Employee Engagement - The Daily Telegraph supplement
p02 one team, many voices p03 no more carrot and stick? p06 Switch yourself on:
Nita Clarke on what it means to listen Why financial incentives don’t work The role of social media in engagement
Improving business performance
How the recession helped us
find our inner worth P10
02_EmployEE EngagEmEnt an independent supplement produced by lyonsdown media group
one team, many voices What gets
A strong, independent and informed employee voice is one of the key ingredients of
employee engagement in successful organisations, writes Nita Clarke. managed
rawing on a database of opinions
T It’s a good rule of thumb: if you want
he most effective companies from millions of employees around the
and organisations really do world, Towers Watson has developed
believe that their people to know how to do something better, a framework that defines engaged employees as
are their best asset. Employee voice having:
means involving people in the way ask the person doing it.
the business is run. Organisations • A rational understanding of and support for their
with an effective and empowered performance - with staff can be daunting too. But without this organisation’s goals and values (“think”)
employee voice make sure that people openness it is hard to see how staff can understand how best to
at all levels are actively encouraged help improve performance at every level. • An emotional attachment to and pride in their
to give views, submit ideas and raise Feeding back is vital: many organisations have a ‘you said; we organisation (“Feel”)
questions. They have a culture in did’ approach which emphasises the value they place on listening,
which people are listened to – not just communicated with - and demonstrating that employee input doesn’t just disappear into • The motivation / willingness to invest
have a real input into decision-making on important issues, as the ether. When employee proposals cannot be implemented discretionary effort in their role to meet the
well as day to day ones. Above all, these organisations ensure giving an explanation of the reason is important too. organisation’s goals (“act”)
that employees are informed about the issues facing the business, As well as engaging with employees individually, or in teams,
big and small. many organisations had developed strong collective mechanisms Measuring – and benchmarking – all three
David Macleod and I visited organisations around the country too, to deal with overarching issues like pay and conditions, components is crucial to reaping the bottom-line
while we were writing our report Engaging for Success. Where pensions, redundancy and health and safety. Trade unions were benefits of engagement.
engagement worked well, we found informed, involved and playing an important part in many workplaces, often working in In a Towers Watson study using data from
energised employees. We could sense the strength of common partnership with employers, facing up for example to the huge over 360,000 employees across more than 40
purpose, trust and commitment within the workplace. We saw challenge of coming through the recession. Other organisations companies in the world’s ten largest economies;
the positive impact that such practices have on performance and had a company council, or information and consultation we examined the relationship between different
productivity, across all sectors of the economy. And equally we machinery. Many employers told us they valued this collective levels of employee engagement and financial
saw the positive impact that being listened to and trusted has on approach as an essential underpinning for employee engagement; performance. Comparing high-engagement to
individual employees. and they emphasised the importance of aligning employee low-engagement companies over a three-year
This is no ‘touchy feely’ issue. There is a clear business relations strategy with employee engagement. As one employer period, the differences were substantial:
imperative. Leaders need views, feedback and ideas from people said: ‘we want the staff council backing engagement – not telling
at the front-line to help meet the challenges of competition, employees not to fill in the staff survey!’
of providing a better service. It’s a good rule of thumb: if you Taking the decision to listen and engage with employee voices
want to know how to do something better, ask the person is a key step on the road to employee engagement. It is important
doing it. Employers could save a fortune by talking to their that each organisation develops the approach that is right for
‘internal consultants’. And employees who feel involved in the them. But it is hard to see how companies will face up to the
organisation, and who understand how their role fits into the challenges of increased global competition, and how the public
bigger picture, are more motivated, committed and eager to sector will meet the twin challenges of reduced spending and
improve business performance. It’s a ‘win win’ for all concerned. of improving services without a fundamental change in culture,
Listening to employees takes courage: as one senior manager based on trusting employees and listening to them.
told us during our review, “Balance sheets don’t answer back.
The risk of listening is that you may hear things you don’t want to nita clarke: Director, The Involvement and Participation
hear.” But failing to listen can only undermine the potential of an Association (IPA) and co-author of the Macleod Review
organisation’s people to drive the business forward. It can mean
that little things later blow up into a full-blown crisis, because that Engaging for Success. The IPA is a no-for-profit registered
essential early-warning mechanism on the shop floor, or the ward, charity that has worked for workplace partnership and about towers Watson
or the production line, has gone unheeded. engagement for over 100 years. towers Watson is a leading global professional
Sharing information – about future plans, and business services company that has been delivering expertise
in the field of employee surveys since 1956. our
practice was further bolstered in march 2007 by
the acquisition of International Survey Research
(ISR). We maintain the world’s largest database
of workforce opinion norms by country, industry
and job level, as well as global high-performing
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no more carrot and stick
We have known for
decades that financial
improve the way
people work. It is only
now, after damning
criticisms of excessive
pay, that businesses
seem to be taking it on
board, writes anthony
he news that banks are handing out
bumper bonuses has predictably reignited
public rage over the financial rewards
bestowed upon City “fatcats”. But does all this
money actually motivate staff in the best way?
And does it make them happy?
David Marsden, Professor of Industrial Relations
at the London School of Economics, believes that
income is important up to a point but beyond
that, there is not much correlation between extra
money and greater happiness.
