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Salterbaxter - Directions Supplement - Employee Engagement


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Why putting employees genuinely at the heart of the organisation is about genuinely listening to the individuals needs

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Salterbaxter - Directions Supplement - Employee Engagement

  1. 1. DIRECTIONS SUPPLEMENT One JULY/AUGUST 08 lump or TRENDS AND ISSUES IN THE WORLD two? OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS Why putting employees genuinely at the heart of the organisation is about genuinely listening to individual needs
  2. 2. Directions Supplement July / August 08 Welcome to the July/August edition of Directions Supplement. In this issue we go inside the organisation and look at why taking the time to Owning a vision – How British Gas Business employees involve employees, ask questions and listen is vital for successful employee generated a new vision for the company. Lindsey Oliver engagement (cups of tea not obligatory). speaks to Directions. Lindsey Oliver of British Gas Energy and Penny Lawson of ITV shed some light on how they have listened to and involved their employees in decision making What was the background to the project? What did the Ideas Team responsible for and ways of working which affect the whole company. And Tom Smith of Lane4, Why was a new vision required? the vision do? a leading performance development consultancy, and Stuart MacKenzie of Significant changes in our industry and The senior and then wider Leadership Team Maynard Leigh, a leading behavioural change consultancy, look at different in our senior management team over the had already done a lot of work around the ways of creating the organisational conditions for engagement. previous two to three years meant our old vision, with mixed results! So they handed vision ‘Real people enabling businesses to do it over to the Vision Ideas Team as the What’s so great about working at Google? either partially engaged or partially business’ was losing its meaning and wasn’t recognised ‘voice of the people’ to see what According to Avinash Kaushik1 who spent 11 disengaged. It seems to us that this is actually resonating with our people any more. This they could do with it. months working there and wrote a blog about less of an engagement gap, and more of a was made particularly clear in 2007 through it, it is not only that the food in the canteen is gaping void – as well as a lot of latent energy Lindsey Oliver the feedback we received from our people What was the vision that was developed? superb, but that the chefs come and ask you and potential waiting to be released. Employee Engagement Manager via the Financial Times and Sunday Times Our new vision is ‘Energy Experts powering what you think about the food – ‘to your utter British Gas Energy Best Companies surveys and our own British business’ and is supported by six shock the first few times. They actually care’. Avinash’s story embodies Towers Perrin’s statements which describe how we’ll achieve conclusion that the organisation itself is annual employee engagement survey. it, including ‘we value and invest in our people’ Of course, Avinash writes in his blog about the most powerful influencer of employee How did employees get involved? and ‘we get every bill right first time’. In quite other great things about working at Google, engagement and that companies have When we examined the feedback we had a unique turn of events, the vision didn’t like the scale of the impact you can have, the ‘a real opportunity to dramatically improve received, we were able to see five clear actually get final approval from the board. green policies and the brilliant people. But this engagement levels, starting with listening themes that our people felt needed addressing It was the Ideas Team who had the final say, does illustrate that small things can make a to what their own employees have to say’2. and were very important to them. These and it was their final say we have today. Badar big difference. And if you can make a person themes were around leadership visibility, was involved throughout the process but it feel that the organisation cares by asking them Olivia Sprinkel personal growth, empowerment, recognition was fully owned, agreed and finalised by the what they think about the food, how would it Head of Employee Engagement and of course vision and direction. Ideas Team. make people feel if you asked them about the salterbaxter direction of the organisation? Or what we should In January 2008 our MD, Badar Khan, sent What’s the key difference between the vision be doing about climate change? And doing so “All the focus was out a simple e-mail to the whole business originally developed by the Leadership Team in such a way that people feel listened to, feel immediately placed summarising the five key themes, asking for and that developed by the Ideas Team? that they have an influence – and also that volunteers who would be keen to be involved The Ideas Team took the wording and the Anyone for a cup of tea? on ‘How can we in developing ideas and initiatives that would sentiment that the Leadership Team had they