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I was delighted to see the launch of the MacLeod Review, and welcome the news that the Government has accepted the report’s recommendations.

However, I strongly urge ministers to place communication at the heart of their action plan for how these will be delivered, otherwise this critical step forward risks stumbling at the first hurdle.

The report’s authors talk about “unleashing” the potential that resides in the country’s workforce. Disengaged or neutral employees keep organisations in the stalls, twitching nervously behind the starting line. Engagement lifts the gate and enables organisations to see the finishing line, but communication is the pistol that kick starts the process.

MacLeod and Clarke lay out the following engagement enablers:

* Leadership – a clearly expressed story about what the purpose of the organisation is, why it has the broad vision it has, and how the individual contributes to that purpose
* Engaging managers that facilitate and empower
* Voice – an effective and empowered employee voice enabled by effective communication
* Integrity – behaviour throughout the organisation that is consistent with stated values.

The importance of telling the organisation’s story clearly; the quality that makes managers engaging and ‘a cut above’; the power of employee voice; the importance of stating the values a company expects – each and every one boils down to effective communication with employees. In order for these ‘engagement enablers’ to work, companies must first understand what communication really is, work to engage employees and, crucially, check they are getting the message across.