Engagement vital for business transformation

EB Connect 2013: The key to transforming a business and achieving maximum success is to motivate and engage all employees with the organisation and its objectives, according to Kevin Gaskell, former managing director of Porsche and BMW.

Speaking in the opening keynote session ‘Turbulence and recession: the perfect opportunity’ at Employee Benefits Connect on 1 March, Gaskell said “If leaders can’t engage people, they are going to go nowhere. The key to engaging people is to engage them with where [the business] is going. Our job [as leaders] is to achieve exceptional performance with ordinary people. [And] we are all ordinary people.”

This means ensuring that employees are made fully aware of the long-term vision for the organisation, what is required for it to achieve this and the role they will play in the process.

“I have never met anybody who doesn’t want to do a good job,” said Gaskell.

However, he added that people may not reach their full potential if they do not know what is expected of them.

Encouraging employees to have, and share, ideas for the organisation is a key way of engaging them with business strategy. Gaskell explained that in organisations with which he works, he has established an ideas wall in the centre of the workplace, where staff are encouraged to post their ideas for all to see. Management meetings are then regularly held in front of this, during which employees are called upon to discuss their ideas.

If ideas cannot be used at a particular time, they are filed and revisited six months later to review whether they can now be implemented.

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Gaskell explained that this encourages employees to think creatively about where they would take the business and what they would do differently, which is vital for business success.

“When this is in the middle of the office, everyone walks past it,” he said. “Staff and suppliers [become] engaged. There is nothing to hide. ”