What a great turn out and an even better discussion at last Friday’s Engage for Success – Inspiring Your Leaders event.

It is clear that the importance of employee engagement is still not being recognised by leaders across a wide spectrum of organisations, and HR professionals are looking for ways to convince their leaders and managers to commit to giving staff a voice in the quest to drive forwards productivity, retention, and customer satisfaction.

Some of the most commonly mentioned problems faced by attendees at the event included trying to persuade leaders and managers that employee engagement is a priority not a luxury, and that engagement should be intrinsic to the very operation of an organisation not something that is ‘done’ every now and then.

So how do we convince leaders and managers?

The key take-away messages for me were:

  • There is compelling evidence linking the benefits of an engaged workforce on key outcomes such as reduced sickness absence, increased productivity and motivation, improved talent retention and profitability. On the flip-side to this, there is a direct cost to businesses of a lack of engagement – so ask your leaders ‘is it worth taking that risk’?
  • If there are parts of the organisation that show more of a drive to improve engagement, take advantage of this by using them as a guinea pig to demonstrate to the rest of the organisation the impact improved engagement has had in that area of the business compared to their own. Internal evidence is a very strong persuasion tool.
  • Empower managers to be creative and energetic with their engagement and encourage them to reflect on their own experiences of receiving good or poor management – to see things from the perspective of their staff. Recognise that sometimes senior staff are in their position due to their technical capability, but that doesn’t necessarily make them a people manager.
  • Most organisations these days have a defined vision, and more and more are defining a set of behaviours or values. So, in the same vein, get leaders and managers to consider ‘what a high performing team looks like’? And, therefore, ‘how do we get there’? The role modelling of behaviours and values are driven from the top down.

One last point, the fish-bowl discussion technique worked really well, and this is something that could certainly be applied in other environments, including qualitative discussions with larger groups of staff for example.

Jenna Allen (Research Director – Employee Engagement)

0121 333 6006


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