People are motivated by a whole variety of
factors, Marsden says, and the interest they
derive from work can be as important as any
system based on performance over the past 12
months inevitably prompts an individual to take
“Teachers may which they would not be allowed to sell for a long
time. Or it could be made possible to claw back
financial incentive. Motivational factors also vary reckless and massive gambles because “while the grumble about bonuses when an employee loses a bank money –
enormously from one person to another and casino is still open”. pay but the a measure which he thinks could have prevented
among cultures. “Clearly there are some people
for whom extra money is a big motivator, while
“You learn on day one that the risk is
asymmetrical,” he says. “If you gamble and
thing that really the credit crunch.
Professor Marsden also advocates a change in
for others it isn’t,” he says. “The City has obvious succeed, you can get a huge reward. If you lose, motivates them the City’s bonus culture: “Banking staff should
attractions, but remuneration is not so important the worst that can happen is that you lose your could be having be concerned with maximising shareholder value,
for people who decide to become teachers,
nurses or firefighters.”
job, and it’s not that difficult to get another one.”
The system of rewards also leads to criminal
pupils that are They have a duty to look after the funds that
are entrusted to them by investors. The ethical
Consequently, says Marsden, when an behaviour, he argues, in the form of insider eager to learn” considerations that should apply to auditors or
organisation is seeking to develop a strategy trading and false rumours, and that it “ultimately accountants, for example, may be overridden by
for motivating its staff, it’s important that the caused people in structured finance knowingly offering large bonuses.”
organisation looks at the type of people it has to infect the world with perhaps a trillion dollars
attracted and that it wants to attract.“Teachers, of dubious loans, backed by dodgy mortgages in Bottom up
for example, may grumble about their pay but America”. There is plenty of academic support for the idea
the things that really motivate them could be Anderson comments that he never saw a that factors other than money will motivate
having pupils who are eager to learn, pleasant correlation between how much money people people in their work. In his groundbreaking
surroundings and good equipment.” received and how happy they were. “You have studies in the 1950s and ‘60s, the American
to remember that the City is full of young, psychologist Frederick Herzberg found that people
BlamE thE BonuS testosterone-filled men who are incredibly are motivated by interesting work, challenge,
Geraint Anderson, author of “Cityboy: Beer and competitive. If they get a bonus that is twice as and increasing responsibility rather than financial
Loathing in the Square Mile,” has little doubt that large as a colleague’s, they immediately think they incentives and argued that spiralling wage
the global financial crisis has discredited the bonus are twice as good a human being.” increases simply motivated people “to seek the
system in the UK and the USA. “I honestly believe next wage increase”. In ‘One More Time, How
the credit crunch is a direct result of the City’s WIndS oF changE? Do You Motivate Employees?’, one of the most
short-term gambling and the bonus culture. I was Anderson believes it’s unlikley there will be te requested articles ever published in the Harvard
told from the very moment I entered the City (in global co-ordination necessary to bring about Business Review, Herzberg concluded that “job
1996) that it was a hire-and-fire world and that significant changs to teh bonus system. However, enrichment remains the key to designing work
‘jam tomorrow’ was worthless.” he does suggest changes that would encourage that motivates employees”.
Anderson, a former utilities research analyst at more responsible behaviour. People could receive contInuEd on So why has it taken so long for businesses
Dresdner Kleinwort bank, argues that a bonus a higher proportion of their bonus in shares, pagE 04 >> to catch on? One problem is that many of the
04_EmployEE EngagEmEnt an independent supplement produced by lyonsdown media group
constant flow the role
of the brand
Dominic Walters discusses the
importance of internal communication QBE, the specialist business insurer, employs
close to 3000 people across Europe, and 13,000
in supporting employee engagement. globally. In 2008 there was a sense that operating
completely independent businesses under one
banner may have been precluding potential
esearch shows a close correlation between better as developing communication programmes opportunities for cross-business-unit collaboration
high levels of employee engagement and and writing clearly. The array of tools and and multi-category relationships.
the achievement of overall organisational technologies also means that communicators Working closely with the QBE senior
objectives. need the understanding to determine the most management team , Engage for Change, the
In our experience, the extent to which appropriate strategy. case study: leader and employee engagement consultants,
employees are in tune with their organisation
and committed to its goals depends on three key
The evolution of CiB very much mirrors the
development of internal communication. Originally
How QBE drove considered the business case for adjusting the
balance between almost complete independence
factors – do they feel valued by their employer in formed in 1949 for editors of staff publications, up engagement and a measured degree of joint approaches
terms of pay, benefits and the way people behave; the association’s activities have expanded and through a brand to clients and more internal efficiencies. The
are they proud of their workplace’s values; and do
they believe in its products or services.
in May it will become the Institute of Internal
based approach consensus by and large was that this was the
time to start creating more of a one-QBE internal
Clearly, employee engagement requires effective Recognising internal communication as a and customer experience by developing a brand
internal communication. And as understanding professional specialism in its own right, the which had greater shared meaning amongst staff
about engagement has increased, so has the IoIC will focus on raising the function’s profile, and which was more visible and differentiated in
realisation that communication cannot simply be developing professional qualifications and customer markets.
about ‘telling’ people things. Today’s employees promoting best practice. Once the top group was aligned and confident,
expect ongoing conversation rather than simply Employers are increasingly seeing employee the decision was taken to engage QBE’s entire
being given information. engagement as an integral element of overall European staff in what became called ‘The Big
organisational strategy development – rather Difference’ programme. This invited staff to
Today’s employees expect than something to add on later. A focus on understand the changing market conditions and
professionalism and standards in internal the present customer brand experience, and help
ongoing conversation rather communication will help to support this welcome match reality with brand promise by drawing up
than simply being given trend. team-specific actions focused on internal and
information. external customer experience.
