Agile Engagement: How An Agile Business Structure Is A Breeding Ground For Employee Engagement

21 August 2017 | Holly Taylor | About a 4 minute read
Tags: Agile, ANDis, clubs, employees, engaged, engagement, Happiness, happy, performance, pioneers, professional services, relationships, structure, vision, workplace happiness

Many organisations struggle to understand how they can measure ‘engagement’. It is often believed that asking their employees to complete a survey designed to measure their happiness will automatically increase the workforce’s job satisfaction. Whilst there is some slight truth in this notion, it is simply not enough to substantially improve ‘engagement’.


In order to know whether your colleagues are ‘engaged’ with the business, several factors need to be considered that may not be as tangible as the colleague merely turning up for work and doing their job. For a business to truly excel in order to meet the organisational objectives, a focus must be on the people themselves; are they performing? Are they happy at work? Do they receive feedback on their performance? Do they have the opportunity to give their own ideas on procedures? Do they feel they are valued? Are they utilising their primary skills within their current job role? All these questions will lead to establishing a measurable of how ‘engaged’ each person is.


Employers naturally measure their people on key competencies that make up their overall performance. Competencies that include being innovative, living the values of the company, going above and beyond their duties, the technical skill required for their position and the relationships with their peers. Creating an environment for colleagues to (at least) have the opportunity to be ‘engaged’ will welcome a positive reaction and ultimately lead to a more successful organisation.

At AND Digital, our aim is to establish ourselves as pioneers of Digital Professional Services. By adopting an Agile business structure, we are able to facilitate an environment that targets the key drivers of engagement. The model is based on a theory by Robert Dunbarr; he claims that there is a cognitive limit to the amount of personal relationships one can maintain at one time. This number has been reinvented over the years ranging from 80-150 people, however AND Digital have created separate entities within the organisation with the very limit of 85 people. These ‘entities’ are known as Clubs; each Club has their own office, their own budget, their own clients, their own Leadership Team and their own diligence inline with the overarching AND Digital vision.

Limiting the club to around 85 people enables the colleagues to forge personal relationships with one another, which can not only be developed relatively quickly but can be sustained long term. AND Digital have created the ideal environment to facilitate the key drivers of engagement. Simply put, each ‘driver’ has a solution;

  • Do they receive recognition?
  • Do they receive feedback on their performance?
  • Are they paid fairly for the job they are doing?
  • Do they have the opportunity to voice their opinion?
  • Is their opinion then used?
  • Do they feel valued?
  • Are they utilising their primary skills within their current job role?
  • Are there opportunities for progression?
  • Are they set up for success?


As an HR Professional, I am extremely proud that I can answer ‘yes’ to all of the questions above. AND Digital have adopted the 360 Feedback method in order for everyone in the company to give their feedback on each other – this alone makes the individual feel that they can safely voice their opinion, that it is used appropriately in order to develop the individual.

By limiting the amount of people in a club, it enables each person to invest themselves in creating and sustaining the culture. Each person’s contribution, opinion and dedication is valued and recognised which alone facilitates an engaging culture. As the Club becomes more established, you can’t help but feel you are part of something special with the potential to be incredible. The success is reliant on the people, so having an environment that welcomes feedback, ideas and contribution naturally creates a place where people not only come to work every day but give more than what is expected of them.

By adopting the Agile business structure, I feel that AND Digital have expertly facilitated an engaged culture that is focussed on the people rather than revenue. An example of this is the four week induction or ‘bootcamp’ that the new recruits go on upon joining. The individuals join with their ‘squad’; a squad is made up of 12 people that range from very junior to more senior Product Analysts and Product Developers. For the first month, the objective of the bootcamp is for the new joiners to become embedded in the company’s practice, culture and values. From technical workshops to scavenger hunts around London, the squad become a close-knit team which encompasses their AND Digital identity. Once they are in the club, they have already developed 11 personal relationships with their colleagues which harnesses a deep set bond to their squad and in turn their club and wider company.


Another example is that each ‘ANDi’ also has an AND title in addition to their technical job title; this extra title is designed to capture the person’s identity outside of their professional capacity and is regarded just as highly as the role they are hired for.


Although AND Digital were not the pioneers of this business model, they have adopted it, adapted it and made it their own. The substantial investment they make in their people is evident by the culture that oozes respect, integrity and excellence. Us ANDis work hard and have good times together which in turn drives our success and prestige in the Digital AND Professional Services sectors.

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