Employee Engagement report: The evidence stacks up

Tom Newcombe , 12 Nov 2012


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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Engagement in small business

Bill McNamee 12 Nov 2012

My experience has been that small business could teach large business more about engagement than the other way around. Of course engagement is very leader dependent whether large or small. Larger companies often become too bureaucratic and structured which stifles creativity and creates a culture of mediocrity. I left larger organizations for this very reason.

Put up, or not!

Peter A Hunter 20 Nov 2012

The group who have compiled these statistics are right, the case for engagement is compelling but suggesting that large organisations are any better than others at engaging their workforces is simply blowing smoke. Until this group can describe exactly what engagement is and what organisations can do to allow it to happen to them, no amount of statistics describing how wonderful it is will make a halfpennyworth of difference. Managers need to know what they can do on Monday morning to make this happen. Peter A Hunter

Better engagement in smaller businesses

Michelle Bailey 20 Nov 2012

I have to agree with Bill. Some smaller businesses have already adopted employee engagement to great effect - they may be calling it something different, but then again aren't we all! It's disappointing that the article suggests engagement is something that big companies should 'pass down' to smaller businesses. (Research suggests that SME's are already doing a better job!) I'd have preferred a message that encourages everyone to learn with and from each other and dispels that myth that engagement is the expensive preserve of big companies.I'm very positive that the energy being channeled into website etc will help do just that.

common sense but not common practice

lucinda carney 21 Nov 2012

I agree with Michelle and others that engagement is not the pure domain of large business. I think we have to be cautious about the term actually especially in SME as its can appear HR jargon which puts people off. Small and large companies dont engage staff - managers do, this is about managers doing the basics well talking to, focusing and understanding their people. Common sense but far from common practice

Learning from each other

Ali Godding 22 Nov 2012

Great to see this article and the subsequent comments. Every interaction I have had in the movement has very much been about learning from each other. There are some fantastic videos and other case studies on the website from SME's for just that reason. I read the thoughts from Geoff Lloyd above as being more in the spirit of large orgs should be sharing not keeping insights to themselves and encouraging them to be generous in this respect, I didn't read it that large orgs can only bestow their knowledge to others and not learning anything from the interactions. Hope that makes sense.

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