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Q: What’s good for growth, good for leadership and good for people – and could unlock £bns of extra resources?

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Answer: Employee Engagement

As the recession lifts, will you be keeping your best people, or watching them leave to work for your competitors?  Ever since Bob Hughes joined us at the Forton Group, he’s been talking about the importance of employee engagement.  Particularly its link to leadership and specifically to the coaching style of leadership.  Raising awareness of the economic, business and people benefits and solutions delivered by employee engagement is something he’s passionate about.  As a one-off, this blog includes an invitation to hear Bob speak on the subject on Thursday 15th November, near Milton Keynes, Bucks.engage for success

So committed is he to this topic, that Bob’s been supporting a project since 2009 in raising awareness of this issue to British businesses.  He was first  invited to provide a case study by the Authors of the MacLeod Review.

That ‘Engage for Success’ report explored the issue across the private and public sectors.  Since then they’ve put a lot of work into researching the evidence, identifying solutions and building momentum for change.

The latest evidence speaks for itself:

  • £25bn worth of resources, in added productivity, could be unlocked by British businesses
  • Organisations with high engagement levels outperform their low engagement counterparts

Engaged organisations also report

  • lower staff absence
  • lower turnover
  • fewer accidents
  • increased employee wellbeing

I personally believe that these findings have value globally, but perhaps it’s a bit early to get carried away…

The MacLeod Review

David MacLeod and Nita Clarke are the authors of the first report and their commitment has really supported the growth of this movement.  What’s interesting is that they come from very different backgrounds but share a commitment to this topic.

David was chair of the MacLeod Review. He spent the majority of his career leading private sector organisations through major programmes of change and worked at the Cabinet office as Senior Adviser on Change and Performance. He was head of marketing for the Dulux brand, and a divisional CEO with ICI.

By contrast, Nita, who is Director of the Involvement & Participation Association, was a former adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair, and former senior official with the public services union UNISON.

Their approach from their different sectors has proven to be a great partnership.

Engage for Success 2012

Engage for success has now become a national social movement and Bob has the delightful title of ‘Guru Group Co-Chair’ with Professor Katie Truss.  It’s a voluntary role (aka thankless task) but one I know he really enjoys.  I think it’s about being part of the solution – especially in terms of continued economic recovery. It’s also because Bob passionately believes in a culture of work that’s about taking peoples’ views and feelings into account – in contrast to the outdated ‘us versus them’ workplace thinking.

Because we provide leadership develop and coaching services at the Forton Group, I got pulled into being a ‘Guru’.  I’m not great at being on committees, as I’m too impatient.  But I do love helping people find solutions to their biggest challenges – so that’s great fun.

Monday 12th November – national launch

So the next step is a big launch of the evidence: on the 12th November, David and Nita will set out the financial implications, proving the case for the multi-billion benefit to having engaged employees.  Watch out for interviews with some of the country’s top CEOs in the national media.

Your invitation

If you believe that people have so much more to offer in terms of latent skills and talents.  Or if you can see the potential for improving the way leaders and managers communicate.   Or if you just want to find out more about this simple and effective way to improve business performance, then come and hear Bob talking about engagement on the 15th November, and join in the conversation.

We are guests of Principal Hayley Hotels at Horwood House, near Milton Keynes – it’s a glorious country house in a stunning autumnal setting.  What we’re going to do is run three sessions during the afternoon for a limited number of people.

Bob will present the latest findings about employee engagement and why it’s important. He’ll be offering some tips on how to do it well and encouraging you to join in the discussion and networking.

If you want to come along on the 15th November to Horwood House, request an invitation by emailing or register here

Some tips for you

Personally, I believe that employee engagement starts at the top – with the vital role of leadership.  Leaders bring out the best in their people by

  • Clearly communicating your organisation’s vision, values and direction
  • Recognising and valuing your staff for their contribution
  • Listening to peoples’ views – so that they can unlock their talent

And you can achieve all three of these, without massive pay rises, telephone number bonuses, or other unrealistic investments in money time or effort.  It’s about new attitudes to peoples’ potential and simple shifts in attitude and behaviour.  Easy and achievable – like work is meant to be.


Author: Helen Caton Hughes

Leadership and Team Coach based on inspirational and practical tools. Works with leaders around the world; trains coaches to International Coach Federation standards. Passionate about finding best ways for leaders to inspire themselves and get the best from their teams

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