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HR needs to 'own' engagement strategies, says Oracle

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HR needs to step up and own engagement, according to Andy Campbell, HCM strategy director of Oracle

Only 3% of employees say HR has the biggest positive impact on their levels of engagement, according to research from Oracle.

The Simply Talent study found that 42% of employees across Europe and 30% in the UK believe that their peers have the most positive impact on how engaged they feel at work, well ahead of line managers (21%) and business unit managers (7%).

Almost six out of 10 (59%) employees in the UK say increased engagement enhances their productivity, but despite this only around a third (35%) say they feel engaged most of the time.

Loïc Le Guisquet, president for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific regions at Oracle, said that the findings should concern HR teams as they indicate that HR does not ‘own’ engagement in the eyes of employees.

“If this is the case, then what hope is there that HR can have a positive impact on the working environment and company culture?” he said. “This study should act as a call-to-arms for HR teams to demonstrate the value they bring to their business and its employees in a way that is clear for all to see.”

Andy Campbell, HCM strategy director at Oracle, agreed that HR may have been rated so poorly on influencing engagement levels because this area tends not to be strictly controlled by just one business function.

“Our analysis says this low rating is probably because employee engagement doesn’t really have an ‘owner’, in the same way that culture doesn’t,” he told HR magazine. “Everybody knows that it’s important, the managers and employees are all aware of the benefits of engagement, but nobody seems to be sure of who is driving it.”

Campbell said that this lack of clarity could represent an opportunity for HR. “If we do take engagement seriously, and we really want to drive culture, HR has got the chance to step up and say ‘I’ll take charge of that, I’ll put the strategies in place, I will be responsible and accountable for the outcome of this',” he said. “Then I think we could be having a discussion at board level about it.”