Employee Engagement - Woman Boxing

Who’s fighting for employee engagement in your business?

If you’ve ever asked this question, you might feel like the only person in your business questioning what’s currently being done – but it’s a valuable question. With the UK lagging behind other countries like Germany and France when it comes to national productivity, and whilst employment rises, productivity is falling behind the expected figures had we not hit a financial crisis.

GDP is closely linked to productivity, but the biggest companies can’t take the whole initiative. It is SME’s and smaller businesses that need to be responsible for productivity, and the very best driver is from employee engagement.

But just who is responsible for engagement?

If your answer is HR – you may need to think again. The latest thinking has been that whilst HR roles such as the head of engagement are employed, and rightly so, it’s not a standalone role, and the parameters of ‘success’ on the position may need to have a longer time to incubate, as well as bring readjusted.


The rise in the range of specialist titles – whether that’s a satisfaction ninja or a happiness coach hasn’t necessarily meant that productivity and engagement have got any better, although that doesn’t bear reflection on the individuals in the roles, but instead, to the senior members of the businesses.

We spoke to an HR and Benefits manager who wanted to remain anonymous about their take on it.

“My boss has zero interest in the actual content of my surveys, meetings, and sessions that I run. He wants the results and the accolade of being a place where they ‘engage’, but isn’t interested in changing how the business actually operates to help eliminate the things people keep identifying time and time again as dispiriting. I can take a horse to water – but in his case, he needs to be able to drink.”

That doesn’t mean that the role is redundant and we all need to be looking directly to the CEO when it comes to people management, a move that could cause many businesses to seriously increase their exit interview bookings…

The ideal balance looks to be the employment of someone with the strategic know-how of how to engage employees- with senior level buy-in and a real interest in changing processes to align with what the employees want.

This might look like the following 4 pronged attack.

HR should take the temperature

An HR professional should be able to take the temperature of the business. Some people can do this by ‘sense’ and other people use dynamic surveys, workshops or sessions. Sentiment and the social media ‘themes’ are also useful to pick up on, which means it might not even be an HR trained professional who helps here – but someone like an office manager or a PA with an ear and an eye on all areas of the business. It might even be a team of people.

Senior management should eliminate barriers

Management or senior management need to be able to eliminate the barriers to the issues that employees are facing. Obviously, management needs to not just pay lip service to engagement, focusing on the results like employees represent a widget or a product, but really understanding the parallel between genuine investment and interest and the benefits of increased output and buy in. It might be a leap of faith, but its true and it works. Studies of brands like Unipart, Ford, Dyson, Marks and Spencer and Virgin – or others with stand out stories from the board level may all help get buy-in.

Marketing should help promote

Don’t be scared to harness an internal marketing resource to promote and prepare colleagues. This can be a valuable resource and don’t underestimate the power of a great design to really help people see a change in a business.

Employees should be open to self-help

Just as you wouldn’t expect to spoon feed an employee their annual training plan, you should also expect employees to help take ownership of their work environment and their happiness.


What have you found works? Tell us below or leave a comment – @IncentiveHub

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