AB Thinks  →  4th October 2019

Engage for success – four tips from Nita Clarke

In the second episode of season 2 of The Internal Comms Podcast Katie meets Nita Clarke, who was awarded an OBE for services to internal comms.

With Nita’s history, working with Number 10 on employee engagement and as a leading figure in the UK’s trade union movement, this was bound to be a fascinating chat and it doesn’t disappoint.

Katie and Nita discuss the report she co-authored: Engaging for Success, which became the seminal study into employee engagement and helped spark an entire movement – Engage for Success.

Here are just four highlights from the show.

#1 IC is critical for the strategic narrative
“What’s the story of the organisation, where’s it come from, where is it now and, critically, where is it going? That gives a line of sight between what I’m doing, and it really doesn’t matter if I’m somebody who’s just joined, a junior in the organisation, or if I’m doing work like cleaning and support work, that sense of belonging is incredibly important. Organisations ignore that at their peril. I think that so many organisations take it for granted. It’s very interesting.”

#2 What’s your story
“It’s really important that people understand the purpose of an organisation and feel an affinity to it and understand ‘what can I do as part of the purpose for the organisation?’

“Too many organisations take that for granted or the leadership don’t actually have a story. If your only story is shareholder value… Nobody ever got out of bed in the morning to increase shareholder value.”

#3 Listen
“If you are not listening to your employees, you are missing a whole dynamic.

“One of the arguments for thinking about how we listen to employee voice is that actually employees are the canary in the coalmine. Because if you really create an environment and a culture where they tell you what’s going on, you will know the reality about what’s happening in your organisation and you can do something about it.”

#4 Live your values
“Are the values on the wall reflected in day-to-day behaviours? We can all have values, but, at the end of the day, it’s what we do, how we behave. Do we fulfil those values? Do they match? Are they a mirror image? Because if the value says ‘we treat everybody with respect’ … but actually everybody knows there’s a culture of bullying and harassment, then that means there is no trust. A lack of trust is the most corrosive thing in an organisation, and you don’t get employee engagement without building trust.”