have a responsibility. We are running a breakfast seminar exploring achieve the vision?’” address each one. developed and simplified it. The original It is probably fair to assume that Avinash some of the issues raised here in more depth version was a bit too detailed and prescriptive is not one of the ‘massive middle’ that We received over 100 responses and so set up – not, well, visionary enough. The Ideas Team in September. five cross-functional, cross-level Ideas Teams professional services firm Towers Perrin brought a level of confidence that we could identified in their Global Workforce survey For more information and of 20 people, each responsible for working on ‘drill down’ into the detail at a later stage of nearly 90,000 employees in 18 countries. to book a place, email Louise at a different theme. Each team was allocated a and that it wasn’t required up front. These are the 71% of employees who are volunteer Chairperson from our Employee Engagement Champion network and sponsored by a Director who gave them support and guidance when they needed it. 1 (a shortcut to Avinash Kaushik’s blog post) 2 (a shortcut to the relevant page on Towers Perrin’s website) In the spirit of questioning and listening, we’d love to hear British Gas Business (BGB) is the B2B arm of British Gas. what you think. All of these articles can be found online at: Just under 2,500 employees at five sites who are mainly office- Do you agree? Or not? Please based and include account managers, billing, debt, and sales. share and take part in the debate. Plus tell us what you think are the most important issues that businesses face today in In 2008, British Gas Business was listed in the Financial Times engaging employees. Top 50 Best Workplaces UK index for the fourth year running.
  3. 3. Directions Supplement July / August 08 How did you communicate the new vision? Badar and his senior team communicated The main roll-out activity will be the ‘Vision in a box’ – a pack of support material that will be y Earl G re Creating the right environment – Tom Smith, an the vision to all our people via a series of roadshows at venues close to each site over used at team meetings to drill down into the detail to make it come to life for all our people. occupational psychologist by trade, shares some a period of 3–4 weeks. The actual ‘reveal’ was through an ‘Apprentice’ style video showing The main objective, however, is to relate all of the secrets that have made Lane4 the MPF our existing activity back to our vision, not how the vision had been created, starring, you’ve guessed it, our Ideas Team. Badar and create a standalone programme around it – (Managing Partners Forum) 2008 Best Professional that’s where people will best be able to make his team then went into detail about how we would achieve our vision and supporting the connections. Firm to Work For. statements over the coming years. What would you say was the key lesson Ca mm that you learnt from this process? A company band might not be one of For us, well-being surpasses simply People were then given the opportunity to om Simply that involving people in decisions that the recognised techniques of employee ‘feeling good’, we believe in building great discuss what they’d heard in small teams ile they have an interest in and that affect them engagement. But for us it is all part and parcel relationships and strong levels of trust and fed back to the whole group about what is the right thing to do. If you want buy-in of creating the right environment at work. with each other. The research shows that excited them about the vision and what they then involvement from the start makes individuals who have strong relationships with personally thought they needed to do At the heart of our approach is a ‘belief in it much easier. co-workers and their line manager are more differently to help achieve it. potential’. It is about supporting personal and likely to be engaged at work. For example, professional development to allow people to sociability is a strong part of our culture both Because our people had ultimately been become the best they can be. This is facilitated informally and formally. We have quarterly responsible for developing the vision, Tom Smith by a strong coaching culture. Monthly ‘Magic company days which allow busy people time throughout the launch there were no Head of Organisational Mondays’ help us share learning as well as to connect, catch-up and review performance quibbles about its validity. All the focus was Development being a vehicle for business updates, and we against our goals. We are also regulars at the immediately placed on ‘How can we achieve Lane4, a performance are all entitled to 10 development days and annual Corporate Games, have ‘Work Club the vision?’ rather than ‘Is this right?’