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The MacLeod Review on employee engagement

Sep 01st

I read with interest the recent MacLeod Review by David Macleod and Nita Clarke, in essence a comprehensive review of employee engagement.  At its heart is a simple, clear message.  Employee engagement does make a difference to business performance.  There’s nothing new in that, but the real import of the review is the rallying cry it makes for a national awareness campaign. 

That provides a real test for Peter Mandelson’s Department for Business Innovation & Skills.  Can government show the imagination and skill to galvanise employers and leaders to put the lessons of this report to work?  For if employee engagement is a key driver of productivity, then surely this report should provide a core agenda for a department which has economic recovery and long term economic sustainability at its heart.

Of course, the subject is close to our hearts as consultants.  It embodies a philosophy that underpins much of our work.  It’s warming to see Birmingham City Council – the largest local authority in Europe – singled out as a case study.  This was based around benchmark work we did a couple of years ago in support of the team there.  It has since won numerous prizes for innovation and engagement excellence.

One of the lessons we take from our work is that employee engagement is not some sterile process to be achieved through complex plans and communications structures.  Rather it needs to be steeped in a context that people can truly engage with. The success in Birmingham was down to people believing in the strategy. Employee engagement for employee engagement’s sake doesn’t work.

Another key learning goes to the heart of leadership intent and attitude. Most people in the workplace have a deft sense of how authentic their leaders are and whether they are being genuinely involved in the running of the business.  It is only when that leadership authenticity underpins employee engagement that you reap the real dividends.

So, go and read the report. But most of all take its lessons to heart.  Do something in your workplace to help raise awareness of the importance of this subject.

This article is filed under: , leadership, strategy process

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