Dominic Walters is chairman of the British By licensing staff to contribute their own ideas
Demands on communicators have also intensified Association of communicators in Business on how to make the brand meaningful, the
– now they must appreciate the complexities of (ciB). More information: http://cib.uk.com programme drove up levels of engagement and
workplace dynamics and be just as comfortable helped to build awareness of the role of the brand
helping leaders and managers to communicate in achieving success.
contInuEd FRom pagE 03
lessons need to be learnt at the lower end of the pay scale, and applied to workers who don’t often get
much of the limelight. Alison Noel, Director of Skills for Work Ltd, whose specialisms include employer competitively – you don’t have to award huge
and employee engagement, deals with people far removed from the culture of the City. bonuses. But to get into the top quartile,
“Our work focuses on lower-skilled and lower-paid employees, and we have found that there are companies need to adopt consistent and coherent
usually three things that people value about their employment, namely their pay, whether they enjoy their methods of non-financial recognition and arrange
job and whether they get on with the people they work with.” business processes to facilitate, rather than hinder,
People clearly need a decent wage, but providing opportunities for skills development is also vital. an employee’s job”.
Employers can motivate staff and retain their loyalty by offering educational opportunities, mentoring and Not only do financial rewards not lead to
asking for their views on how work processes can be improved. “Given the cost of training a new worker, happiness, they often don’t make business sense.
it is clearly in an employer’s interest to nurture staff and encourage them to progress,” says Noel. Having enough pay to enjoy life, doing a job that
stimulates and interests you, working with people
FaIR gamE that you like and respect, these are the things
Nick Starritt, Managing Director of Sirota Survey Intelligence,says the results of their employee Herzberg argued people want, even if they don’t know it yet. A
engagement surveys suggest that there are three main areas that people value about their work.
“Most people come to work seeking: to be treated fairly and equitably in their place of work;
that spiralling lucky few might even find them.
achievement (people want to work for organisations of which they are proud and receive recognition for wage increases
their own personal contributions to an organisation): and camaraderie – we are social beings. Our data simply motivated
indicates that equity is by far the most important of these factors.”
That is not to say that money is not important. As Starritt points out, “there is no alternative for being
people “to seek
paid fairly and competitively. Equally, there is no replacement for a pat on the back, but the two - money the next wage
and praise – are not substitutable”. increase”
Leadership and management are the main influences affecting all of these factors, according to Nick:
leaders because they create the overall climate in an organisation; and managers because their actions
will have a direct impact upon the workers under them.
He explains: “It’s comparatively easy to achieve a fairly high level of engagement simply by paying
an independent supplement produced by lyonsdown media group EmployEE EngagEmEnt_05
Knowing your top team’s dna
Rhea Duttagupta makes the case for how to build the returns
from an aligned and engaged top team
Q: Why is engaging the top team so important?
A: The team at the top sets the tone for the rest of the “You are the leadership team. Imagine
organisation to follow - mindset, values and behaviours.
Getting that tone right makes all the difference.
picking up your DNA report on one
Q: How can leaders remain decisive and inspirational
hand, and your financial report on the
when some of the fundamentals of the way business other…. the complete picture”.
has been done in recent years have been questioned?
A: The basic tenets of good business remain intact. They,
unfortunately, have not always been adhered to, or the insight and advantage of an external, independent,
developed, or tested in line with today’s challenges. qualitative and benchmarked review of those other
Therefore it is not about questioning the fundamentals, areas, e.g. relationships, trust, values, resilience and
but allowing leaders to maintain their confidence to be complementary strengths (right brain). And (b)
inspirational and decisive in adversity and its aftermath. the process combines a rich and unique blend of leadership
Current circumstances do not look for a whole new kind of dynamics, psychology and creative interventions to bring it
leadership but one with different tweaks and edits. Being to life. By carrying out this exercise, boards demonstrate
resilient in turbulent times is more than surviving. It is having their commitment to good, conscious and responsible
the inner strength to know your personal “core”. No boom, leadership to their internal and external stakeholders by first
bust or transition lasts forever, but when adapting to these “holding the mirror” on themselves and then paving the
backgrounds sometimes, consciously or unconsciously, way.
core values are compromised. Recognising this reveals how
a leader can flex the influence (“the doing”), impact and Q: You say you ‘earn the right’ to tell organisations
presence (“the being”) facets of their leadership self-image what they should hear? How do you go about earning
to stay true to the core. their trust?
A: By understanding them really well. Knowing how clients Q: Do some industry sectors need this more
Q: Have you been able to identify common think and what makes them tick or not tick is key. Earning than others?
management problems that you think may have either the right to ask questions is a function of three Rs: A: Contrary to what might be the current perception, our
helped cause or resulted from the global downturn? rapport, respect, and reciprocity. clientele is not exclusively within the financial services sector
A: Introspection and being “frozen in the headlights” are and extends to a wide range of other sectors.
