Engaging for the future?
August 2, 2010

As a business owner or business leader, wouldn’t your life be easier – and your company more successful – if your staff were as motivated as you, performing to the highest level, always prepared to go the extra mile and committed to your organisation?

If this describes your work force, then you already have good employee engagement, and yet a recent report  commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, found that only a third of UK employees are actively engaged in their jobs.

The MacLeod Report, published in July 2009, sent a clear message to the UK plc last summer, that good employee engagement is vital for organisational success and is even more crucial in the current economic climate.

But does Employee Engagement really matter? Research indicates that the benefits of increased employee engagement include better financial performance, increased innovation, more employees advocating their organisation, reduced absenteeism/turnover and higher employee well-being. Financially it makes a lot of sense.

We can see that it is important for success, but just how do you engage your employees? The report found that some key drivers for engagement are personal values matching organisational values, meaningful work, a sense of community, valued performance and individual opinions listened to and valued.

At a one day conference, ‘Engaging for the Future’, the authors of the MacLeod report, David MacLeod and Nita Clarke shared their ideas and facilitated group discussions to explore the behavioural challenges associated with employee engagement. Many business owners and leaders are aware of the need for employee engagement, and yet there appear to be barriers stopping them from getting the employee commitment they need for success.

Through group discussion at the conference, we found that the key obstacles were lack of communication (across the organisation), leadership skills, employee/line manager ownership and the current climate.

Many leaders fail to engage their staff when their natural style is systematic and delivery focused. Leaders generally like to take charge, get results; they are practical, rational and efficient. This style of leadership may get the results but this could be at the expense of the individual if people’s feelings are neglected, if employees don’t feel valued or empowered. There is a well known saying that ‘employees join an organisation, but they leave their bosses.’

As an experienced Executive Coach, it is obvious to me that the success of a business lies within the people, and if you look after your leadership team, develop and hone their leadership and people skills, they will be better equipped to motivate and engage your employees, contributing to a more successful organisation.


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