22 August 2019

5 quick-fire tips on engaging employees with UK Power Networks

We recently headed to London to chat with one of our fantastic clients, UK Power Networks, all about the great work they're doing for employee engagement.

Alex Sturge, Head of Communications, Engagement and Leadership Development, gave us an extensive and insightful run down on the variety of engagement programmes and campaigns they have in place to ensure all of their workforce, from those in the office to those out on the road, feel involved and valued in their organisation. 

If you’d like to read the full interview, check it out here. Busy schedule? Read on for our key 5 highlights. 

 

Get buy-in from the CEO and leadership 

Alex’s view: “Engagement is really the thing that keeps me most busy. It’s all-encompassing and there are many strands to it. It’s driven by the CEO. He really believes in employee engagement as a driver to performance…

It becomes hard without the CEO’s genuine belief that people are important. And they have to believe in it enough to get out to do stuff. Our CEO does 25 visits a year to the four corners of our patch, covering thousands of miles. We do these visits to talk to employees; we don’t tack them onto something else, we make employee engagement the reason we’re going. And we have valuable and important debate with them.”

 

Listen to your people and base engagement on what they say

Alex’s view: “Our engagement survey drives a lot of our key messaging; we listen to what employees are saying we could do better at and then we launch campaigns based on that. Our Green Action Plan around renewable energy, electric vehicles, use of plastics is something that has come up a lot with employees…

The key with all of this is to base campaigns on fact. Before you start an engagement programme, make the link between what you plan on doing and the employee asking for it. Why are you doing it? Establish that up front.” 

 

Empower employees

Alex’s view: “Our community champions come up with 12 charity days a year and have the responsibility to decide what they want to do. They know what works where they are and are empowered to make that happen. Control is stifling and while you do need control and compliance, you also need to give people the chance to breathe and develop and show how they can contribute to the success of the business.” 

 

Recognise performance and celebrate everyone

Alex’s view: “We’ve launched a new recognition platform online, which is all about living our values. People can recognise each other for demonstrating that they live our values. It can be as simple as someone saying thank you. It’s helped with our remote workforce because they can access it online…

Each year since 2016 we’ve improved on our engagement score, and this also reflects success in other areas of the business, so I can quite confidently argue that engaged employees contribute to the great results that we’re seeing as an organisation.” 

 

When it comes to mental health, opening up conversations can be a great place to start

Alex’s view: “We’re a business that is predominantly male, 40-odd years old, with 20 plus years’ service; not the kind of group that traditionally tends to opens up around mental health. A huge challenge for us was to start that conversation…

We gave the CEO and directors an ‘ambassador session’ with Mental Health England. We wanted them to understand mental health, not to become experts, but to become ambassadors, believe in the importance of it and understand why we were embarking on this journey. Part of the taboo is, “I don’t want to look weak and I don’t want anyone to think differently of me”, but if you see that your CEO is behind it, it makes it more accessible and easier to open up to.”

 

So there we have it – 5 quick-fire tips on engagement from UK Power Networks. Sparked your interest? Here’s the full interview.

Looking for some help with your own employee engagement? Give us a shout

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