has co-authored a children’s book called Exploring My Strengths which introduces youth to each of the 10 Gallup Strengths Explorer themes with fun, relatable, and memorable characters. She has also created supplemental teaching resources utilizing the characters for use in the classroom or for parents at home, such as posters, coloring books, and bookmarks.

A mentioned in this video, the Clifton StrengthsExplorer is a version of the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment that has been designed for children aged 10-17. It taps into a range of elements that indicate what young people are naturally good at.

Gallup’s research has shown that people who focus on their natural talents are much more likely to experience success, engagement and lead more fulfilling lives. Knowing and being able to act on your talents enables you to do this.

Exploring My Strengths

Here are some questions to support reflection as you consider how this might apply to your context:

  1. To what extent is our school/kura or Kāhui Ako focussing on strengths rather than weaknesses? How would we know this?
  2. Would our leaders benefit from coaching so they can become increasingly strengths-based in how they lead their teams?
  3. How might we develop our own curriculum that works for our people?

If you would like to learn more about strengths-based leadership development, please get in touch.

Gallup Certified Strengths Coach
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