Consulting with staff will reap the rewards

The Information and Consultation (I&C) Regulations are a chance for businesses to boost engagement, performance and productivity. But some will stick their heads in the sand without considering how best to inform and consult, until they are forced to do so by a workforce request, which could happen at any time from 6 April.

The Department of Trade and Industry has published a staff guide, and adverts will raise awareness. So when people ask about their organisation’s approach to these new rights, HR must be ready to answer.

If policy development is hindered by managers who feel they already communicate enough with their staff, it is worth checking exactly what internal communications arrangements are in place. Many organisations are surprised by the inconsistencies they discover. While there’s often a lot of information, there is usually rather less (if any) consultation, and it’s the consultation that helps to engage people. So it’s also worth discussing with staff how best to communicate with them – whether directly or through representatives, or a mix of both.

HR should be making the case that increased engagement improves performance and productivity, and also helps attract and retain talent. Managers need to listen more – according to the Sunday Times’ recent survey, it’s what the 100 Best Companies to Work For do better than the rest.

John Boyd
Managing director, European Study Group

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