The Process

 1.  The philosophy of engagement

“Individual engagement to a group effort, that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work”  - Vince Lombardi

Benson (2006) described the true meaning of commitment as the ability to commit with passion to a noble pursuit. Engagement can be described as “the act of committing, pledging or engaging oneself” or the state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of action or to another person or persons”. Viljoen (2007) defined engaged commitment as “the trait of sincere and steadfast fixity of purpose, a man of energy and commitment” and “the act of binding oneself to a course of action”. In the model that will be presented, the terms commitment and engagement will be used interchangeably. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT, thus, is a concept that is generally viewed as managing discretionary effort, that is, when employees have choices, they will act in a way that furthers their organisation’s interests. An engaged employee is a person who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his and her work.

Statistics have shown that only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. These employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. People that are actively engaged help move the organisation forward. 84% of highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact the quality of their organisation's products,  compared with only 31% of the disengaged.   72% of highly

   Dr Rica Viljoen

Dr Rica Viljoen is an oganisational design practitioner & specialist consultant who specialises in sustainable organisational transformation, strategy formulation and leadership optimisation.  She is the founder and co-owner of Mandala Consulting Pty Ltd. With more than 16 years consulting & facilitation experience nationally & internationally her expertise lies in organisational culture changes, cultural integration during mergers and acquisitions and translation of strategy, invarious industries such as mining, banking, financial services, health and transport.  Rica completed her Doctorate in Business Leadership.   The focus and

unique contribution of her doctorate is on sustainable organisational transformation through inclusivity. Her thesis was acknowledged as one of the ten most promising contributions internationally to the field of management by the Academy of Management in 2008.  She lectures as a senior lecturer at the Da Vinci Institute for Technology and Innovation and at the leadership department of the University of Johannesburg.  She developed the Benchmark of Engagement that measures the willingness of individuals to contribute to business strategy and the pre-requisites for sustainable business performance. This instrument is currently administered in 19 different countries. She is accredited to use various psychometric tools and to facilitate Rogerian, humanistic and psycho-analytical evens applying methodologies such as dialoguing, world café methodology, storytelling, strategic conversations and Appreciative Inquiry.  Rica has successfully coached various prominent business leaders in the South African and International business context.

engaged employees believe they can positively affect customer service,  versus 27% of the disengaged. 68% of highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact costs in their job or unit, compared with just 19% of the disengaged.  Engaged employees feel a strong emotional bond to the organisation that employs them. This is associated with people demonstrating willingness to recommend the organisation to others and commit time and effort to help the organisation succeed. It suggests that people are motivated by intrinsic factors (e.g. personal growth), working to a common purpose, being part of a larger process) rather than simply focusing on extrinsic factors (e.g., pay/reward). High correlations were found between talent retention and levels of engagement. The Leadership Council (2005) provided a quantitative analysis of effective engagement strategies in a report on driving performance and retention through employee engagement. Employee Engagement is defined in this report (Leadership Council, 2005) as the “positive emotional connection to an employee’s work, thus affective, normative and continuance commitment”. According to this report engaged employees are inspired to go above and beyond the normal call of duty in order to exceed organisational goals and that engagement can contribute to an increase in total share holder return of up to 47% through the reduction of absenteeism, enhanced customer feedback, less shrinkage of inventory and higher sales achievements.

Employees do not engage when they are indifferent or when apathy sets in. Apathy can be defined as “the lack of interest or enthusiasm” or “the absence or suppression of passion, emotion or excitement and the lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting”. The American Heritage Dictionary (2006) describes the term apathy as “the lack of interest or concern regarding matters of general importance and the lack of emotion or feeling, impassiveness” and the term indifference as an individual’s unresponsiveness to aspects of emotional, social or physical life.” Organisational life can be added to this definition. The opposite of engagement is detachment. Detachment refers to “the condition of being detached, aloofness from the concerns of others” (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2006). Synonyms for detachment include coolness, indifference and unconcern. WordNet (2006) defined the concept as “avoiding emotional involvement, the act of releasing from an attachment or connection and coming apart (separation).” The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary (2006) described detachment as “the act or process of disconnecting or detaching, separation, indifference to or remoteness from the concerns of others, aloofness, and the absence of prejudice or bias, disinterest.”

The focus of this research intervention is to ensure that maximum numbers of employees engage the maximum amount of energy to the strategy and the values of the organisation and through involvement and participation, tacit knowledge can be unleashed and suppressed voices and wisdom are heard manifesting in organisational benefits as discussed in figure 1.