. As Mi development consultancy optional sabbaticals. Environment’ groups for New Skills, Sports such, we’ve achieved a high level of buy-in nt and this has given the subsequent roll-out and We all have a clear connection to the vision & Well-Being, Outings & Excursions and of communication a real sense of momentum. of the organisation through a balanced course the Lane4 band that performs at our People stepped up and offered to lead various scorecard mechanism, which helps us to social events. Through these activities we initiatives to support the development of “For us, well-being balance, amongst other things, our well-being are able to have different types and levels of each statement, it was quite something to conversations and discover mutual interests, witness. The end result will be a continuation surpasses simply in an organisation with a strong drive towards all of which are essential to creating the right achievement. Our own individual scorecard of the roll-out, heavily influenced by the ‘feeling good’, we connects to our team’s scorecard, which supportive yet high performance environment. feedback received. believe in building connects to the organisation’s. Managers When high levels of rapport exist, between at Lane4 are encouraged to continually What other plans do you have for great relationships challenge and support their teams, creating individuals, managers and teams, you have engagement around the vision the essential foundation to build strong going forward? and strong levels an environment where individuals have the engagement at all levels. Not to mention confidence to be innovative and to flourish We’ve already had ‘Vision barbeques’ at all of trust with and are more likely to understand the true a pretty good band. sites. With so much change to take in at the roadshows, a chance to reflect on the vision each other.” value of their contribution. and then discuss in an informal, fun atmosphere a week or so later has proved a hit. e hi p Ros “It was really exciting to be part of a team working alongside Badar shaping the vision and future strategy for BGB. The group itself was a diverse mix of people from across all parts of the business and we each brought different perspectives and ideas to the table. Over a series of sessions we shared and shaped our ideas to come up with the vision we have today. Everyone was very passionate about the final result and we have all been delighted at the enthusiastic response from the business.” Lindsey Willars – Chair of the Vision Ideas Team and Solution Delivery Manager, British Gas Business IS
  4. 4. Directions Supplement July / August 08 Cooking up a storm – Penny Lawson explains how ITV’s Inspiring meaning – Stuart MacKenzie young blood have been tasked with getting people suggests that engagement begins with working together in a new way. a sense of meaning. Time was when ITV was the only big beast in the “I turn up to work, see my mates and go home. Empowering our young people Traditionally, accepted research shows that commercial TV jungle. Now there are 300 or so I have a routine, it’s what I’m good at and I’m The project team will illustrate the full life of the three pillars of ‘employee engagement’ are channels jostling for viewers’ – and therefore happy with it. It’s not as if anyone’s really this programme, borrowing from Goldratt’s ensuring that your people feel valued, involved advertisers’ – attention, and a limitless range showing me the way.” Theory of Constraints and identifying the key and developed. Whilst these make sense, our of online channels too. ITV has expanded well constraint/s which limit the current process work in helping companies affect people beyond making and broadcasting TV shows on What to do? A small team has developed a behaviour suggests there is an equally important relative to our goals. They’ll factor in both our flagship UK channel, ITV1. We have a range 360 concept-to-cash process that ensures fourth pillar. This fourth pillar is the need people market forces and internal constraints, using a of digital channels; a growing broadband ideas with multiple applications are conceived, have to feel inspired which, in turn, requires series of hypotheses they’ve developed, about service including Friends Reunited and a local developed and given the best possible that employees find meaning in their work. tension points which stop us working together Penny Lawson news and ads service offering a showcase for support through the complex commissioning Stuart MacKenzie such as time and money: “I don’t have the Director of Internal local TV talent; and production centres in the and international marketing process. We now Managing Director To understand the process of employee time to make someone else’s department Communication UK, LA, Sydney, Berlin and Stockholm. want to spread this and make it part of the Maynard Leigh, engagement beyond mere research figures money. I’m flat out fire fighting for my own.”