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Employee Engagement and Productivity - it really works!

I can remember back to doing my CIPD qualification (many years ago!), there was a great discussion and debate on how the measure the value of HR (or Personnel as it was then!).  It was all about HR having a seat – or at least a presence – on the Board.  I recall an FD I worked under who needed everything to have a £ on it before he’d even look at it.  Thankfully, we seem to have moved on quite a bit from then.

I was interested in a recent article in People Management magazine (April 2014).  The article headlines with “Productivity; what it means, how to measure it and who’s got the most of it.”  But what really struck me were the words of Hashi Syedain, “Productivity isn’t just about what you do – how you do it matters too.  And that makes it HR’s business….”  So for me, as one of those HR professionals who may occasionally get on their soap-boxes about “behaviours” and “engaging people”, this was music to my ears!

Marks and Spencer research over 4 years showed stores with rising engagement had contributed, on average, £62m more sales than those with declining engagement. 

Sainsbury’s also found a clear link between engagement and sales with engagement contributing up to 15% of a stores annual growth.

Surely these are figures not to be ignored.  Seems like getting engagement right is the key to a healthy balance sheet. 

So what is Employee Engagement?  Put simply, this is my take on employee engagement: -

v  Staff need to know what is expected of them and for that expectation to be reasonable

v  Staff need to connect in some way to the job and organisation – for me it’s impossible to get the “how” right without this connection.  There would be little point in a vegetarian working in a meat production factory.

v  Employees who feel “invisible” to their manager/organisation are unlikely to connect and more likely to under-perform

v  The policies, procedures and general style of management and “the way things happen around here” need to have some alignment with the employee’s own values and “the way they do things”.  The amusing documentary on BBC3 “The Call Centre” illustrates this point well.

So what are your thoughts and ideas on employee engagement?

Do you have some examples on how it has increased productivity?

Is it easier or harder in a small business?


Rachel Wynn, Chartered Fellow CIPD

May 2014

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Some of you will know that back in 2002, I set up Meldon Consulting Ltd providing tailored Personnel and Training solutions to small businesses.

Now it’s 2014 and “Personnel” has become “HR”!! So a slight refreshing of our brand seemed appropriate. We have grown as a business but still provide the same flexible and pragmatic solutions we have always done, working with small, medium and large businesses, public and private sector as well as providing specific support for start-ups.

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When it comes to employing people, it’s all about open and honest communication, clear processes and documentation and legal compliance. Easy!

Zero-hours contracts have made some pretty damning headlines over recent months but are employers who still use them making a big mistake?

Like most things, it’s about using the right tool for the job. The world of contractual legislation is a minefield and that’s before we get onto what defines someone a “worker” as opposed to an “employee” in the eyes of the law and the differing rights associated with each status!

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