Saturday, 17 March 2012

Great Placers: engaging and empowering staff

At Wolverhampton Homes, we recognise that highly engaged business are high performing businesses which will delight their customers.
With that in mind, we are improving employee engagement so that we can give our customers an even better service. One of the ways we're improving employee engagement is by inviting staff to become 'Great Placers'.
Great Placers share ideas, promote engagement messages and become even more involved in running the business. They listen to their colleagues, suggest improvements to the way things are done and lead engagement for their teams.
We're aiming to recruit 100 Great Placers out of a workforce of 705; so far we've got 71.  We've set up an online network using Ning where staff can share best practice and learn from each other. Every Friday they receive an email updating them on engagement news. The network has useful links to posts about employee engagement, photos of things that have worked well and advice from colleagues about ideas to try.
(Ning is a make-your-own-social-network platform. For a tiny subscription fee, the network can be closed to invitees only.)
We know our staff are very busy and work incredibly hard, and they haven't got time to take on something extra, so we wanted to make it possible to be a Great Placer without it adding to their workload. Instead it's about doing things differently and learning from others quickly and easily.
The rationale behind Great Placers is that we know if engagement is owned by HR or Comms, it won't be as effective as if it is owned by managers and staff themselves. When staff take responsibility for suggesting and trying new ideas and better ways of working, it can only benefit the business and our customers.
The Great Placers network has only been going for a month but already we're seeing staff using it regularly and effectively, and feeling a sense of pride when what has worked in their teams is shared in the rest of the business.
What ideas are you trying to engage staff?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kate
    This is a fantastic idea. We have a cross-sector Community Engagement Network in Dudley, and offer training sessions on empowering approaches to engagement ( We did try to identify people in different organisations who could be key contacts in relation to engagement, but this never really developed as we hoped. Your description of Great Placers sounds fantastic, and I love idea of the weekly email on engagement news. I'd love to know a little more about Great Placers, such as how you recruited/identified the 71 you have so far, and whether they needed to demonstrate any particular attitudes, skills or knowledge to become a Great Placer. With permission, I'd love to share the idea in Dudley, so that we could perhaps develop our own version.