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Government guidance on employee engagement draws on experience of business leaders and experts in the field

Business leaders have highlighted how an engaged workforce means increased productivity, innovation and competitiveness, as the Government launches new guidance to help bosses engage their employees.

Business leaders from the public and private sector have contributed to the package of advice developed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to help employers put the principles of employee engagement into practice ­ and improve business performance as a result.

The new guidance has been designed to help employers reap the benefits of effective engagement. These include greater productivity, higher levels of innovation and lower rates of sickness and absence. 

It has been developed with input from a range of business leaders, employers and employee engagement practitioners and follows the publication of the independent report to Government last year, Engaging for Success, co-authored by David MacLeod and Nita Clarke.

Employment relations minister Lord Young said: "Engaging for Success showed how a more considered approach to employee engagement can improve the performance and competitiveness of both individual businesses and the UK economy as a whole.

"With the help of the new guidance on the BusinessLink.gov website, we hope even more employers will take the simple steps that can make a real difference to their employees' job satisfaction and commitment, and the bottom line of the business."

The package of material on contains five guides, containing practical ideas on how to address the key enablers of employee engagement, as identified in Engaging for Success, written and video case studies on exemplars of good practice on each of these areas, downloadable tools and templates that employers can use to put principles into practice; and video testimonies from business leaders on the benefits of employee engagement.

Justin King, chief executive of Sainsbury's, said: "Our colleagues are key to the success of our business. Employee engagement is about making sure that the 150,000 people we have working at Sainsbury's understand what it is we are trying to achieve for our customers and why we are trying to achieve it."

Philip Green, chief executive of United Utilities, commented: "Employee engagement is one of the key drivers of the success of any business. I can't imagine having high levels of customer or shareholder satisfaction without high levels of engagement."

Richard Lambert, director general, CBI, said: "One of the things that has become really clear in this past recession is that employee engagement and trust between employer and employee has made it easier for people to come through the tough times in better shape."

Penny de Valk, chief executive of the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), has also welcomed the package of advice: "We welcome this new guidance, as effective employee engagement is vital to both the success of individual organisations and UK plc. In particular, as we emerge from months of uncertainty and in light of impending budget cuts, frustrated employees may be tempted to seek out greener pastures - therefore employers must take every possible step to ensure that staff remain motivated and that they do not lose their finest talent.

"Because good leadership and successful employee engagement go hand-in-hand, we would also like to see this guidance go one step further and recommend that all organisations invest in training for managers, so that they know how to use the talents and skills of their staff to optimum effect."

The information can be found at www.businesslink.gov.uk/employeeengagement