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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more about Cath Everett

Editor’s Letter: The art of engagement


Two years on from the McLeod Review and it seems that engagement levels still remain worryingly low among the UK workforce.

A recent survey conducted by ORC International – and there are many similar such polls – revealed that only 43% of respondents believe they have a positive relationship with their managers.
Less than half felt that the company they worked for was well-managed, while only 54% were enthusiastic about their job. Scarcely a ringing endorsement.
But time and time again, it is line managers that appear to make all of the difference between a team firing on all cylinders with a sense of common purpose and a team that is plagued with low performance markers and high sickness absence levels.
Therefore, we look here at how HR professionals can support them to get the best out of their staff.
Providing line managers with this support is vital, it seems, not least due to a proven correlation between staff engagement and the bottom line.
To illustrate the point, a recent report from US research firm, Temkin Group, revealed that employees who were highly engaged were two-and-a-half times more likely to take some form of positive action without being expected to and 30% less likely to take time off sick. Find out more here.
Food for thought
Interestingly though, according to Nick Lee, professor of marketing & organisational research at Aston University’s Business School, and Alan Lee, a doctoral candidate in work & organisational psychology at the same university, it may also be worth paying more mind to the comparatively overlooked concept of employee motivation and where it fits into the mix.
The academics argue that, just because a given employee is engaged doesn’t mean to say that s/he will be motivated to perform at their best – which means that employers may need to rethink the way that they approach the subject. To read more, click here.
But we also talk to two organisations about how they have tackled the employee engagement issue in two very different sets of circumstances.
Children’s hospice, Julia’s House, in Dorset shares the measures that it has put in place to ensure that its staff feel valued and supported when undertaking work that can be heart-wrenching. Find out more here.
Norfolk County Council, on the other hand, talks about how it has managed to keep its employee engagement indicators high despite having to axe jobs and redeploy staff in the wake of the coalition government’s swingeing cuts to local authority budgets. Read more here.
Finally, we talk to a bunch of workers about what they think – what works, what doesn’t work and what turns them off and on in engagement terms. A fascinating read here.
So with such tantalising food for thought, all we can do is hope that we’ve managed to engage you and that you, in turn, will chew over and act on a few pertinent ideas for how best to engage your own workforces.

One Response

  1. Employee Engagement

    Another morsel to chew on!…

    The working environment and positive management and communnication style seem to be dominent factors in employee engagement from what is said in these findings and from my own experience. Most office environments just don’t seem to be a fun place to be, and we all know that people perform at their best and stay loyal when they love what they do and where they work! To that end we are conducting some experiments  using IN COMPANY radio to foster engagement, open communications and improve employee – management relationships. It’s proving to be fun and effective, so I wanted fellow HRzone members to be aware of a new style of intervention that is coming on the radar!

    Happy to answer questions: [email protected]

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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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