not, unsurprisingly, similarities found across companies in the Q: How does an understanding of organisational
fall-out from the recent economic turmoil. The “it’s different psychology help you to ‘fix’ a company’s DnA? For more information visit:
this time” alarm signal is rarely heeded. This is because A: It gives those answers that are not found easily. In the www.corporatednaconsulting.co.uk
the common threads of human reaction to the peaks and same way that organisations define financial capital (“what
troughs of business cycles (which contain the clues to you have”), intellectual capital (“what you know how to Rhea is the founder of CorporateDNA Consulting, a team
avoiding the booms and busts in the first place) are often do”) and social capital (“who you know”), we understand combining organisational behaviour, coaching, leadership
clouded by the view that today is different to yesterday. psychological capital to be “how you are.” psychology and creative facilitation to design powerful
We know how the human psyche responds to such events interventions. An ex-Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers,
and we at CorporateDNA train that psyche to adjust for the Q: Is emotional commitment just as important as she has a 14 year track record of working with management
different economic factors each time. It is a self-help concept rational commitment? boards, Chairmen, CEOs and HRDs.
that we bring to clients. A: People try more (or don’t try) as a result of emotional
commitment, not rational commitment. Competencies
Q: What is the one thing you mention to a board that such as ‘deliver transformational change’, ‘influencing’,
they need before starting the DnA alignment process? ‘negotiating’, ‘manage ambiguity’, ‘tenacity’ and ‘resilience’
A: The ‘wanting’ to do it! Achieving genuine synergy and are all underpinned by emotional commitment more than
interdependence at the most senior executive level of a rational. This will determine discretionary effort, or how hard
company requires courage and curiosity to look at the old in an employee is willing to work, going “above and beyond”
new ways while exploring new horizons. The process is not what is required. As research proves, emotional commitment
an onerous one, though it is based on a clear methodology, is four times as valuable as rational commitment.
a willing mindset and a sharpening of skills that can go
beyond many executives’ previous experience. By adding to Q: What does the board alignment process involve?
your toolkit, the light bulb moments will transform the way A: It is a brief program delivered in two parts, the first half
you operate as a board. gives a tangible measure on the psychological climate of
the dynamics between its insiders and the second part looks
Q: What necessitates your proprietary DnA analysis? at the AAA process: Authenticity, Alignment and Action,
Why is it unique? followed by a team debrief and reporting on strengths,
A: Today’s business environment sees an increasing number derailers, blindspots and one big opportunity. A specific
of industry regulators mandating that boards review their aspect is ‘mapping polarities’: looking at the healthy and
effectiveness. But often these reviews focus purely on unhealthy tensions of the climate. The entire process is
financial, governance and risk aspects (left brain). Corporate strongly grounded in actions and metrics with a re-measure
DNA’s intervention is unique because (a) it offers boards in 6 months.
Some recurring themes and patterns across boards that we have addressed and resolved
• Cultural, relational or behavioural ‘interferences’ between members
• Lack of a common “mindset” and “language” of achievement which
• Poor dynamics between executive and non-executive directors, old pulls a global team on the same page with one voice
and new members
• Not enough awareness and understanding of each other’s strengths to
• Transitioning leaders ‘feeling unsettled’ or at the risk of derailing invest in each other’s success
• Lack of confidence and security to have real conversations, rather than • Fragmented views on where people individually and collectively think
just the safe ones the team is at in terms of performance, alignment and maturity
06_EmployEE EngagEmEnt an independent supplement produced by lyonsdown media group
learning how to switch on Emotional Intelligence
– the strongest
predictor of success
Charles Jennings examines the role of social media Emma Jones, chief executive of
in engaging employees. change management consultancy
SFL, outlines the importance of
emotional intelligence (EQ) in
I leadership through culture change.
n our fast-changing knowledge society, learning has become Jon Husband, a colleague in the Internet Time Alliance,
the work and the work has become learning. Learning and describes organisational hierarchy as being overlain with
knowledge work both require engagement. And we know “Wirearchy”, or “dynamic two-way flows of power and authority
that engaged employees increase productivity and perform to based on knowledge, trust, credibility and a focus on results, ith the economy set to grow by at
high standards over time. So how do managers sustain workforces enabled by interconnected people and technology”. This new best 1% this year and 2.5% next,
that are eager to engage, hungry to learn, and dedicated to environment opens up new connections and opportunities, the question facing all CEOs is:
creating value to the organisation? empowering workers and enabling the workforce to be all that how do we deliver more for less and maximise
Dan Pink points out in his new book Drive: The Surprising Truth they can be. Wirearchies lift organisations to new levels and the performance of our people? The answer
About What Motivates Us that engagement is baked into human sharpen the game for managers who need to learn to lead in new is the application of EQ and the subsequent
nature, and using carrots and sticks dampens enthusiasm rather environments. transformation of business culture.
than flames it. On the other hand, a purpose-driven organisation Organisations that are adopting social media tools for If it is accepted that culture is the sum of
appeals to workers’ workforce development behaviour, then in order to transform the culture
intrinsic motivation to are finding that when of an organisation, you must first transform the
their jobs well. used wisely they behaviour within.
