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Engagement 'ongoing journey', says General Mills HRD


Companies must understand their staff fully and create an "exciting" workplace to breed engagement, according to General Mills HR director for the UK, Ireland and Nordic region Sue Swanborough.

Swanborough was commenting on the company's recent Guinness World Record attempt, in which staff created the world's longest line of tacos to coincide with the launch of a new product.

She told HR magazine events of this type have a positive effect on both internal and external brand perception.

"It's something that really got everyone together, from the chef to the people in the office," she said. "And it generated pride in the company and the products among staff. Sometimes the internal focus about pride in products can be missed."

Swanborough said that events like this also improve company reputation externally.

"When people come into the office and see something about the event it gives them an idea about our culture," she explained. "For both customers and potential employees that's a valuable tool."

Although one-off events are a useful launch pad for increased engagement, employers need to maintain their focus for real results, Swanborough added.

"Engagement is an ongoing journey," she said. "The starting point should always be to understand your people. If you build an environment that gets people excited then engagement follows. Every company is going to be different, but finding new and innovative ways to drive engagement is a great place to begin."