. ITV plc DNA of ITV – and quickly. a behavioural we must start by reminding ourselves about A new company mindset Lesson learnt change consultancy basic human nature. This is where Abraham It’s now a key requirement of our five year Thinking the unthinkable Maslow started nearly eighty years ago. It is no A key lesson is to try not to be defensive. Turnaround plan that every new programme The baton has been passed to a project team coincidence that there is a correlation between There are four generations of attitude in the or business idea should be capable of generating made up of our Fast Trackers: young talent the three pillars of feeling valued, involved and workplace now. They all speak and feel rather revenue not only from spot advertising on who are spending time in each part of the developed and Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’. differently about their work, authority and TV, but from at least two other means: live Company on individual assignments, with few aspiration and all have something valuable interactivity, format sales, online games, DVD or no prejudices and legacy attitudes. This The feeling of being valued, both economically to say. rights, merchandising and so on. With the project is the collaborative core of their next and socially, links directly to Maslow’s need for economy under considerable pressure, this few months and reports to the directors of Looking to the outcome security and esteem. The desire to be involved approach is more important than ever. And, it Strategy, HR and Internal Communication. We don’t know what the outcome will look like. and have one’s talents utilised and recognised requires a new mindset from everyone in the We have asked the Fast Trackers to think And the journey is uncomfortable for many links to the need to belong. Finally, the need to Company: broader-reaching creativity, sharper the unthinkable and create an experience senior managers, but we’re confident that by be developed, to unlock one’s potential, commercial sense and a willingness to assist or induction or online training programme or being unwaveringly frank with ourselves and relates to the drive of self-actualisation. quite different parts of the business (some digital sandpit – to bring the 360 process to ready to trust and empower our young people, life and involve (rather than tell) people in Self-actualisation is not in fact the highest need, with different P&Ls) from before. we will create an authentic and engaging step the new way of working. but something Maslow called ‘self-transcendence’ change in joined up behaviour. Now that’s a But we know from our most recent staff survey where people feel that they make a difference phrase I sincerely hope they won’t be using! that people can find it difficult to work across They will base it on an already successful 360 and serve some purpose. In this way, people boundaries in ITV; it doesn’t always feel easy format, Hell’s Kitchen, in which a well-known feel engaged in something significant. or natural. Our programme-makers think chef trains up two teams of celebrities or members of public with no restaurant Leaders therefore need to know how to create so differently from our commissioners or meaning if they want true engagement. For broadband teams, or marketers or salespeople, experience to create a dinner for a restaurant full of diners. The tension, ritual humiliation example employees respond to organisations our journalists or international deal-makers that have a reputation for corporate that staff tell us it feels like a set of different and current food fad has made this an international success on screen in the USA responsibility or for being a leader in the companies. And, as for motivation, as one community. Rousing people to outstanding candid Generation Y colleague put it: and Europe, with associated merchandising. performance firmly rests on the fourth pillar of inspiring meaning at work. “Try not to be defensive. There are four generations of attitude Ask not ‘how much do you want?’, but ‘what matters to you?’. in the workplace now. They all speak and feel rather differently about their work, authority and aspiration and all have something valuable to say.”
  5. 5. About us Contact: Louise Dudley-Williams Salterbaxter advise companies Tel: +44 (0)20 7229 5720 on branding, corporate responsibility, corporate reporting and employee engagement. The Directions Supplements support our main Directions We name companies, re-invent companies, report and are produced re-position companies and re-brand companies. every two months. The main Directions report is We help companies communicate with published each year and is now regarded as the UK’s shareholders and their employees and we advise most comprehensive analysis them on how to address corporate responsibility. of the trends and issues in CR communications. If you We create brands, complete company want a copy, call us on the number below or email communications programmes and global guidelines. We design, build and manage websites, e-commerce sites and all things interactive. We develop climate change campaigns and bring sustainability to life. In short, we apply creative thinking to the big issues that businesses have to address in order to improve performance. Our clients are extremely varied and include FTSE 100 and Euro 100 companies; some of the world’s most exclusive brands; independent, 202 Kensington Church Street entrepreneurial businesses; world leading London W8 4DP educational establishments; law firms; private Tel +44 (0)20 7229 5720 Fax +44 (0)20 7229 5721 equity firms and media companies. This supplement is printed on Think Bright and is supplied by Howard Smith. It is an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified material and is 100% recyclable. Printed by CTD, an ISO 14001 certified and FSC accredited company. TT-COC-2142 ©1996 Forest Stewardship Council A.C