In light of all this, provide the ‘glue’ to
managers have a woeful support and engage
“Emotional intelligence accounts
record of maintaining employees. A case in for 90 per cent of what’s required for
the success factor of point is British Telecom’s leadership” Daniel Goleman
employee engagement. new DareToShare
There are other social learning platform The cultural tone of an organisation is set and
approaches. One is to where any employee embedded by the top tier of leadership. Therefore
focus on learning and can upload videos and EQ governs the performance that is transposed
development. On-the- podcasts to support their across the business.
job development activity colleagues in doing their As identified in Goleman’s theory of EQ, a level
is one basic indicator of jobs better. DareToShare of behavioural self-awareness is crucial. Indeed,
increased engagement. was rolled out by BT’s the first element of culture change endorsed by
Evidence shows that Chief Learning Officer SFL is to hold up a mirror to the organisation and
engaged employees, Peter Butler last year. understand the starting position. Identifying the
those that contribute Butler’s team surveyed development areas of a business ensures that the
discretionary effort, will BT’s engineers before right strategies can be deployed.
take their learning and embarking on a solution To enable transformational change;
development into their to the challenge of moral courage, humility and a balance of
own hands rather than reducing employee professionalism and realism are required. These
wait to have it served time-to-competence and are traits synonymous with EQ and successful
to them. These people improving BT’s customer leaders who deliver and maintain sustainable
want bite-sized pieces in service. results will inevitably display them.
context for the challenge They found that 78 per Emotionally intelligent leaders provide a
they’re facing right now. cent of the employees platform of engagement and involvement that
They’re not interested in ‘just-in-case’, content-heavy, context- surveyed had a preference for learning from colleagues over other wins the hearts and minds of the workforce,
poor learning. modes of learning. So they built a social learning platform to ensuring that the culture is fit for purpose. By
We need to look at ways to use this self-service learning address that. DareToShare has proven a tremendous success for embedding robust performance and consequence
approach as a lever to support already engaged workers and to BT. It has also delivered a double-whammy – tapping expertise management, strong performance is recognised
engage others. This approach is less costly than instructor-led across the workforce as well as releasing employees from the and poor performance is not tolerated.
programmes and, being self-selecting, is more likely to have tyranny of time-based development. Employees can engage in The resulting employee engagement leads
staying power and greater impact. Added to this the rise of social development activities whenever it’s convenient. to high performance, commitment, dedication
media tools is providing fodder for this migration from ‘push’ to The ultimate result of this type of approach – using social media and cultural alignment in addition to exceptional
‘pull’ learning. for employee development – is a more effective, more engaged service levels, stakeholder management and the
We have a huge opportunity to build employee engagement and happier workforce. delivery of positive KPIs and bottom line results.
through social media. Smart companies are encouraging their Undoubtedly you can coach certain aspects
people to leverage personal and professional networks across charles Jennings is Director of Duntroon Associates and the which contribute to EQ. However, great leaders
and beyond the enterprise. At the same time, organisations Internet Time Alliance will be those that possess a natural and inherent
themselves are becoming more networked as they evolve from level of EQ and apply it to successfully galvanise
nineteenth and twentieth century hierarchies. their workforce behind a sustainable, results
driven culture that can survive a challenging
“Why are we complacent when confronted with data that suggest most managers
are more likely to douse the flames of employee enthusiasm than fan them, and are
more likely to frustrate extraordinary accomplishment than to foster it?” gary hamel,
writing in a recent Wall Street Journal blog post
an independent supplement produced by lyonsdown media group
Insight: State of the nation
New research from REdEFInE thE RolE oF thE lInE
managER: Nearly one in three employees think
there are substantial obstacles to doing their
Towers Watson job well, and that conditions in their job are not
conducive to achieving exceptional performance.
reveals some The immediate manager role therefore needs to
be less about oversight and control, and more
about enablement, removal of obstacles, creating
worrying tensions opportunities for development, linking local
objectives to the greater goals of the organisation,
in UK companies and helping teams adjust to change.
REdEFInE What caREER advancEmEnt
that need to be looKS lIKE: The study highlights how a new
model of career advancement has become
embedded in the minds of UK workers (Figure
2). 53 per cent of employees define career
advancement as being about acquiring new skills
to do their current job better, and to make them
eligible for other jobs. This is higher than those
he 2010 Towers Watson Global who define it as being about moving up a defined
Workforce Study confirms that the career path (37 per cent), or even about increased
recession has fundamentally altered compensation (36 per cent). While high potential
several aspects of the way employees view their employees are more demanding in their career
work and leaders in the UK. expectations, they also show different preferences
A startling 8 out of 10 of the respondents - such as placing a higher ranking on formal
said they want to settle into a job, with roughly career progression (57 per cent, compared to 37
half of these saying they would prefer to work per cent in the population as a whole).
for a single company their entire career and the
rest wanting to work for no more than three a nEW Way FoRWaRd? The findings send a
companies. clear message to leaders: you need to better
The study also shows that over half of communicate the business’s strategic priorities FIguRE 1
disengaged employees are not making plans to and plans (and their importance to the success
leave their current employer. These high levels of of the business) to regain employee trust and
‘retained but disengaged’ staff pose a risk to UK confidence. You also cannot delegate your role
businesses as the economy begins the long road in driving employee engagement, and you will
to recovery. Furthermore, the study finds that key need support from line managers in closing the
talent, such as high potential employees, are more “disconnect” between you and your employees.
likely to move jobs if opportunities arise. HR’s priorities and requirements may need
In the face of such worrying trends, companies to change as well. Leaders and managers will
need to continue to understand what drives need mentoring and developing if they are to
engagement in their business and to act on the be successful. Career development will need to
factors that have the greatest impact on improved look and feel different for different workforce
business performance. The study points to a segments.
number of key areas they should focus on in order At the same time, the manager role needs to
to sustain or improve employee engagement: be much less about oversight and control, and
more about enablement, removal of obstacles,
cloSE thE “dISconnEct” between what creating opportunities for development, linking
leaders and employees think is important for the local objectives to the greater goals of the
leadership role organisation, and helping teams to adjust to
FIguRE 1 shows the attributes employees desire The Towers Watson Global Workforce Study
of their leaders. What may be of concern to senior 2010 is a survey of more than 20,000 private FIguRE 2
leaders is the low importance employees attach to sector employees in 22 countries. It’s the most
the “business” aspects of the role that they would comprehensive analysis of post-recession
consider to be essential, such as: maintaining employee attitudes and engagement levels
a high profile outside the organisation or available today.
positioning the organisation to compete in the
global business environment. The 2010 study For a free copy of the uK Executive Summary of the
supports our previous findings that senior leaders Study, visit www.towerswatson.co.uk
play a key role in driving employee engagement.
