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We're going to need a bigger boat.

Classic quote from Jaws, but what does it mean?

It means the original impact of a situation has been glaringly under-estimated.

My boat topic today folks is employee experience and employee engagement, with a bit of Brexit thrown in for good measure.

HR has for years been talking about evidencing bang for buck, and value for money... so consider this:

40% of employee turnover happens in the first 6 months of employment.

Employee turnover is 40% lower in companies with strong levels of engagement (or 60% higher in companies with poor engagement if you prefer).

Top quartile engaged employees are 18% more productive.

Highly engaged employees take on average 2.7 sick days a year. Those with low engagement take 6.2.

etc. etc. etc.

We know stats can be used to tell any side of a story, and let me know if you want sources for the above, but the obvious truth is that employees who feel more engaged are likely to be happier at work, deliver better service, present a better impression of your business and will ultimately be less likely to leave, saving you the Great White headache of recruiting to replace. Wouldn't you rather recruit to grow?

"Tell me something new" I hear you tut...

Well, we've always had challenges with sourcing and keeping talent, granted, but with Big Fat Brexit coming down the tracks, we face a tightening labour market, and a 'challenging' International recruitment environment at best.

So what are we doing about it?

Jargon like Vision, Values, Employee Brand and Culture can be a real turn off when the nuts and bolts side of the business simply wants the schedule for the weekend filled, and looks to HR to fill the empty seats. Rightly so to be fair, but our job in HR is both to solve the immediate urgent problems while at the same time building a bigger boat for the future.

'Employee Experience' as a term is relatively fresh and in my view, it's where we should be concentrating our efforts. Call it Employee Brand, Brand Promise, Brand Culture, whatever you like really, but the bottom line is make sure you have simple clear plans in place to deliver what you say you will, in exactly the same way as you would to keep paying customers happy.

Treat employees as you would customers... They are all volunteers really, and could work elsewhere if they wanted to.

Hire nice people instead of trying to train people to be nice.

Reward the behaviours you want to see replicated, not just the tangible £££ results.


Those who deny the importance of Employee Engagement are modern day flat-earthers. Either their heads are in the sand, or they think the language surrounding it is all a bit flowery. Wheel out your Sunday-Best influencing skills because this is important.

X% of people said they are not engaged at work... I say 'X' because there are so many numbers available. Gallup last year said 70% of people are not engaged! Even if this is a shock number, and we halved it to make it more palatable, you'd get to around 35% of employees being dis-engaged at work.

Imagine 35% of your computers not working to capacity, 35% of your company vehicles spluttering along, or, look above you now and imagine 35% of your lights not working in the office.

Do you have a plan to mend 35% of your productivity?

The good news is that the solution to the puzzle of enlightenment isn't complex. It takes focus and effort, but the results and the benefits can be transformative.

Credit: B.Kliban

Higher engagement scores inevitably follow a better day to day employee experience. They correlate with higher well-being scores. Customer service scores improve, productivity and profitability improve, and the HR value-for-money pitch can be pretty straightforward on the back of this.

Highly engaged people are 61% more likely to share new ideas with customers

Want to carry on the conversation? Drop me a line and we can talk about building a bigger boat together.

As an Operator, a Marketeer and an HR professional with 25 years experience under my belt, a handful of Sunday Times Best Company trophies in the cupboard and a passion for authentic simplicity, I'll be happy to help.

Thanks for reading!