Most Loved Workplaces Solve the UK Engagement Problem
The UK has an engagement problem. The country has the lowest engagement statistics in Europe and struggles to increase the numbers. A recent Gallup survey revealed that only 10% felt engaged at their workplace despite 60% claiming they were ‘thriving in life.’ While this data presents a reassuring picture of their overall well-being, it raises a red flag about employee engagement. Engagement, however, is not the problem. The UK has been focusing on the wrong problem. The problem is sentiment – how employees feel about their companies. Our research shows that employee sentiment is the #1 predictor of employee performance, retention, and active excitement and motivation at work.. So, we’ve set out to discover the UK companies who are reversing this problem the right way through love, respect, and caring for their employees.
Unfortunately, the information suggests that employees feel less involved and happy at their workplaces. It may not affect their personal life, but it presents a grim picture of their total productivity.
Thankfully, the UK workplaces we have found aren’t staying still. Several are already learning and working on ways to re-engage their employees to boost their contribution.
The Most Loved Workplace Model and Employee Engagement
The good news is that UK employers are exploring ways to motivate their employees to become more involved within the organization. One of the most successful methods is implementing the Most Loved Workplace Model, which has proven effective for other organizations.
Most Loved Workplace Model
The Most Loved Workplace Model has a unique approach to getting employees more involved. It believes in taking measures to enhance employee love for the organization to boost their productivity. And they have good reason to follow this approach.
In a survey, 94% of the respondents revealed that they are 2-4 times more likely to be productive in a workplace they love. Incidentally, several organizations are surprised when we reveal which aspects make employees’ love’ their workplace.
Another survey revealed that 78% loved a workplace where they felt value and respect from their colleagues and senior management. Meanwhile, 76% loved working at an organization that followed the same values and ethics as them.
Only 28% said they would feel love and loyalty for an organization’s benefits, while 24% mentioned compensation. This data is an eye-opener for leaders who focus only on monetary compensation to earn employee trust. It shows that engagement and loyalty are more complicated and require more work.
Following are some of the primary considerations for this model:
- Ethical Alignment
According to research, organizations need to focus on these elements to enhance the emotional connection with employees.
Examples of Organizations With High Employee Sentiment/Love of Workplace
Some organizations have successfully cracked the code and have leveraged the Most Loved Workplace Model to improve employee engagement.
Virgin Atlantic (#1 on our list)
Virgin is determined to live the Richard Branson legacy – take care of people who will take care of customers. And the connection to the purpose has never been stronger. All employees feel empowered to make decisions that will help their careers and, thus, customers. For example, a Virgin Atlantic employee, Patrice Gordon, wanted to start a reverse mentoring program. The first reverse mentor was the former CEO of Virgin Atlantic, Craig Kreeger. Now all senior leaders have a reverse mentor to learn about and get visibility into topics they wouldn’t have seen or comfortable with – like disabilities education and awareness. Patrice then set up the steering group about “Be Yourself.” She eventually wrote a book, “Reverse Mentoring: Removing Barriers and Building Belonging in the Workplace,” and was nominated as a leading Black executive. She made it happen independently and was massively successful while also bringing about change for others around disabilities awareness and education.
Virgin offers the Springboard program (described in more detail below) to allow employees to grow and develop regardless of limitations. *Richard Branson has identified his superpower of dyslexia and is an advocate for helping all people with disabilities to springboard themselves and their lives.
Selfridges (#10 on our list)
Selfridges was determined to turn things around when they launched ‘Project-Earth,’ their step towards sustainability. The company has gone on to foster a culture of inclusivity and created opportunities for self-development. They also encourage creativity and sustainability at all levels and reinforce a community mindset for everyone.
ManyPets (#2 on our list)
ManyPets used the model further to enhance their open communication and transparency culture. According to a spokesperson, they believe in empowering their employees through a ‘making work, work approach.’
Most of their employees work remotely, so the company has taken extra lengths to provide tools that enable a seamless work experience. The company values transparency, inclusivity, and sustainability and organizes meetings to collectively review company performance, discuss ideas, and propose changes.
PerkinElmer (#8 on our list)
PerkinElmer reminds employees that their actions, big or small, consistently contribute to the organization’s future. The company deeply values the power of collaboration and has created an efficient structure that facilitates knowledge sharing, strategic thinking, and collective brainstorming.
For the UK, they broke down each function into parts and developed a strategic direction to bring everyone on the same page and ease cross-functional communication.
Case Analysis: Virgin Atlantic’s Springboard Program*
The above cases make it evident that implementing elements of the Most Loved Workplace® Model facilitates employee engagement. However, the Springboard Program case is one of the best examples of how well these two elements are connected.
The Virgin Atlantic Springboard program was designed for female employees to help them integrate into the workplace while being mindful of their limitations. Carol, an IT team member, was one of the participants who entered the program while she was in a junior position in her career with ten other women.
Carol had a son with a disability and often struggled to balance her personal and professional life, which led to her application. The program helped Carol foster better connections, create a strong bond with her colleagues, and feel a special connection with her workplace.
She is now in a senior management role and acts as a mentor to junior colleagues. Her son, Callan, inspires her to explore her potential, and he is immensely proud of her achievements.
Virgin Atlantic’s Springboard program is comprehensive and works across all divisions of an organization. The following are the primary elements of the program:
- Any Female Employee can Apply – The program application has no function-related restrictions. Female employees from all functions are welcome and granted equal significance.
- Tools and Practices – The program arranges guest speaker sessions where speakers are candid about their journey, mistakes, and learning. It allows employees to accept that they still have a chance to achieve their goals.
- Competence Building – The trainers discuss the mom’s guilt and the feeling of being responsible for everyone. This part also facilitates intermingling, allowing women to create connections with people they may not otherwise meet.
- Sessions – The program is divided into two sessions and graduation. The first session is face-to-face, while the second is virtual.
- Sponsorship – Program attendees can connect with guest speakers (senior leaders) for talent reviews, feedback, and advisory. The purpose is to allow people to learn from the best and work for progression.
Employee love of the workplace is critical to performance, retention, and a stronger global economy, and implementing the Most Loved Workplace model can help organizations enhance it. The correct structure and planning can create lasting bonds with the employees, increasing productivity and overall motivation to stay with the organization.
Louis Carter is the founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute, Most Loved Workplace, and Results-Based Culture. Author of In Great Company, Change Champions Field Guide, and Best Practices in Talent Management, as well as a series of Leadership Development books. He is a trusted strategic advisor and coach to CEOs, CHROs, and leaders of mid-sized to F500 companies – enabling change and steering employer brand development together with highly effective teams, leaders, and organizations as a whole.