Rather than ignoring the role of leaders in driving
engagement, companies may need to redefine
how they intend their leaders to build trust and
demonstrate interest in employee well-being. And
this is much more than simply creating a “great”
an independent supplement produced by lyonsdown media group EmployEE EngagEmEnt_09
Employee health check engagement are several times more likely to
come out on top at the end of a recession.
helen giles is managing director of
Broadway’s Real people, a multi award-
winning hR support service for SmE
Helen Giles gives a quick guide to engaging your staff. common pRactIcES guaRantEEd to
dRIvE doWn EngagEmEnt
companies and charities.
• Delegating ‘engagement’ to HR instead www.broadwaysrealpeople.com
Q: What IS EmployEE EngagEmEnt? Q: hoW can WE InSpIRE of leading from the top. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A: People feel valued by the organisation EngagEmEnt? • Appointing managers who have no self-
so that they want to ‘go the extra mile’. A: Staff need to understand where the awareness or interest in people.
Engaged employees are more creative and organisation is going next and what • Failing to train and support managers.
committed, give better customer service, their part is in that. They need engaging • Balking at running a staff survey
take less sick leave, are less likely to leave managers who will empower them to ‘because we’re going through a difficult
you, and will recommend you to others. become the very best they can be. They time’.
need clear ways of making their concerns • Over-focusing on pay and material
Q: Why BothER WIth EngagEmEnt? and ideas heard, consistency of behaviours awards – these are not the primary
A: The most innovative and successful and stated values. drivers of engagement.
organisations are those with the highest • Forgetting to thank people for doing a
levels of employee engagement. Low Q: Who’S got tImE FoR all thIS good job.
engagement means a poor experience for StuFF WhEn tImES aRE haRd? • Letting under-performance and bad
your customers. Research has shown that A: In financially difficult times you can’t be behaviour go unchallenged.
less than a third of UK employees are fully tempted to go the lazy and unproductive • Mishandling redundancies in a way that
engaged. way of throwing money and benefits at makes people feel like disposable trash.
people to keep them sweet. Engagement is
about relationships and quality time between
managers and staff. Organisations with high helen and her team
Engagement at work… advanced learning
Helping RBS deliver its new business strategy New technology is being used to develop highly
personalised learning environments, writes Karen Velasco.
s well as being a great way to give ever for our human capital strategy to provide
employees a ‘voice’, an employee survey our businesses with a deep understanding of the he nature of the workplace learning environments (PLEs) that
is a vital tool to understand how well links between effective people management, is constantly changing, and are realistic, interactive and meet
an organisation is doing at creating the specific risk management, superior service and financial employers and employees the demands and learning style of
culture that best supports the performance of its performance. Our survey strategy ensures we must change with it. Today’s younger workers.
business strategy. understand exactly how motivated our people workers are not only more reliant on Whilst PLEs are used frequently
However, as Steve Young, Senior Consultant are around each of the key pillars to our business technology to do their jobs, they are in compulsory and post-compulsory
at Towers Watson, says, “It is important to strategy, and we feed this directly into our more reliant on it to help them learn education, their take-up within the
note that there is no ‘one size fits all’ high Executive Performance Assessment. the skills and knowledge required workplace is limited. Organisations
performance culture. It really depends on the “Towers Watson has been supporting us in to keep up-to-date. The last few are often reluctant to give staff carte
strategy the organisation is pursuing. For example, all these activities. The team is providing real years have seen many developments blanche use of the Internet to get
pharmaceuticals stress ongoing innovation in insights from the survey data which are helping relating to these trends, with access to Facebook and YouTube.
product development, whereas retail banks our businesses understand the people decisions mobile devices such as BlackBerrys A cultural shift is therefore needed
emphasise delighting customers and providing they need to take in areas such as leadership, risk and iPhones being used to deliver to create the environment in which
efficient service.” culture, talent management, and reward.” engaging learning. informal learning via the Internet
Building on decades of research and client work The advent of Web 2.0 can take place, and employee
in the area of culture-strategy alignment, Towers aBout toWERS WatSon technologies like social networking engagement can be enhanced.
Watson has identified five major strategic business Towers Watson is a leading global professional has provided employees with the The ROLE project is a European-
priorities, along with profiles of the specific cultural services company that has been delivering opportunity to create their own wide project addressing the responsive
differentiators that support each of these strategic expertise in the field of employee surveys since flexible learning environment away and intuitive element of PLEs and
priorities: Customer service; Efficiency; Innovation; 1956. Our practice was further bolstered in March from the constraints of formal building a learning environment that
Quality and Image (brand perception/reputation). 2007 by the acquisition of International Survey systems. More is truly engaging.
