Workforce engagement

Engaging your workforce can create new business energy and improve organisational performance.

In a nutshell

By engaging your employees in decision-making, you are accessing real experience to improve processes, leading to increased efficiency, productivity and profitability.

What's the business benefit?

According to research organisation Gallup’s “Global Workplace” survey in 2014, the most engaged employees beat their less engaged co-workers hands down:

  • Productivity and profitability were up over 20%;
  • Absenteeism was down by 37%;
  • Safety incidents were reduced by almost 50%;
  • Staff turnover was reduced by 65%.

These global findings are echoed in the Scottish Government’s “Working Together” review (2014) which showed strong evidence on the benefits associated with progressive workplace policies. These included improved innovation, productivity, health and safety, sick leave levels and morale.

In addition to the benefits above, flexible and agile working policies have been shown to raise loyalty and motivation. They can have significant benefits on retention, decreased recruitment costs and a widened talent pool.

Why is this included in the Scottish Business Pledge?

Having an engaged workforce drives innovation, competitiveness and productivity – all necessary to improve Scotland’s overall economic performance.

Most employees within the UK feel they lack the opportunity to challenge themselves at work: to learn and solve problems. Working in an environment where they are encouraged to do so is motivational and empowering.

Under international human rights law, everybody is entitled to form and join trade unions that are able to operate freely, and to respect for private and family life.

The world of work is changing fast and the social demands and lives of millions of employees are changing with it. Creating an engaging workplace that supports employees and family life isn’t just the right thing to do, it is economically advantageous. Flexible working can help to deliver business success by enabling working families to have a good balance between work and family life.

Why is this good for Scotland?

Improved productivity is an engine of economic growth for Scotland. Making the most of workplace talents brings clear benefits to business, to workers, families and communities.

Creating employment where people feel useful and valued doesn’t just make economic sense. At a personal level too, work is an important factor in our idea of ourselves and generates confidence.  This connection between good work and well-being supports our social relationships and helps protect our physical and mental health.

What should I do now?

We recognise that arrangements for workforce engagement and development will vary from business to business, depending on size, sector and a range of other factors.

All you have to do is detail the effective, modern management systems and progressive policies you have in place. These may include:

  • employee engagement systems ensuring an effective voice for staff;
  • a robust ‘people plan’, developed with your employees for your business, directly linked to achieving your business objectives;
  • a progressive approach to using the skills in your workplace in the most effective ways;
  • systems or practices which support the health and well-being of your employees, or foster a family-friendly workplace, including policies such as flexible working or the Carer Positive initiative that provides free support and advice to employers who are seeking to implement carer-friendly policies;
  • Practices that empower employees to be involved in decision-making and innovative in their approach to work.

Other examples include:

What help is available if I can't make the commitment right now?

For advice on modern management style and developing a sustainable business plan for growth, speak to your local Business Gateway office. You can find details for its local offices on the Business Gateway website.

Investors in People Scotland – now called “Re-Markable” deliver advice and assessment which encourages employers to adopt and develop good practice in the way people are led, managed and developed.

Family Friendly Working Scotland supports employers to develop family friendly workplaces. For information about how your business can do this, visit Family Friendly Working Scotland or Working Families.

The SCER/Innovating Works research team at the University of Strathclyde have a strong track record in working with employers, and an online tool to assess innovative and transformative workplace practice  – the FITwork tool).