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Employee Engagement Taskforce announced

Marks and Spencer HR director Tanith Dodge had told HR Business Network that the newly launched Employee Engagement Taskforce aims to create a more productive workforce.

The HR director is also a network member, and spoke about the government’s announcement at Downing Street this week.

She will be part of the taskforce, and told this website: “Harnessing the full potential of employees will ensure businesses can emerge from recession stronger, more competitive and ready to drive forward the growth the UK needs

“The newly established Employee Engagement Taskforce will draw on best practice from a range of industries to provide employers with practical solutions to help bring their people on board to create a more positive and productive workforce. ”

At the launch this week, business minister Edward Davey said that a committed and involved workforce all aiming for the same goals was ‘essential’ for UK business. This echoes last week’s HR Business Network poll when more than a third of voters said employee engagement was top priority.

The taskforce will be chaired by David MacLeod, who said that a better understanding of engagement could inspire “a step change in productivity and performance across the UK, and a rise in levels of employee wellbeing and motivation.”

Details of exactly how the taskforce will work are yet to be announced, but it will be industry-led and involve leading academics, think tanks and practitioners, who are expected to put together a report on their findings next year. There will also be a dedicated website focused on showcasing ways organisations can learn more.

The news has spread across the globe via Twitter, with commenters from Canada and the US saying the UK is now showing it is leading the way for employee engagement.

Others urge caution and say people must not forget the bigger picture. Professor Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health and Pro Vice Chancellor at Lancaster University, tweeted to say “David MacLeod’s engagement task force is great idea but we need the right managers in the first place. Selection is as important as training.”

What do you think? Will the taskforce make a big difference to UK businesses?

What do you think it should focus on? What does it need to do to succeed? Let us know in the comments.