Employee engagement – the evidence

Today is a key date in the calendars of internal communications professionals and for anyone interested in or working on employee engagement. From now you have access to a fantastic wealth of information and data to equip you to have informed conversations about employee engagement within your organisation.

I’m going to highlight some of this information including the launch of research called Employee engagement – the evidence, and point you towards places where you can discover more. This is all part of Engage for Success, an independent, voluntary group of leaders, managers, trade unionists, engagement practitioners and experts who are backing the importance of employee engagement.

The group is a movement committed to the idea that there is a better way to enable personal growth, organisational growth and ultimately growth for Britain by releasing more of the capability and potential of people at work.

Engage for Success
It was first launched by the Prime Minister in March 2011 and today’s evidence launch is a key milestone. The Engage for Success movement builds upon the publication of ‘Engaging for Success’, a report to Government in 2009 (also known as ‘the MacLeod report’).

In 2010, the Coalition Government asked the authors, David MacLeod and Nita Clarke, to further spread the ideas in their report by ensuring a wider national awareness of and results from the importance of engagement. I’ve written about the movement and MacLeod report numerous times on my blog and have the privilege of being part of the Guru group.

You may have noticed communications professionals on Twitter have been adding the Engage for Success twibbon to their avatars (pictures) to show their support for the initiative. If you would like to show your support in this way, you can do so here and can follow on Twitter @engage4success, the hashtag #e4s, via Facebook or LinkedIn.

I’ve heard David and Nita speak a number of times at events for internal communications professionals, including last week at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Internal Communications conference in London.

What’s launching today
A report entitled ‘Employee Engagement – the Evidence’ is being presented today. It has been written by Professor Bruce Rayton from the University of Bath School of Management, Marks & Spencer and the Engage for Success ‘Nailing the Evidence’ sub group.

It provides an indisputable link between employee engagement and bottom line business performance. Many people leaders have, until now, doubted the relevance of the topic, especially in a low growth economy. However now is the time to take action and this information should equip you as internal communications professionals to have those conversations. You can read some of the analysis below.

Call to action from senior leaders
CEOs from across the nation are meeting today and calling on the UK to deliver £26bn GDP growth by better engaging employees at work. There is a large group of sponsors (pictured) involved with the initiative.

The UK is missing out on the full capability of 20 million workers because they are not actively engaged with their jobs and their employers, and two thirds of UK workers surveyed feel they have “more to offer” at work.

Today, Monday 12 November, leaders from some of the UK’s most recognisable private, public and third sector organisations are calling for every leader and manager across the economy to play their part in tackling the UK’s employee engagement deficit. It is estimated to result in the UK missing out on some £26bn in productivity each year (Kenexa, 2011).

They are meeting at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in London this morning to launch the latest evidence about the effectiveness of employee engagement, presented by the nationwide Engage for Success Task Force.

Analysis of the evidence launching today shows that:

  • Only around a third of UK employees say they are actively engaged at work, placing the UK ninth in engagement levels among the world’s twelve largest economies (Kenexa, 2009) (1). This represents some 20 million workers who are not delivering their full capability or realising their potential at work
  • In a Populus survey (2012), 64% of people said they have more to offer in skills and talent than they are currently demonstrating or being asked to demonstrate at work (2)
  • ONS data reveals that on an output per worker basis, UK productivity was 20 percentage points lower than the rest of the G7 in 2011 (3)
  • Even in turbulent economic times, organisations with high engagement levels outperformed the total stock market index and posted total shareholder returns that were higher than average in 2010 (4)

Commenting on the launch, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Engage for Success is a movement that I helped launch last year to get UK workers more involved in the decision making of their companies and feel more passionate about their work. This meeting of leading companies and the publication of new evidence is an important step in achieving this and helping Britain to compete in the global race. With only a third of UK workers saying they feel engaged, I encourage all companies to get involved in this important initiative.”

Access to information
A new national website is now live: www.engageforsuccess.org which is full of case studies, tools and techniques on how to better engage employees. It is a free to use national resource which will help leaders and managers take practical action to engage their people. There is also a video for practitioners to use and you can watch it below.

David MacLeod and Nita Clarke, Co-Chairs of the Task Force said: “As the UK faces up to the challenges of recession and global competition, improving productivity and performance among the UK workforce has to be a national priority and central to our country’s growth agenda.

“Leaders at today’s launch understand the importance of employee engagement to the success of their organisations, now and in the future.  Engagement is also vital for individual employees’ wellbeing. With such clear evidence about why engagement matters – for individuals, for organisations and for UK plc – there is a huge opportunity to be tapped. That is why our voluntary movement is launching a free for use website to help every organisation – big and small – engage with their employees better”.

What happens next?
A series of Engage for Success events will be taking place across the UK in the coming weeks and months, helping practitioners to share knowledge and to continue encouraging good practice on employee engagement. There’s an event in Buckinghamshire on 15 November, one in Preston on 20 November and a major event on 26 November at the QEII Conference Centre in London.

On 17 December there is a free conference in Kent and Hayley McGarvey of The Communications Lab will be attending and writing for Diary of an internal communicator. So if you’re not able to attend, you’ll be able to read what is discussed via my blog. Keep an eye on the new Engage for Success website for the latest news about upcoming events.

Want to know how to describe employee engagement? Watch the video here:


What do you think of the new resources? You’re welcome to comment below, tweet @engage4success or comment via any of the Engage for Success pages listed above. I welcome this information and hope you find it as useful as I know I will. Congratulations to everyone involved, Rachel.

Post author: Rachel Miller

(1) As published in Wiley, J, W., Herman, A., Kowske, B. (2012) ‘Developing and Validating a Global Model of Employee Engagement,’ in Handbook of Employee Engagement: Perspectives, Issues, Research and Practice, ed. S.L. Albrecht, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited

(2) Populus survey of 2,049 GB adults, online, between 26- 28 October 2012, of whom 1,111 were employed either full or part time.

(3) Office for National Statistics, ‘International Comparisons of Productivity, First Estimates for 2011’ (2012)

(4) Aon Hewitt study, 2o1o: Global employee engagement trends


  1. This is a fantastic initiative and I look forward to seeing the impact. Engagement is all about helping people produce good results. The UK is taking a leadership position on this, but it’s a global issue. Here’s a link to a blog I wrote recently about how one global company improved their bottom line by $100M through employee engagement — http://www.csi-international-inc.com/experience-exchange-blog/employee-engagement-unearths-huge-gains-at-caterpillar.html — Peter Psichogios

  2. Didn’t get a chance to leave a note on this last week as it was just crazy day but wanted to say a huge thank you for being on of the first to blog about us!!

    Your spreading the word, and general all round support on social media very much appreciated.


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