Employee engagement guidance prepares business for recovery

Employee engagement guidance and best practice information to help businesses make the most of their people during the upturn has been introduced by the government.

The publication of the guidance follows the Engaging for Success review, published by the department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) last summer, which called for a national debate on the importance of staff engagement.

David MacLeod, co-author of the report and employee engagement adviser to BIS, said the guidance was not a ‘paint-by-numbers’ instruction for employee engagement, but would provide HR with ideas and advice which they can then adapt to suit their own businesses.

The cost of disengagement to the economy in 2008 – when the recession kicked in – was as much as £64.7bn, according to consultancy firm Gallup.

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Engagement: The role for employers

Listen to Nita Clarke and David MacLeod, co-authors of the government’s employee engagement review, discuss how employers can ramp up engagement post recession. (05:28)

But MacLeod told Personnel Today: “A lot of organisations are complacent [about engagement] because they are doing bits of it.

“We need to invent nothing new because there are also outstanding examples in organisations that are doing this really well. The job is to shine the light on those doing it well so that more employers understand the benefits of working in that way and really embrace it.

“There’s a long way to go and there are huge variations in engagement levels across organisations and even within organisations.”

To boost engagement, the guidance urges employers to set up regular workshops, conferences and teleconferences to keep staff up-to-date and informed about workplace developments.

Managers are recommended to personally get to know staff in their teams by taking time to have informal discussions over coffee or at other social events, provide coaching and career mentors, and to act on employee feedback.

The guidance also advises the use of employee engagement champions to act as a link between managers and staff, helping to identify and share examples of boosting commitment within their teams.

Organisations with engaged staff can reduce staff turnover by 87% and improve performance by 20%, according to research by the Corporate Leadership Council, a membership body.

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