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ISO Approves Effort to Develop Engagement Standards

The effort to create formal standards for engagement received a big boost: ISO, The International Organization for Standardization, formally voted to approve the proposal from the United States for the creation of engagement standards drafted by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance and submitted last year to the U.S. Technical Advisory Group. This triggers the creation of a formal working group authorized to begin work on draft standards. 
“This move by the international body makes it likely that there will be formal standards related to the implementation of engagement, since the international body has now voted to create a working group,” according to Lee S. Webster, Director of Employee Relations at the University of Texas Medical Branch, the administrator of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group 260. “This process almost always results in the creation of formal standards.” The engagement standards, he says, could eventually be incorporated into other ISO standards, such as those for quality management and healthcare administration, potentially affecting over 1 million companies worldwide.
The scope of the EEA proposal states: “Based on extensive research and information already in the public domain, this initiative seeks to create a set of standards which can be used as a model for organizations to formally integrate current practices for engagement, such as leadership development, employee and engagement assessment, recruitment, learning, communications, rewards and recognition, return on investment measures, etc., along with analytics, into a set of practices to achieve measurable goals and insights. For the purposes of this proposal, we define employee engagement as the proactive involvement of employees in the actions, behaviors, and values needed to achieve overall and specific organizational objectives in a way that can be sustained and measured over time.” 
To view the full text of the proposal approved by ISO, click here
The next move will be to formalize the nature and makeup of the working group, a process that can begin now, says Webster. As the organization that submitted the proposal, the EEA is the first member of the working group.
After meetings at the last plenary meeting of ISO in Singapore in September, Webster, with the support of the EEA, determined that the best course of action for the standards would be to approach the one member country’s Technical Advisory Group to officially “convene” the working group, with the support of the U.S. As reported in ESM, it was felt that Great Britain’s innovations in employee engagement merited their active involvement, and that the U.K.’s leadership would help build bridges to the dozens of other countries that would be involved with developing and approving such standards. 
Asked about the potential impact of the standards, Webster notes: “Have you heard of the industrial safety industry or of the total quality management fields? I think it’s safe to say that ISO standards played an important role in the creation of those fields and many others by helping people agree on the importance and benefits of developing and implementing best practices.” 
Bruce Bolger, President of the Enterprise Engagement Alliance, says the EEA “could not be more delighted that the international community saw the merits of our proposal, and we look forward to collaborating with great minds around the world who understand the significance of engagement to business, investors, and people of every walk of life.”

For More Information
Lee S. Webster
Director, Employee Relations
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Tel. 409-747-4867
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