Figure 1: The level of engagement is correlates directly to:


Employee Satisfaction
Creativity and Innovation
Safe Behaviour
Customer experience
Ability to deal with change  


   Number of Incidents

   Number of Accidents

 2 The BeQ™-methodology

The product that is proposed is called the Benchmark of Engagement Quotient™. The BEQ™ is a recent, scientifically and academic validated measurement tool, which has been developed for multi-cultural and diverse environments, to identify and measure the individual, group and organisational assumptions and dimensions that impact on engagement and commitment of employees.

The BeQ™ Measurement Tool

Figure 2: The model that measures engagement:

Within the context of the country:


   Personal Responsibility



     Valuing Diversity



     Adaptability to change

Employees perceptions are measured on four perspectives, namely the individual, group, organisational and society perspectives. Five Dimensions per perspective are measured via the completion of questionnaires (or via focus groups).

 3 Organisational applications:  Synergic connections

Six principles of synergy can be identified which each has a direct return on investment if it is done effectively. These principles include rituals, trusting relationships, a sense of purpose, team maintenance, learning and a culture of improvement. Strong leadership and territorial harmony (the ability of a team to achieve a competitive advantage from the territory in which they operate) is also critical. Synergy can be described as “the interaction of two ore more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects” and “Synergy refers to the cooperative interaction amongst groups, especially the acquired subsidiaries or merged parts of a corporation, that creates an enhanced combined effect.”

Figure 3:  The BeQ- dimensions:

Practicing inclusive synergic behaviour should be a way of life in the workplace. Katz and Miller (2002) explained that the benefits thereof will be experienced on a daily basis through higher performance, improved processes, the opening of new markets, higher retention, enhanced recruitment efforts and a broader and deeper pool of talent.

In an inclusive climate, employees feel free to express views and make suggestions, and input and feedback are constantly solicited and offered freely. People in such an environment are encouraged and supported to grow, learn, experiment and take risks (Katz & Miller, 2002). Parcells (2000) explained the importance of giving direct feedback on performance and the power of confrontation. Nel (2003) described the value of radical openness as characteristic of the new world of work. He however also added that leadership should be enabled and equipped to deal with this openness.

Brown et al (2005) held the view that the diverse voices inside an organisation should be engaged - even younger people who are often not part of the inner circle of senior leadership. Handy (2002) said that if truth is concealed or trust eroded, the game will become so unreliable that nobody will want to partake. Authenticity is a critical pre-requisite for a climate of inclusivity.

Leaders should know how to unleash the potential of every individual by allowing his or her unique contribution, listening purposefully and valuing diverse perspectives. Therefore, insight into human behavioural dynamics, change dynamics and climate dynamics are critical for global leadership.

 4 The four-phase research process is recommended:

Phase 1:
Design & Conduct Research

The research design phase is typically viewed as the most important phase as the contextual realities are taking into account during the customisation, the sample group is determined and the actual conducting phase is contracted. Typically, this phase is jointly planned with the Human Resource manager or the General Manager of the organisation. The “who”, “when” and “how” of the study is contracted. It is highly recommended that the study is conducted by qualified and experienced researchers, however, sometimes due to financial restrictions, the internal human resource practitioner can be utilised.

The BeQ™-Questionnaires, which are available in English, French and Spanish, must be completed by at least 80 % of the staff that are viewed as permanent staff members (sometimes including contractors) to form the research population. A sample group of 30% is drawn from the population to ensure statistical validity. As an Organisational development approach of Appreciative Inquiry is utilized as qualitative methodology during the study, it is advisable that the maximum number of employees partakes in the research phase as well as the feedback phase of the process. 

During this phase, the communication strategy is also contracted. Initial feedback is given by sharing qualitative themes with the management team.

Phase 2:

This phase takes place off site. Questionnaires are interpreted, statistics are written up and reporting takes place.  Reports can be generated per team – organisation, per division, per group or per specialized grouping as decided during Phase 1.

Typically, two days are spent with the relevant Human Resource practitioner and / or General Manager to co-design the intervention phase.

Phase 3:
Feedback & Interventions

Detailed feedback is given to the management team during a joined action planning session.  Feedback is translated throughout the organisation. Interventions e.g. teambuilding, emotional intelligence development and supervisory development can be implemented. Appreciative Inquiry is applied as methodology.  Action plans to address growth areas are derived per organisational level.

Phase 4:
Re measure

Typically, a re-measure is conducted twelve moths after the original measurement to identify movement in terms of levels of engagement. 

Each phase is billed separately to ensure cost optimization for the organisation.  As a detailed scope was not done for your organisation a generic quote follows.


   French model
   Spanish model

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