Guided by knowledge of a co mpany’s strategic Research (ISR). We maintain the world’s largest organisations
business priorities, the content of an employee database of workforce opinion norms by country, are For more information, and to help
survey, and all follow-up actions, can be directed industry and job level, as well as global high- embracing shape the future of technology-
to those aspects of culture and behaviour that performing companies. virtual enhanced employee engagement,
drive business performance. worlds visit www.role-project.eu
RBS personal Karen velasco is deputy chairman of
Since it’s near collapse in late 2008, when the UK the British Institute for learning and
Government took majority ownership, the RBS development and managing director
group has a new strategy to return it to stand- of peopleSolve.
alone strength. RBS see it as imperative therefore
to restore levels of pride and ensure employees are
fully engaged around the new strategy.
Greig Aitken, Global Head of Human Capital at
RBS explains: “It is now more important than
10_EmployEE EngagEmEnt an independent supplement produced by lyonsdown media group
Far sighted? in attitudes to leadership as found in the private
Essex County Council (ECC) is unusual in setting
up its own, four-person employee engagement
team last year. In its 2009 survey, only 39 per
The MacLeod review gave cent of employees believed that senior managers
would take action from the results of the survey.
employee engagement a boost, Indeed, a common problem MacLeod points
out is that senior management think that doing
but the way businesses have employee engagement means doing a survey.
responded to the recession If this isn’t followed up with action and a clear
strategy then it will make the situation worse.
suggests there is already a deep And this attitude comes from the top. MacLeod
says that while the line manager is certainly key to
understanding of the concept, engagement, it is the leadership who set the tone.
writes anthony Wilks. Senior management are often simply too afraid of
doing surveys in the first place because they don’t
have the confidence to face negative feedback.
In the case of ECC, Laura Sibley, head of the
employee engagement team, welcomes the
feedback regarding leadership. “It highlights
the fact that is the job of the leader to engage,”
she says, “and you can never do too much
leadership communication.” This has prompted
her team to work closely wit the leadership group
hen David MacLeod and Nita Clarke These are employee engagement strategies, in organising events and engaging directly with
published their report into employee whether those implementing them understand A survey isn’t enough employees through a number of forums, such
engagement in the middle of the them as such or not. Leaders have been looking to engage people on as the employee panel. If the private sector is
recession last year, there were fears that the issue for ways to survive, and the strategies they’ve its own anything to go by, such changes will out them
could get buried beneath the stresses of economic chosen have been moulded by an environment in a good positions to adapt to the difficulties
survival. that has changed significantly since the last presented by slashed budgets.
“I did fear that all the positive work companies recession. For MacLeod, there is still too much
have done will disappear,” says Dilys Robinson, Ben Willmott, employee relations adviser at the misunderstanding and fear surrounding the issue
principal research fellow at the Institute for Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
Employment Studies, who was on the specialist (CIPD) says that in the last decade or so the deal
forum for the review. “But luckily they are still
saying it’s important. The recession could actually
between employer and employee has changed.
“The so-called ‘nice decade’, as Mervyn King
Leaders have been
have helped the employee engagement issue.”
For MacLeod, the strength of the case for
put it [referring to the period of ‘non-inflationary
consistent expansion’ after Labour came to
looking for ways
engagement comes from the fact that it has
been built on the need to improve productivity.
power], gave employees a lot more choice in the
labour market. Employers had to become a lot
to survive, and the
The simple argument, backed up repeatedly with
statistics in the review, is that improving levels of
more watchful of the war for talent and offer
more attractive conditions.”
employee engagement correlates with improved
What is encouraging is that the tools businesses
developed to remain competitive in the good
chosen have been
There’s the IES/Work Foundation report, for
example, that found that increasing engagement
times have been carried over to help them survive
in the bad. “People seem to intuitively understand
moulded by a
related workplace practices by 10 per cent
raised profits by £1,500 per employee per year.
employee engagement,” Robinson says. “They
say they get it, though when you question them
Or the Towers Perrin-ISR cross-organisational
study showing that over a 12 month period
about it in details they’ll probably give different
answers. But I don’t think that matters too
those companies with high engagement scores much.”
increased net income growth by 13.7 per cent, But this shouldn’t encourage complacency. of engagement issue. At the heart of it are some
compared with a 3.8 per cent decline in those MacLeod says we are still a long way off fulfilling very simple practices which managers should
with low engagement. the potential of our workers, and the amount follow. They need to know how to focus their
The figures are all there, but maybe there’s a we invest in managers is till a lot less than other people on what’s required, and give them some
longer history to consider. MacLeod states that developed countries. The importance of line scope within that. They must treat their staff as
one of the key drivers of employee engagement is managers, in particular, is frequently stated. As individuals, and they must give them feedback
a clear story of where your company is going. One Willmott says, “they are the ones that need to and coach them.
of the benefits of a recession is that it brings its be providing employees with clear objectives,
own story, ready-made. As Robinson says, “what feedback and coaching on a day to day basis.
you find in a recession is that people don’t want Too often we get management by accident
to just sit around finding out if they’ve got a job in this country, where someone gets put in
but contribute to the success of the organisation.” a management role simply because of their
But for Robinson this recession has a particular technical skills.”
story of its own. “In the past companies have This is a particular problem in the public sector,
shed the older, more expensive employees, but Willmott says, which is threatened with “savage”
now they’ve hung on to them,” she says “There cuts in the year ahead. So far the interest in
is an attempt to keep on people who are valuable employee engagement strategies in the public
to the organisation, with things like shorter weeks sector has been variable, and what action has
and pay cuts.” been taken has often revealed the same problems
an independent supplement produced by lyonsdown media group EmployEE EngagEmEnt_11
Brain at work
Emotions are a potent force, and when harnessed in the of change, yet it often gets diluted in the
general fray of day to day priorities. TALTalent
right way they can bring huge value to your business. have worked with start-up organisations, with
new leaders and teams, in M&A and business
transformation situations to ensure enagagement
different, and every organisation has its own People are remains on the performance management
unique challenges and requirements. agenda.
