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Government launches taskforce to boost employee engagement

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The prime minister today gave his backing to a new independent Employee Engagement Task Force during a launch event at 10 Downing Street.

The Task Force will ensure that a range of practical opportunities are made available for organisations wanting to learn about engagement.

It will share good practice, generate debate and offer support via a new website. It will build on the report 'Engaging for Success', which David MacLeod (pictured) and Nita Clarke produced in 2009 for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

At the launch of the Task Force, prime minister David Cameron said: "This taskforce has my full support because I know that it will work to bring together two of my government's top priorities - delivering sustainable growth across the UK, and coming up with new approaches to help people improve their wellbeing.

"I think the public and private sectors can learn a lot from each other. This initiative fits well with our agenda of devolved power and authority and shows how effective companies can be when they feel empowered. I am delighted that the Employment Engagement Taskforce has come together to develop practical ways to help all employers learn from the best, to break down barriers to engagement and to raise the profile of this whole agenda."

Chair of the Employment Engagement Task Force David MacLeod said: "If employee engagement and the principles that lie behind it were more widely understood and shared we could see a step change in productivity and performance across the UK, and a rise in levels of employee wellbeing and motivation. Engaged employees will be key to growth in the private sector and 'better for less' in the public sector."

The Task Force will collaborate with leading academics, think tanks and leading practitioners. It will report back next year on the strategies it recommends that organisations should adopt to promote best practice and learning.

The Task Force will also tackle key issues identified in the MacLeod Review such as the barriers to wider adoption of engagement, how to harness engagement for innovation and how to maintain morale through difficult challenges such as downsizing. The remaining members will be confirmed when the Task Force next meets in April.

The CIPD welcomed the announcement. 

Jackie Orme, CIPD chief executive, said: "We warmly welcome the Prime Minister's endorsement for the new Employee Engagement Taskforce, and look forward to playing an active role in the taskforce. David Macleod is a substantial figure. The report he produced for the last government was an impressive piece of work, and we're delighted that the new government is picking it up and running with it in this way.

"The Government is rightly focused on delivering growth in the private sector, and improved productivity and innovation in the public sector. The importance of a well-led, well-managed, engaged and motivated workforce in delivering sustained growth cannot be underestimated. There is significant evidence to suggest the UK is suffering from a leadership and management skills deficit, and this Taskforce should provide a catalyst for action to plug this gap.

"We've consistently called for government to play a role in encouraging greater investment in the management and leadership skills that will drive improved employee engagement and boost UK productivity. Through this taskforce, in partnership with the Government and employers from all sectors, we're committed to delivering on that objective. This taskforce has a crucial role to play in boosting UK competitiveness and building an economic recovery that lasts."

MacLeod warned HR directors they were not winning the 'engagement arguement' at an exclusive HR magazine breakfast seminar earlier in the year. Click here to read more.