Senior managers from top UK businesses attended an Employee Engagement Forum identified common barriers to implementing effective employee engagement strategies. Professor Katie Truss of Kent University, and member of the Guru Group, was guest speaker at the London event, which was organised and facilitated by business services company Grass Roots.
It’s important for employees when they look up in the organisation to see senior managers delivering the values.
Prof. Katie Truss
The Forum identified common barriers to employee engagement and discussed some of the specific issues relating to each barrier, sharing potential solutions and ideas:
• Line managers not being equipped with the relevant skills
• Organisational complexity – one engagement initiative may not fit all
• Communication – many organisations struggle to get the right message to the right individual at the right time
• Lack of buy-in and support from senior leadership
• Key stakeholders being unconvinced by the business case
Key note speaker Professor Katie Truss Head, Kent Business School at Medway said ‘Certainly our research has shown that where you have engaged employees, in all probability you are going to have engaged customers as well’ and presented on why employee engagement matters and what makes a difference:
The Employee Engagement Taskforce
The concept of engagement has clearly won the hearts and minds of successive governments in the UK. The second MacLeod Review has just been announced, and when David Cameron introduced the work of the Taskforce, he said “Employee engagement is about corporate performance and also individual wellbeing” – clearly the main reason why government is so willing to invest in these reviews.
An engaged employee…
• Thinks hard about work
• Discusses work with others
• Feels good about work
The key questions for employee engagement:
• Am I in the right job?
• Do I make a difference?
• Am I treated with respect?
• Do I know where we are going?
If an individual can answer all four positively, then in all probability they will be engaged.
Research about engagement for the CIPD in 2006 showed that only 36% of employees could be identified as champions (that is, happy to recommend both the products and services, and also happy to recommend their employer to someone else), and 47% emerged as fence sitters. There is an awful lot of untapped potential there. Most of the people who are champions are also the engaged employees.
Effective mission and values
The most powerful missions and values are very simple, very snappy and have emotional appeal.
Selecting for engagement
There are associations between certain personality traits and levels of engagement. Extroverts and those high on conscientiousness are more likely to be engaged than introverts and those low on conscientiousness. However, these associations are really not that strong, focussing on what we do and how we manage employees is a better way forward.
“There is a lot of evidence to show that engaged employees also experience a superior level of wellbeing. In other words they are happier, more contented and more healthy.”
Prof. Katie Truss
Attendees were also given an insight into where some major organisations are using the Grass Roots Employee Engagement hub to drive enhanced employee engagement, by applying CRM principles to communicating with their people
“We’re delighted with how the event went. The positive feedback from the event has been tremendous, with everyone getting something valuable thanks to our participants’ willingness to share and contribute.”
Paul Bartlett, Head of Reward at Grass Roots