So, what is all this engagement stuff about then?
Well, that is a question I often hear when talking to business leaders about the very significant competitive advantage that can be gained by having an employee-centric culture at the heart of any business. And I really do mean any business, regardless of size, sector, country or complexity.
The financial case is one that can interest the most sceptical Finance Director, and there are lots and lots of good stats and data out there which make for compelling reading.
I prefer not to trot out lots of numbers, just a simple, proven fact that engaged employees are much more likely than their disengaged colleagues to be productive, work smarter, stay with you longer and offer high levels service excellence in their dealings with your customers. If your people don’t love your business, your customers will have the same feeling.
So – how to ‘do’ engagement? Actually, you don’t ‘do’ engagement. It is an all embracing cultural approach that extends far beyond the annual staff festive bash or the free coffee and parking space. And it starts at the top. Your people need to trust and respect their leaders through fine words being matched with positive actions, all of the time to all of the people.
UK PLC has probably never been more in need of an engaged workforce right now and we are fortunate to have some world-leading research conducted by David McLeod and Nita Clarke back in 2009 (The UK coalition government was concerned about the productivity gap between us and the rest of the G12). Hah ! If they thought it was bad then…….
Anyway, back on message, McLeod and Clarke studied how the really successful companies engaged their workforces, across every sector, and it boiled down to 4 key differentiators that set the high flyers apart from the laggards.
- The strategic narrative. A grand sounding title but really means that everyone understands what the business is about. Where it came from, where it is going and why. And they buy into it.
- Line Managers care about the people in their teams – and they demonstrate it EVERY
- Everyone in the business has a voice (and is listened to).
- Leaders walk the talk in everything they say and everything they do.
So, that’s it. Simple really.
The single best way to get started on the journey to the huge benefits all this can bring to a business is to ask everyone (and I mean everyone – confidentially) what they think about working around this place. Likes, dislikes, what can be done better, what can be stopped, what can be started, and much more. The results often amaze and rarely disappoint. Then it is the actions taken that make the difference.
And that is where we come in. We offer a completely free (and I mean free) no obligation survey with free advice (based on the results) thrown in for good measure. Sound too good to be true? Just try us or read some of the things people say about us.
John Jennings and Chris Cooper are employee engagement experts who help businesses achieve great results with simple strategies.