News & Views

Employee engagement high on agenda

BY Ian Watson
Employment law
BG Purple

The government has established an independent Employee Engagement Task Force charged with ensuring that a range of practical opportunities are made available for organisations wanting to learn about how to boost employee loyalty.

The initiative will share good practice, generate debate and offer support via a new website. It will build on the report ‘Engaging for Success’, which David MacLeod and Nita Clarke produced in 2009 for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The task force is sponsored by the government but led by professionals from the private and public sectors. It will be chaired by David MacLeod, who will be assisted by deputy chair, Nita Clarke, a former adviser to Tony Blair.

At the launch event last week Prime Minister David Cameron gave his full support saying that the body will make a significant contribution to delivering sustainable growth across the UK, and coming up with new approaches to help people improve their wellbeing.

“I think the public and private sectors can learn a lot from each other. This initiative fits well with our agenda of devolved power and authority and shows how effective companies can be when they feel empowered. I am delighted that the Employment Engagement Taskforce has come together to develop practical ways to help all employers learn from the best, to break down barriers to engagement and to raise the profile of this whole agenda,” Cameron said.

Employment relations minister Edward Davey said that in his view workers know better than anyone how the organisations they work for can grow, innovate and succeed. He added that a committed and involved workforce that are all pulling in the same direction is essential.

Chair David MacLeod, who has extensive experience at senior management level and in higher education,  said that if employee engagement and the principles that lie behind it were more widely understood and shared we could see a step change in productivity and performance across the UK, and a rise in levels of employee wellbeing and motivation.

Nita Clarke stressed that people were at the heart of success for companies and organisations. She said that positive encouragement to the workforce to perform at its best should be a key consideration for every leader and manager, and should be at the heart of business strategy.

The task force will collaborate with leading academics, think tanks and leading practitioners. It will report in 2012 on strategies that organisations should adopt to promote best practice and learning. It will also tackle issues including barriers to wider adoption of engagement, how to harness engagement for innovation and how to maintain morale through difficult challenges such as downsizing.

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