Thursday, 12 June 2014


HR Daily posted another excellent blog recently, Engagement the Key to Improving business results that impresses, but when you think about it, does not surprise.

They reviewed research from this year's Best Employers research and accreditation, which involved 120 organisations and 70,000 employees, and honed in one four key talent management priorities.

1. They had outstanding employee engagement; 86% of employees had great things to say about their employers compared with the norm (65%). At 72%, they also had 20% fewer people than the norm thinking about leaving.

How did they do it? According to Aon Hewitt partner Stephen Hickey, 'the key is to communicate clearly and constantly through times of change and to understand the drivers of engagement within each segment of the workforce'.

2. They had committed leadership that communicated openly and honestly, were visible and acccessible, excited employees about the future, provided clear future direction and made good business decisions. In other words, they were people staff could trust and respect.

3. They had a positive performance culture that supported employee training and development, set clear expectations, and rewarded results.

4. They has a differentiated employer brand - a good reputation within and outside of the organisation.

To read more about this year's winners see

This all sounds a lot like the research on customer service excellence to me; company culture remains the best indicator of customer service excellence within any company.

Younger people now are entering adulthood with an expectation of collaboration at work for common goals; clearly this can be harnessed in modern workplaces and is the very heart and soul of employee engagement as we know it now.

Things were not always like this. Let me take you to darker times briefly, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. As a working student I recall visiting a friend's family business. It was a book printing company. There his father was yelling across the factory floor at an employee who had made a mistake. There was a book binding glue machine spewing hot glue fumes into the air above us. 

WHS laws now aside on both counts, the problem with this scene for me was that the owner had a business model of direct supervision. To keep things going right he had to be there all the time. With a culture of engagement potentially everyone is watching and intervening if something is wrong, not just you!

A footnote on the fumes. I asked my friend why they didn't duct them out through the roof as surely it was a health hazard. To his credit, when I returned a few months later he had done just that.