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It has been over four years since Engage for Success – the voluntary movement committed to the belief that employee engagement is a better way to work – published David MacLeod and Nita Clarke’s white paper ‘Engaging for Success’. The paper set out evidence for a link between employee engagement and wellbeing, and the consequential impact on individual and organisational performance.

“Employee engagement is based on trust, integrity, two way commitment and communication between an organisation and its members. It is an approach that increases the chances of business success, contributing to organisational and individual performance, productivity and well-being. It can be measured. It varies from poor to great. It can be nurtured and dramatically increased; it can be lost and thrown away.”

Engage for Success

With labour shortages at an all time high, and wellbeing featuring on many a HR agenda, it is worth returning to the principles laid out in the paper.

Eight key drivers of employee engagement and wellbeing

The paper talked about the different drivers of employee engagement and wellbeing. Essentially categorised into eight themes, there are four themes for employee engagement and four themes for employee wellbeing.

These four enablers of engagement have proved to be useful lenses which can help organisations assess the effectiveness of their approaches:

  • A strong strategic narrative about the organisation provided by visible, empowering leadership – telling the story of where the organisation has come from and where it is going;
  • Engaging managers who focus their people, treat them as individuals and coach and stretch them;
  • Employee voice throughout the organisation, for reinforcing and challenging views, between functions and externally, and seeing employees as central to the solution; and
  • Organisational integrity – the values on the wall are reflected in the day to day behaviours. There is no ‘say – do’ gap.

The four drivers of employee wellbeing:

  • Provide support and enable good relationships;
  • Ensure jobs and the work environment are well-designed;
  • Enable autonomy and control; and
  • Help employees find meaning and purpose at work.

Despite four years having passed, these drivers remain key to successful employee engagement. The eight drivers of employee engagement and wellbeing remain the type of rewards people often say that they value the most, i.e. intangible, intrinsic rewards.

This highlights the importance of taking an holistic, strategic approach to reward that not only considers the tangible rewards such as pay and benefits, but also considers the intangible rewards such employee voice and autonomy. In doing so, organisations can not only attract and retain the people they need to succeed in these challenging times, but they can also drive higher levels of performance through engagement and wellbeing of their existing employees.

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