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On March 6, Russell Grossman ABC gave IABC Victoria members and friends a powerful case for employee engagement… and a wealth of knowledge about how to achieve it.

Don’t you love it when the stars all line up?

Over the last few months, Peter Harris AO, the Chairman of Australia’s Productivity Commission, has been talking about the importance of productivity – labour productivity in particular – to our future.

His analysis shows that Australia needs to dramatically improve its labour productivity if we are to maintain the economic growth we have enjoyed (on average) over the last 50 years.

This is a scary message, because economic growth is critical to our prosperity and quality of life. Having said that though, what does this productivity challenge have to do with communications?

Everything, as it turns out.

On March 6, Russell Grossman ABC, the Director of Communications at the UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills, showed IABC Victoria members an equally compelling case for employee engagement. He showed that employee engagement is a very significant driver of productivity in the workplace, and he backed it up with evidence.

Have a look at the infographic below and you'll see what Russell means.


Engage For Success

Some of this data comes from a major study commissioned by the UK Government in 2011. The Government wanted to understand if there was a link running from engagement to growth to productivity. The study responded with an unambiguous “yes”. It found that engaged organisations have:

  • Better financial performance.
  • Better outcomes.
  • Higher levels of innovation.
  • More employees advocating their organisation.
  • Lower rates of absenteeism.
  • Employee well-being.

Not surprisingly, the study also found that engagement was critical to getting through the UK recession.

Sadly, however, only a third of UK workers say they are engaged. This puts the UK ninth in engagement levels among the world’s 12 largest economies (interestingly, one place behind Australia, which ranks a not-so-impressive eighth).

This study has given birth to a major new movement in the UK – Engage For Success. The movement, of which Russell is a Director, is striving to make employee engagement a priority in all organisations. It is also providing (free of charge) an exceptional range of tools and advice to help those organisations achieve engagement.

In the two or so years since its creation, Engage For Success has been enormously successful in raising the profile of employee engagement and the competencies of organisations practicing it. So much so, that the organisations participating in Engage For Success now represent over 2 million employees.


Engaging for Success

Traditionally the responsibility of human resource professionals, many organisations now realise that engagment stems from a strong partnership between internal communications and human resources. According to Russell, there are four key enablers that underpin employee engagement. Russell’s presentation, which is included below, provides some great insights into each:

There is a strategic narrative:

  • Strong, visible, empowering leadership provides a strong strategic narrative about the organisation, where it’s come from and where it’s going.

There are engaging managers who:

  • Focus their people, offer scope and enable the job to get done.
  • Treat their people as individuals.
  • Coach and stretch their people.

There is an employee voice throughout the organisation:

  • For reinforcing and challenging views; a voice that runs between functions & externally. In engaged organistions, employees are seen as a key asset – not the problem.

There is organisational integrity:

  •  The values on the wall are reflected in day to day behaviours.


Get engaged

In an environment where communicators are often asked to prove their value, Engage for Success provides a powerful point of proof: that employee engagement drives not only business growth, but positive economic and (by virtue) social outcomes as well.

So, if employee engagement is important to you, why not take these simple steps?

Read the Powerpoint presentation below.

Start spreading some of the proof points in the infographic on this page.

Have a read of the original study.

Explore the Engage for Success website. It’s full of information that can help you embed engagement as a powerful force in your organisation.



Some snaps from the night