18 June 2013 #Clarkslegal
Hiring and inspiring were the overriding themes at a high profile event hosted by Clarkslegal, Grant Thornton and Clydesdale in Henley. Addressing the capacity audience of Thames Valley business leaders was VIP speaker and ambassador for Clydesdale Bank Steve Cram MBE, whose key message was that in any field, sport or business, “you have to give people the environment for talent and ability to be nurtured and developed.”
Cram reflected on his journey from world champion athlete to Chairman of the English Institute of Sport to describe the significance of having not only Lottery support - “funding is important in any field to create a resource” - but also having a strategy for performance, highlighting that setting the objectives for London 2012 began two weeks after winning the bid to host the Olympics in 2005. He explained that because of this planning “we now have in place the systems and cultures in sport. Inspiration has to work in the right environment.”
The importance of inspiration was reinforced by local industry experts Monica Atwal of Clarkslegal, Caroline Harwood of Grant Thornton and Nick Tatchell of Towers Watson.
Nick Tatchell’s figures on employee engagement put the experiences of the UK workforce into perspective: “Personal success and organisational success are very close now more than ever and this is what engagement is all about. 22% of the workforce is not actively engaged and a further 17% are detached – they do their day to day job but are not engaged with your ambition for the organisation.”
He advised that successful employers “Invest creatively in people to make them feel like they are growing and developing” to create organisational cultures of sustainable engagement: “There are three components of sustainable engagement – enable, energise, engage. Its value can be measured as three times increase in operations margin, 6.5 days fewer absence per employee per annum and a 41% lower retention risk.”
Delivering a joint presentation, Monica Atwal and Caroline Harwood outlined the often overlooked integration of legal and tax implications when inspiring and incentivising a workforce.
Caroline Harwood proposed that the question all employers are asking themselves is how to put together a really effective incentive. She explained that “data shows us that engaged employees are twice as productive as those who are not engaged or are actively disengaged. The best performing companies have found out their staff also value being informed and consulted, told what’s going on, and encouraged to share ideas for improving efficiency or saving costs.”
However, Caroline reminded delegates to “make sure you offer what your employees actually want. A work force of 24 year olds is unlikely to value a generous life assurance package.” She highlighted though that companies need to take caution and thoroughly evaluate their incentives to ensure they have the desired impact: However you structure your incentives, tax takes a significant slice - so is the net amount enough to motivate them and if not what can we do?”
Monica Atwal echoed Caroline Harwood’s advice, providing three top tips for incentivising staff: “Motivate the right people to do the right things at the right time to achieve your business goals, minimise tax leakage to make your spend count and consult with and engage your employees.” She also discussed the significant new changes such as redundancies, settlement conversations, tribunal caps and fees and provided three recommendations for recruitment, to ensure the company is protected: “Structure the remuneration package well and make sure the contract is robust and consider new issues. For instance, you have to make sure your social media policy is up to the minute.”