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Employee engagement - a strategic approach

August 9, 2010

Is the creation of greater engagement a strategic issue for your organisation? Is it discussed at executive team level? Is it resourced sufficiently? Or is it something that is talked about but not high on the business agenda?

I was discussing the issue with an HR Director of a large IT company recently. He observed that many writers and consultants don't help themselves by offering ideas consisting of tactical, low level suggestions. Despite a prolonged search, he had found there to be little on offer which he regarded as serious contributions on the subject of getting to grips with the realities of making a major impact on engagement throughout the organisation.

Indeed, any scan of the literature on the subject of employee engagement (which is vast) reveals much which is theoretical and / or aspirational. Great emphasis is invariably placed on the benefits of the truly engaged workforce. But it's hard to find much more than this.

One source of practical examples of organisations which have attacked the problem is the recently published IDS study. In it you can read in detail about the way in which Northumbrian Water have spent the last five years working on engaging their large and diverse workforce. NWL is a client of Employee Feedback. They attribute part of their success to the way we have helped them to measure, monitor, map and manage the engagement process. The company has made a huge effort to tackle the issues thrown up each year by the survey. The Leadership Team have from the start committed themselves to bringing about the changes required, and have publicly committed themselves to annual targets.

The results are demonstrable both in terms of business performance and the year-on-year increases in target scores in their engagement surveys many of which which are now on a par with those of the various 'I love to work here' competitions.

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