View from the Summit part 2 – Wayne Clarke, Best Companies
Following an introduction from Melcrum CEO and co-founder Victoria Mellor, keynote speaker Wayne Clarke from Best Companies Partnership LLP kicked-off the SCM Summit 2009 with an informative session exploring the links between employee engagement and internal communication.
First off, Wayne defined engagement in simple terms – “doing something because you want to, not because you have to” – a nice definition which captures in plain English the essence of engagement, discretionary effort. He then went on to underline the role of engagement and its value to businesses – showing how companies with high levels of engagement typically outperform the corporate norm.
Sharing new data based on a re-analysis of the Best Companies research from the past decade, Wayne explained how ‘quality dialogue’ could be identified as one of the key drivers of engagement, productivity and, ultimately, profitability.
Using the Best Companies model (purpose/principles/ambition/plan) as a framework, Wayne explored the role that internal communicators can play in enhancing employee engagement in each of the eight areas their research investigates (see below).
Tips included focusing on providing direction – clearly articulating the vision for the organisation; recognising and celebrating progress; helping leaders and managers listen and creating a conversation culture based on genuine openness and honesty.
He went on to discuss the Best Companies methodology – how it explores eight factors: leadership, my company, my manager, personal growth, my team, fair deal, giving something back and wellbeing. Check out the above link for the low down on each of these.
His session included lots of examples and secrets of success – like Amex, which has worked hard to equip managers with the right skills to unlock engagement, and Nando’s, which operates each of its outlets like a small family or cell. Like the Best Companies report itself, Wayne’s session provided an excellent insight into the art of employee engagement.
In summing up, he suggested that the key to building a high engagement workplace is ‘doing small things consistently well all the time’. It is not necessarily about big symbolic gestures – like having a well equipped free gym in the office – but is about having managers and leaders who show they care, who listen and respond to what they’re hearing.