There has been a lot of talk over the last week about leadership and its failings, particularly with reference to our current Prime Minister. Without taking sides and falling into a potentially divisive diatribe – I think one key mistake in her strategy has been around engagement – well in the last week or so at least. Prime Minister Gillard did perhaps misread her constituency when attempting to engage “women” as a group. But I don’t believe the mistake was in the issues or stories she raised, it was the way which they were raised.

Like with much in today’s politics – we the public, disengage when we perceive a hollow pitch for our attention. The meaning of the debate is removed in an attempt to gain political ground. Which is of course the nature of the political game – but it has made me think more about the issues with which we choose to engage our people: our communities, our staff – on/in and the way in which we do this, the timing and the strategy is oh so important.

At Ellis Jones we spend a considerable amount of time creating strategy, particularly digital strategy, that actively and effectively engages key stakeholders – and often staff both new and existing are top priority for our health care clients (as I suggest they should be). Before we step into the creating, we work on the concept, on the thinking and on the vision of how this will work.

Most of us know the stories we tell are important – they are vital opportunities for engagement. But more than this is the opportunity for us all to create something positive that other people will want talk about. Do great work don’t just say you do great great work – and others will follow. Seth Godin was just writing about this very issue too.

For Prime Minister Gillard, yes this is easier said than done in the lead up to an election. Yet on a business level this is not so hard. Many organisations are yet to fully realise the opportunity of actively encouraging conversations about their workplace:  what it’s like to work here, what the organisational culture is like and how you as a new recruit will find it.

There are terrific opportunities for social recruitment and retention in this arena of ENGAGEMENT. But hollow pitches for attention are no good. Do good work, take care of your staff and encourage conversation. For some perhaps there is good reason to stifle the conversation – and if there is – such issues are undoubtedly good grounds for swift action!

In the health and ageing sector, the workforce is going to come under increased pressure – as not only do we face an aging population – but also a depleting workforce with nearly 90% of existing Aged Care employees currently over the age of 45. How do we attract new recruits to this area – how can we utilise digital platforms for this work – what will our approach need to look like in 3 or 5 years time? Well these are the very things we are thinking and working on right now.

And somehow I seem to back where I started my last blog piece. It is the quality of our engagement that counts.

Talk to us about driving qualified and motivated candidates to your door.

image credit: Melbourne artist Chaco Kato.