Our long experience with clients has brought
us to an understanding of the behavioural hedonistic, For more information call 020 7378 6884 or
patterns that lead either to engagement, success email email@example.com
and a loyal and committed workforce, or to
seeking out web: www.taltalent.com
disengagement, a demoralised and fragmented pleasure and
workforce and mediocre performance. TALTalent speaker events debating current
The first step to employee engagement is to
avoiding pain. hot business issues. London April 27th Justin
understand the individual dynamics of the Webb talking about the parallels between
organisation, as each operates in a different the US and the UK elections.
culture and market and has a different structure.
These factors will have created a brand that London Seminar May 25th “Performance
employees may or may not subscribe to, with Management from 3 Perspectives”: how to
a direct impact on their commitment. Some maximise it; financial rewards; managing
companies have strong employee brands that people when things go wrong.
makes it easy to recruit and motivate the best-
qualified staff who are proud to work for them. These events are free but attendance is by
The next challenge is the organisation’s invitation only so please contact us if you are
leaders, who may themselves have developed interested in joining us.
unconsciously into barriers to engagement.
Most leaders know how to behave in theory but This article was written by graham Johnson
very driver knows that you don’t get full have developed their own ways of doing things and Ingrid Blades from TALTalent
power from the engine until the clutch is that become comfort zones. Stepping outside
fully engaged, and every manager knows those zones activates defence mechanisms that
that their workforce needs to be engaged to can impede the ability to do the right things.
release its full potential. It is our experience that the level of employee FIvE IndIcatoRS oF dISEngagEmEnt taKIng hold
Engaged employees don’t just turn up on engagement in an organisation can be predicted • Conflict is avoided, not resolved
time and do their job. They love their work and by examining senior management - if they are • Procrastination rules and decisions are not taken promptly
bring all their creativity and energy to it. And self aware, flexible, open to change and skilled • More important business information is shared round the water
if everybody is engaged, they are more than a communicators, they more likely to be motivate cooler rather than at official meetings
workforce - they are a team, and they go the employees. • Correct procedure is more important than success
extra mile. At the employee levels, the indicators of a • People fail to make their expectations clear and then resent the fact
Managers are increasingly recognising that poorly-motivated, disengaged workforce are clear that they are not met
emotions are at play here, not just an intellectual to see for a leader who knows what to look for.
recognition that they need to put in a day’s The main indicator of disengagement is people FIvE FEatuRES oF an EngagEd WoRKFoRcE
work to gain a day’s pay. Getting employees working to their own agendas who resist new • Employees are loyal - they talk to each other rather than
emotionally committed to the company’s aims ideas or ways of working. The next is a general about each other
and objectives is one of the toughest challenges decline in enthusiasm and energy levels as a result • Both leaders and individuals challenge each other openly
facing any manager, from line supervisors to chief of lack trust and buy-in to the company and its • People are accountable for their own actions and take pride in their
executives, and our mission at TALTalent is to purpose. contribution to success
provide them with the knowledge, skills and tools Now look at communication flows within the • Individuals support the organisation’s brand and work to deliver on
to get their employees engaged. organisation. Are all the ideas and input coming what the company promises
TALTalent has built up a wide knowledge of from the leaders? If the employees do not feel • Mistakes are regarded as inevitable incidents on the road to
the principles of psychology and experience their ideas matter, but simply ‘do what the bosses experience, but experience is not the name given to the same
of the practical tools and methods that are tell them to do’, engagement has seriously mistakes we make over and over again
available to build a workplace culture that fosters lapsed.
engagement. The general tenet is that what you Are employees defensive? If they tend to be SIx WayS to pRomotE EmployEE EngagEmEnt
think influences what you feel and what you feel isolationist and protective of their role, they will • Tap into the wealth of experience and ability of the workforce
influences what you think, and that people are respond to pressure by keeping their heads under • Establish a system of recognition and rewards for effective work,
naturally hedonistic, seeking out pleasure and the parapet and getting on with their jobs rather that are merit based, emotionally satisfying and not always
avoiding pain. than going on the offensive and seeking solutions financial-
However, the latest research in brain imaging to problems. There is a danger that people • Face up to change as a given and invest in developing employees
is revealing a complex system of feedback loops will rationalise a narrow view of their own job who can adapt their skills accordingly
that govern our behaviour and which can override responsibilities, without regard to what might be • Balance top down and bottom up leadership to create an
the hedonistic principle. Our work focuses on best for the company at the time. environment conducive to optimal performance had maximum
understanding and influencing these positive and Larger organisations often have established engagement
negative feedback loops that underpin behaviours intelligence networks in the form of employee • Never assume a message given is the message received –use
both as individuals and as organisations. surveys and appraisals, staff turnover data and so more than one approach to communicating and always consider
TALTalent believes strongly that a ‘one size on, and these can give valuable information on employees as individuals
fits all’ approach is not effective in promoting levels of engagement. • Make innovation and success everyones issue
employee engagement. Every individual is Engagement is particularly important at times