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The Rules of Engagement

A Guide for Creating your Own Rules of Engagement

What do you think of when you think of engagement? Maybe you think about employees not paying attention to their work to do things like online shopping, or maybe you think of that particular employee who will come into work every day, get work done and then leave without engaging with their peers. Or maybe you think of that other particular employee who doesn’t want any additional training, or who doesn’t engage in team exercises. You are thinking of exactly the right things but how do you deal with these problems? Have you ever talked to one of these employees about their work engagement, but maybe missed the person in the background who is doing the same thing? There is a high chance that you are affecting an employee’s commitment, morale and communication through double standards or a lack of standards.

This is the part where I am going to introduce something called the ‘Rules of Engagement’ which is a list which Patrick Lencioni introduced with are written guidelines by which all team members are expected to communicate, behave, engage, support, treat, and coordinate with each other. When this is properly enforced, it creates predictability and consistency. Good engagement has known to have positive effects on the work-force; including better performance, longer job tenure, high innovation skills, and better well-being. McDonald’s did research with Lancaster University and found that restaurants with higher commitment levels scores served on average 66% more customers and made 27% more sales; proof that engagement works.

Why not have a go at creating a ‘rules of engagement’ for your team with 3 easy steps.

  1. Ask your team members to write down the biggest challenges they have experienced in engagement and communication recently. If they could rewind time, what would they have done differently?
  2. Have team members vote on the top 10-15 challenges which have been collected.
  3. Review these rules periodically; people change and it is important that the policies are relevant to your current team.

Here are some things to consider for developing the ‘rules of engagement’: 

  • Meeting rules.  As an example - no meetings without an agenda, always be open to other ideas/opinions.
  • How any negative feedback is relayed.
  • Timeframe expectations for projects, response time to customers/clients.
  • Communication time acceptability – when is it acceptable to contact other team members after hours, on weekends, and over holidays.
  • Behaviour expectations – not interrupting team members, respectful tone and language
  • Talent/Resource sharing – What protocols need to be taken when help from another team is needed.
  • Workplace accountability.
  • Modelling the mission, vision, and guiding values of the company.

Sophie Rowland, 23 Nov '17