MacLeod calls on employers to discuss 2010 plans with staff to boost engagement

Employers should sit down with their staff before the New Year to discuss ideas for leading firms out of the recession, the government’s engagement guru David MacLeod has said.

MacLeod, co-author of the government-commissioned Employee Engagement Review, told Personnel Today it was essential that employers gave their staff a “good listening to” about what had worked this year and plans for next year, to boost engagement in 2010 and in time for the upturn.

His comments come as a survey of more than 2,000 workers, commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), revealed last week just one in four employees felt their managers had clearly communicated their business objectives for 2010.

MacLeod said: “As we wind down for this year and start turning our attention to next year, this is a great time to sit down with employees and say what’s worked well, what could work better, what’s likely to come next year, and what are our best and collective ideas to really take advantage of the opportunities that will unfold next year.

“[Employers must] allow employees to really offer their ideas on what the business could do.”

He added: “It’s so much healthier and so much more profoundly enabling if people feel they have had a kick at the ball and their ideas have been listened to.”

Research by the Institute of Employment Studies and the Work Foundation found if organisations increased investment in engagement by just 10%, they could increase profits by up to £1,500 per employee per year.

The cost of disengaged employees to the economy was between £59.4bn and £64.7bn in 2008, the report said.

The Employee Engagement Review – published in July by both MacLeod and Nita Clarke, director of the employee engagement company IPA – is now being taken on the road as the authors host a series of roundtables with employers.

MacLeod and Clarke have also begun talks with employer groups including the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the CBI and the Chartered Management Institute on the shape of the practical tools that will be offered to employers in March next year to help them raise engagement levels in their organisations.

To date, 25 people have pledged their support for the review, including Gordon Frazer, the UK managing director of Microsoft, Justin King, CEO of Sainsbury’s, and Rona Fairhead, CEO of the Financial Times Group. It has also been backed by companies including John Lewis, McDonalds and Vodafone.

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David MacLeod interview

Hear MacLeod talk about how employers can boost engagement in time for the upturn: (03:04)

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