Building an Engaged Workforce

Employee engagement lies at the heart of what we do, although we see it as an outcome of leaders doing the right things, rather than as a process in its own right…

There is compelling evidence that improving employee engagement can significantly improve organisational performance across a number of key variables, such as; profitability, productivity, customer satisfaction, innovation, health and safety, sickness and absence, turnover, wellbeing (and all at the same time!).

However, there is also a lot of evidence that there is a long way to go… As the ‘Engage for Success’ movement points out, “survey after survey indicates that only around one third of UK workers say they are engaged – a figure which leaves the UK ranked ninth for engagement levels amongst the world’s twelfth largest economies as ranked by GDP” (www.engageforsucess.org).

It is estimated that around 70% of large organisations measure employee engagement but that 90% of these organisations do little beyond this measurement. This is what the ‘Engage for Success’ movement calls transactional engagement. To achieve the full benefits of employee engagement, a commitment to transformational engagement is required. Organisations that adopt this approach focus on creating the conditions for the workforce to feel fully engaged and committed to the organisation and its goals, which requires the following four enablers to be addressed:

  • Strategic narrative – ensuring that all employees are clear about the vision and strategic direction and their role in achieving organisational goals.
  • Engaging managers – developing leaders who empower and enable their teams to flourish.
  • Employee voice – allowing open, two-way communication across all levels of the organisation.
  • Integrity – ensuring that the values are reflected in day to day behaviours and that there is no ‘say-do’ gap.

Transformational engagement will only be achieved through a joined-up approach to addressing all these areas in parallel and the only way to ensure that the full benefits of employee engagement can be achieved is to ensure that there is an organisational commitment to achieving those benefits, which means: ensuring there is commitment and active leadership from the top of the organisation, taking the time to get the right approach in place, involving employees in the process and empowering them to shape the future -and, most importantly, seeing it through!

Jonathan Booth
jonathan.booth@journey4.co.uk