It’s been a privilege to have been selected as a judge for what are undoubtedly the premier awards in HR. I was fortunate to find myself, once again, in the company of so many inspiring figures from the CIPD, People Management magazine, and the HR profession, many of whom I have worked with, or exchanged ideas with, in recent years as a Global HRD. The CIPD received a record number of entries this year, all showcasing leading-edge innovation in thinking and practice. Having been an HR practitioner and leader for over 20 years, and now advising companies on Engagement, Culture and Leadership development, it made sense that I would judge the category for “Best Employee Engagement Initiative”.
The best Employee Engagement projects – those from British Gas, The Dorchester Collection, Jaguar Land Rover, Nationwide Building Society and Talent and Potential – demonstrated the extent to which engagement has been repositioned as a business-wide concern and remit, rather than that of HR alone. It is a welcome change, and the most forward-thinking companies, who are fully on board with the engagement imperative and are implementing ground-breaking initiatives, are seeing this reflected in organisational performance and their bottom line. At a time when HR and mainstream business media is dominated by stories highlighting the extent of disenagagement, presententeeism or absenteeism, it strikes me that these short-listed companies are finding a ways of proving that this does not have to be the case.
Congratulations to RHP, Overall Winners
RHP, a housing association with a 10k+ property portfolio, have been on a 5 year trajectory to build an amazing workplace culture. This work has been fully recognised as RHP were worthy winners of both the “Best Employee Engagement Initiative” as well as scooping the top accolade as Overall Winners of the CIPD Awards 2015. The way in which their engagement work took into account multiple stakeholders – staff, customers and investors – was truly impressive. Processes which no longer added value were removed; positive service behaviours were enhanced; and staff were empowered to solve issues themselves. Amina Graham, RHP’s Executive Director of Corporate Services, says “Over the last 5 years, a focus on engagement has created highly engaged employees as well as highly satisfied customers. Customer satisfaction has risen from 88% to 97%; and employee engagement has reached 96%.” As a result of all their work and focus, RHP is able to commit to building 500 more affordable homes by 2018.
Judging these Awards, and also the 2015 EE Awards for Employee Engagement, has offered me further insight into what good really looks like, industry-wide, where Engagement is concerned. It also makes it increasingly clear to me that it is possible for many other companies to learn from these best-in-class strategies to achieve a step-change in their own performance.