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The lessons Lego can teach us about Employee Engagement.

Blog by Paul Hitchens.

Paul will be at the Employee Engagement Summit 2014 on the 3rd April at The Kensington Close Hotel, London.

Lego is one of the world’s most enduringly popular brands despite repeated reference to its pain inducing qualities when stepped on while barefoot at 4 o’clock in the morning. I recently had the good fortune to take my son and a group of his friends to see the new Lego Movie.  I now have the films theme song ‘Everything is awesome!!!’ by Tegan and Sara stuck on repeat play in my subconscious. It’s a high-energy celebration of the power of working together for a common goal and it struck me that this could be an anthem for Employee Engagement. The Lego Movie is a self-fulfilling prophecy following the life of Emmet, an ordinary LEGO mini-figure with no exceptional qualities, who stumbles upon an object that propels him into the role of the “special” one as foretold by prophecy. Emmet reveals that sometimes guidelines and a framework for behavior can pay dividends and that every employee has the potential to be a Brand Ambassador. All work and no play had made Emmet a dull boy, but given an opportunity to shine he demonstrates the Lego ethos to ‘Play well’.

Employee engagement is the balance between emotional attachment to the organisation and individual job satisfaction. There is a frequently told story that John F Kennedy allegedly made an unannounced visit to the Cape Canaveral Space Centre during the Apollo Space Program. He approached three men in overalls and asked each in turn what they were doing. The first replied that he was ‘earning a living’, the second replied that he ‘cleaned away all the rubbish’ and the third replied with a smile that he was ‘helping to put a man on the moon’.  The third man displays some of the attributes of the Lego Movie’s character Emmet, he is an engaged employee, someone who feels a direct link between the job they do and the achievement of the organisation.


Satisfaction (I love my Job) + Contribution (I help my business achieve its goals) = Engagement


The reasons for a lack of engagement include poor leadership, weak communication and a lack of understanding about the brand. The combination of long working hours, frozen pay scales, lunch breaks at desks and the intrusive access of digital communication can create a resentful workforce. Health, prospects and a sincere interest in the welfare of the employee are critical. People are engaged when they like their work, they understand its value and they enjoy working with their colleagues.


Effective employee engagement enables employees to realise their full potential at work. To enable this they must feel respected, included, listened to and valued by their colleagues and Line Managers. Engaged employees find a sense of belonging in their organisation and are inspired to put their best efforts into making it a success. High levels of employee engagement are linked with increased operational efficiency and reduced loss from theft and errors.


The benefits of Employee Engagement:

  • A shared feeling of pride and inclusiveness.
  • Employee contentment with career and future prospects.
  • Proactive positive helpful attitude.
  • Improved health and wellbeing.
  • Lower absence rates.
  • Employees live the brand values.


We cannot expect to work in Legoland, but we can work towards building an Employer Brand culture where you can work and play well.

In my next Blog I will concentrate on Values and their link to Employee Engagement.

Thank you

Paul Hitchens

I help people and companies to build strong brands inside and outside their organisation. I often ask delegates at my workshops to describe their favourite brands and I expect them to reveal the stand out qualities and the stories they associate with those cherished products and services. This is because strong brands have meaning and stand for something that’s relevant to us.

Paul presents the following one-day courses with Symposium Training

Brand Strategy and Human Resources – Building the Employer Brand

21 May 2014 – London
2 July 2014 – Birmingham

Your brand needs you! The power of employer branding.


Speaker, author and branding guru, Paul Hitchens, will share his key insights into how your employer brands can be managed and enhanced at this workshop

Paul Hitchens is the Author of ‘Create the Perfect Brand’, a ‘Teach Yourself’ guidebook to branding. He has extensive experience in branding, including manufacturing and service brands. He has created and implemented many brands for new business ventures, start-ups and established organisations. Following a successful agency career that included an award-winning recruitment campaign at the PA Consulting Group and Automotive Branding at Wolf-Olins, he became a founding partner of the Brand Consultancy Verve Interactive Ltd.

Paul is a course director with the Chartered Institute of Marketing and has lectured at The Henley Business School, presenting the brand module for the MSc in Strategic Marketing Leadership. He has contributed articles on branding to business journals including Management Today and Start Your Business Magazine and has been interviewed on both Television and Radio regarding brands.

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