Engaged people want to give their best to their firm, know its purpose and their role in delivering that purpose, according to Ben Willmott Head of Public Policy at CIPD, speaking at the July 2019 FWL Roundtable. There is a strong correlation between engaged people and performance based on numerous case studies. Engagement in turn leads to increased satisfaction, sales and productivity. It also helps people cope with stress, conflict etc. There are two types of engagement:

  • Transactional engagement – focused on personal reward, career etc
  • Emotional engagement – feeling positive about both self and firm. This is the most important type.

While there are no hard and fast drivers behind employee engagement, people strategy underpins engagement and must be aligned with business strategy. Good people practices have four enablers:

  • Clarity over purpose and contribution;
  • Organisational integrity and values are reflected in behaviours;
  • People feel that their views matter and are considered in a sensible timescale;
  • People are engaged in a way that makes them feel positive.

What does good line management look like? Which behaviours will help your people go the extra mile for the firm? The CIPD competency framework for line managers has five elements:

  • Being open, fair and consistent;
  • Handling conflicts through early interventions in a transparent process;
  • Knowing your people and showing empathy;
  • Developing sustainable relationships based on trust;
  • Supporting development – career aspirations.

Tracking can be tricky for the people agenda as it requires a mix of metrics. New pulse tools can be useful but are not bullet proof. Busy practice group leaders are often poor at taking advice on their management style or respond that they are too busy (resolving people problems!). Focus on ways that good management practices will make their job easier as well as increase client satisfaction through the firm deploying a more engaged team of advisers.

Ben concluded that engagement is best seen as a continual process of marginal gains. Build trust and help people be the best. He encouraged participants to read two reports from ‘Engage for Success’ (now part of CIPD):