Employee Engagement report: The evidence stacks up


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It’s confirmed: employee engagement drives performance but to deliver £26 million growth by better engaging staff, large companies need to share their expertise with small firms, Serco HR director Geoff Lloyd said today as the Engage for Success Task Force launched its evidence report.

Lloyd, a member of the Task Force established following the 2009 publication of the MacLeod report into engagement, said the new report – Employee Engagement – the evidence – shows organisations with high engagement levels outperform their low engagement counterparts in both private industry and in public service. It also shows engaged organisations report lower staff absence, lower turnover, fewer accidents and are linked to increased employee wellbeing.

Leaders from private, public and third sector organisations came together this morning in London to launch this latest evidence about the effectiveness of employee engagement, presented by the Engage for Success Task Force. The task force stated that the UK is missing out on the full capability of 20 million workers because they are not actively engaged with their jobs and their employers.

"One of the things to come out of this launch was that large companies need to pass down and share their knowledge of engagement with SMEs,” Lloyd told HR magazine. He added: "They expressed how important it was for companies to wake up to what engagement can offer. One entrepreneur said if he didn't work on engagement everyday his small company would go bankrupt."

The launch of the report was accompanied by the unveiling of an Engage for Success website, which includes tools and information about employee engagement 

Lloyd said HR directors need to develop their own strategy and find out what works best for their business: "The first thing HRDs must do is to get an engagement plan organised and personalise it to their company. Follow the examples of others but hone it towards your business."

The launch today brought together CEOs from many FTSE 100 companies – including Lloyds TSB, Prudential, Whitbread, Marks and Spencer, PWC and O2. “They were all in agreement that this represents a positive philosophy and winning solution,” said Lloyd.

Bruce Rayton, lecturer in business economics at Bath University’s School of Management and author of the report, told HR magazine: "What this report shows is that it is engagement that drives performance and not the other way round, the latter which is a point of view sadly shared by many managers.

"It will provide a clear business case for employee engagement and give individuals with the ammunition needed to drive this forward."

Commenting on today's launch, prime minister David Cameron said: "Engage for Success is a movement I helped launch last year to get UK workers more involved in the decision making of their companies and feel more passionate about their work.

"This meeting of leading companies and the publication of new evidence is an important step in achieving this and helping Britain to compete in the global race.

"With only a third of UK workers saying they feel engaged I encourage all companies to get involved in this important initiative."

David MacLeod and Nita Clarke, co-chairs of the Task Force and author of the original report commissioned by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, said: "Leaders at today’s launch understand the importance of employee engagement to the success of their organisations, now and in the future.

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It’s not often that Nita Clarke, co-chair of the Government’s Employee Engagement Taskforce, is on the back foot. But even Clarke, in spite of all the plaudits that she and David MacLeod have received for their influential 2009 report, Engaging for Success: Enhancing Performance through Employee Engagement, can’t escape one obvious fact: hugely disappointing levels of sign-up from SMEs. This is the group that accounts for 99% of all private sector businesses, and 47% of private sector employment, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.

Employee engagement  by Peter Crush
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