Business leaders today highlighted how an engaged workforce means increased productivity, innovation and competitiveness – as the Government launched new guidance to help bosses engage their employees.

Leaders from the public and private sector have contributed to the package of advice developed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to help employers put the principles of employee engagement into practice – and improve business performance as a result. They include:

· Justin King, Chief Executive of Sainsbury’s, who said, “Our colleagues are key to the success of our business. Employee engagement is about making sure that the 150,000 people we have working at Sainsbury’s understand what it is we are trying to achieve for our customers and why we are trying to achieve it.”

· Philip Green, Chief Executive of United Utilities, comments, “Employee engagement is one of the key drivers of the success of any business. I can’t imagine having high levels of customer or shareholder satisfaction without high levels of engagement.”

· Richard Lambert, Director General, CBI, says, “One of the things that has become really clear in this past recession is that employee engagement and trust between employer and employee has made it easier for people to come through the tough times in better shape.”

· Representing the Civil Service, Sir Gus O’Donnell comments, “The more engaged our workforce the more likely employees are to be thinking about creative, innovative ways of helping people who need it the most.”

The new guidance – published on – is designed to help employers reap the benefits of effective engagement. These include greater productivity, higher levels of innovation and lower rates of sickness and absence. The guidance has been developed with input from a range of business leaders, employers and employee engagement practitioners and follows the publication of the independent report to Government last year , ‘Engaging for Success’, co-authored by David MacLeod and Nita Clarke.

Employment Relations Minister Lord Young said:

“Engaging for Success showed how a more considered approach to employee engagement can improve the performance and competitiveness of both individual businesses and the UK economy as a whole.

“With the help of the new guidance on the website, we hope even more employers will take the simple steps that can make a real difference – to their employees’ job satisfaction and commitment, and the bottom-line of the business.”

David MacLeod, employee engagement adviser to BIS, said:

“The body of research on engagement is compelling. It shows how engaged employees are far more committed and productive than disengaged ones. With the country emerging from one of the toughest economic periods in living history, it is now more important than ever that organisations realise the full potential of their people.”

The package of material on contains:

· five guides, containing practical ideas on how to address the key enablers of employee engagement, as identified in ‘Engaging for Success’;

· written and video case studies on exemplars of good practice on each of these areas;

· downloadable tools and templates that employers can use to put principles into practice; and

· video testimonies from business leaders on the benefits of employee engagement.

Employee Engagement Summit 2010