Monday, 6 April 2009

Employee Engagement – MacLeod Review


      Continuing, and moving towards wrapping up my recent series of posts on employee engagement, here are my inputs to David MacLeod’s review of employee engagement*.


What is employee engagement?

One of my recent posts described engagement as a categorisation, or a bucket.  It will consist of a number of ‘outcomes’ describing the result of an organisation’s management on its people, moderated by the way each employee reacts to this type of management.  This will include things like retention, advocacy, pride etc.

Unfortunately, it seems MacLeod is mainly looking for key words, values or slogans, which I suspect won’t help provide any further clarity.


Why does it matter? (i.e. how robust is the evidence that correlates higher levels of employee engagement with organisational performance?)

Engagement has an important role as a key aspect of human capital, being informed by the way an organisation manages its people, and itself informing business results (ie changes in processes, customer satisfaction and financial results etc).  It therefore moves beyond seeing people as a resource to be used to support a business in meeting its objectives (although this is still included too), to a form of capital, which can help set new or more challenging business goals.

Few pieces of research are robust in themselves, but put them together and the argument is very compelling.


What does it look like and what enables it?

It looks different from organisation to organisation.  To some extent, each company needs to define engagement for itself, based upon what it sees as important, ie, what is it engaging its people to?

Obviously the activities which enable engagement are also dependent upon the way that engagement is defined.


Why does it not happen (i.e. what are the barriers to employee engagement)?

One of the problems is business leaders and HR leaders thinking that the approach I’ve described is too difficult (it’s not that difficult!), and settling for the definition given to them by their survey provider.


What should the review recommend should be done to enhance levels of engagement?

Read my posts! :



* The MacLeod review, announced in September 2008, is being conducted for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform by David MacLeod, working with Nita Clarke from the IPA.  Its purpose is to deal with the fact that only around 12% of the UK workforce can be considered as highly engaged by developing a better understanding of what drives some businesses to engage with their workforce more than others (especially in the current challenging economic circumstances) – in order that others can be urged to do the same.





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