Top marks from staff must deliver to bottom line

Achieving high employee engagement scores is likely to be on every HR director’s priority list. After all, making your organisation a great place to work is a testament to effective HR strategies. But while having happy employees who go the extra mile is clearly desirable, there needs to be more to it than that. On their own, engagement statistics are meaningless.

This is particularly the case in listed companies, as shareholders will not be interested in ‘soft and fluffy’ engagement figures unless they are producing hard, bottom-line benefits. They want pounds not points.

That’s why savvy HR directors are increasingly making the link between employee engagement and overall business performance.

There is no great secret to getting it right, but those who succeed unlock the kind of discretionary effort from staff that makes the difference between profit and loss in the end-of-year results.

DIY retailer B&Q, for example, has devised an ’employee customer profit chain’ model that works on the understanding that satisfied employees give better customer service, which translates into improved financial performance. HR director Martyn Phillips not only secured board commitment for this idea he has made employee engagement a company-wide issue – not just an HR one – by ensuring that individual line managers are held accountable for their own staff engagement scores.

Interestingly, Phillips refused to be interviewed about employee engagement until he had figures to back up the impact his efforts had delivered (the company has just reported its first quarter of growth for more than two years, according to its latest results.

One final point: if you can’t get the basics right and pay people on time, then any employee engagement initiative – no matter how compelling – will be a complete waste of time. But if you’re doing a great job, enter our new RBS group Employee Engagement Award. Details can be found at www.personnel

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