Electricity firm Npower regularly checks its workforce’s engagement pulse with surveys and focus groups. The utility firm surveys the entire company once every two years and polls sample groups every quarter. Jon Cowell, head of learning and development, says: "Questions are a mix of standard items to track engagement, mainly to do with advocacy, pride and intentions. Some of the questions we ask are: ‘Would you recommend Npower’s products?’, ‘Would you recommend Npower as an employer?’ and ‘Are you proud to work here?’."
All 12,000 employees are eligible to join a defined benefit or defined contribution pension scheme, depending on their role. Other key benefits include private medical insurance, access to a sharesave scheme, on-site gyms, an employee assistance programme and childcare vouchers.
Cowell admits that conducting the research isn’t always plain sailing. "Some of the challenges are about encouraging people to invest the time and getting senior managers to act on the findings. Operationally, maintaining good quality data about [everyone within] the organisation has been a bit of a bug-bear." It is also vital that the company takes action once the survey is complete. "In our 2005 survey responses, one site showed dissatisfaction with the working environment. We spent nearly £500,000 sorting these things out," adds Cowell.