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An IC Christmas Carol

At scarlettabbott, we love powering conversations and telling stories. We also love Christmas.


Here’s why everyone’s favourite Christmas classic is actually a story about employee engagement – and the ghost of Christmas present is a great IC consultant. That’s the beauty of the English language – you can interpret it whichever way you want.

So. A Christmas Carol. We all know the story. Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserable employer; a bah humbug disease of doom and gloom. Bob Cratchit, his long-suffering employee, asks for Christmas Day off work:

“You’ll want all day to-morrow, I suppose?” said Scrooge.

“If quite convenient, sir.”

“It’s not convenient,” said Scrooge, “and it’s not fair. If I was to stop half-a-crown for it, you’d think yourself ill-used, I’ll be bound?”




Scrooge’s IC journey

Scrooge has no vision of the bigger picture or how to engage his workforce. Sounds like some of the leadership challenges we’ve all come across. It takes stepping into the shoes of Bob Cratchit to make Scrooge realise what it must be like to work as part of his soul-destroying company. The ghost of Christmas present takes Scrooge on a journey. It’s a bit like an Exec board being taken through the results of a listening group exercise – he begins to see things – and himself – through the eyes of others. Ending up outside the Cratchit household, Scrooge sees that Bob Cratchit has another narrative – of happiness and of struggle.

Cue Tiny Tim.




What’s Bob Cratchit’s engagement score?

But, against the odds, Bob Cratchit is actually an engaged employee. In an annual survey, he’d be hitting those high scores. Look at how he toasts Scrooge on Christmas Day. He’s grateful for the small joy his job allows him to give his family. Mrs Cratchit, on the other hand, is less than impressed:

“Mr. Scrooge!” said Bob; “I’ll give you Mr. Scrooge, the Founder of the Feast!”

“The Founder of the Feast indeed!” cried Mrs. Cratchit, reddening. “I wish I had him here. I’d give him a piece of my mind to feast upon, and I hope he’d have a good appetite for it.”




Scrooge does some big picture thinking

After Scrooge’s epiphany, he comes to realise that the way to get the best out of his employee is to focus on creating a happy, well-balanced – and well-heated – workplace. Tiny Tim lives to see another Christmas. Bob gets a pay rise in recognition of his hard work.

Happily ever after.





Want some insight into engagement levels in your organisation? Get in touch.