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Why engaging employees is a ‘business driver’

Whether it’s a shift in ownership or management, the introduction of new technology or a change in our individual responsibilities, the businesses that make up our lives are constantly evolving.

But how, and why, should companies communicate this change with their own people?

“We fundamentally believe that engaged employees are better employees,” says Scott McKenzie, the director of Lansons’ Change and Employee Engagement practice.

“If work is meaningful and people come into work because they really care about what they’re doing, they’re more likely to be productive. And if they’re more productive, clearly that adds to the bottom line.”

For the leaders of Britain’s companies and organisations, engaging their employees is a “real business driver”, Scott argues.

The past few years have been particularly volatile in the wake of the economic downturn. Companies across the country have faced the prospect of re-organisation, restructuring and redundancies.

Against this difficult environment, effective employee engagement has helped people understand what exactly the changes mean for them and the wider workplace, Scott says.

But now companies are positioning for growth.

“The economy is improving,” Scott says. “Companies are looking at things like innovation, they’re looking to rally their workforce around a new set of challenges rather than the cost-cutting and efficiency challenges that we’ve seen.”

So, how does Scott’s practice advise on employee engagement?

He describes his team’s approach as “our ‘i’ methodology”, a five-step programme that encourages companies to seek insight from stakeholders and other relevant groups; to innovate by developing overarching, creative ideas to which people can relate; to initiate those ideas by mobilising leaders and influencers; to implement the new messaging and communications and to integrate the entire programme into the fabric of the business.

“We’re consistently being asked to do the first ‘insight’ phase,” Scott says.

“We’re currently involved in a big comms audit for a well-known insurance company, for example. We’re being asked to really understand how the organisation ticks and what the challenges are from a communications point of view, and then come back with a programme of activity, including some big ideas…that can be embedded into the organisation.”

Film and video content also plays a major part in many of the programmes Scott advises on.

“Film really cuts across boundaries,” he says.

“If you look at some of the challenges we face on a day-to-day basis, you’re looking at often geographically dispersed workforces, whether it’s within the UK or further afield, and not everybody is sitting at a desk, but the ubiquity of mobile smart phone access means that organisations can use film to get their point across.

“You can’t have a leader going to visit 50,000 employees,” he adds. “So using film to engage people, to get them to understand what the organisation is trying to achieve, to get them to understand what the people at the top really think and feel, I think is incredibly important.”

And for those companies that believe that effective employee engagement is a non-essential luxury, Scott’s message is clear.

“Imagine a workforce that’s not engaged – what’s that likely to engender?” he says.

“It’s likely to engender confusion, duplication of effort and inefficiency. I don’t think that’s what employees want. It’s certainly not what leaders want. To my mind it’s a real business imperative that you engage employees.”

Jon Cronin is a former BBC TV and radio journalist and Head of Lansons Live. For more information about our film and content services, please contact Jon atjonc@lansons.com or the team at LansonsLive@Lansons.com

Scott McKenzie is Director of Change and Employee Engagement at Lansons. He has 20 years’ experience managing complex and high profile change and employee engagement programmes. For more information contact Scott atScottM@Lansons.com

View the film below: