Cabinet Office Employee Engagement Kit

Writing about

The Cabinet Office has put together an amazing pack on an approach on Employee Engagement (complete with survey).  The contents of this post, which is a draft of a paper that I am putting together for our Management Committee, is shamelessly stolen from the pack.

I should also add here (adhering to the Principles for Participation Online) that I work for Ofqual, the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator, which, until Parliament passes the Children, Skills and Learning Bill, is part of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

A programme of work is underway in the Civil Service to develop a cross-government approach to employee engagement. This paper proposes that Ofqual uses the Civil Service framework for measuring and increasing employee engagement. The framework includes a cost-effective staff survey. Adopting the common approach means that we can benchmark ourselves against similar organisation including QCA who are also considering using the scheme.

  • Engaged employees in the UK take an average of 2.69 sick days per year; the disengaged take 6.19 1
  • 70% of engaged employees indicate that they have a good understanding of how to meet customer needs, while only 17% on non-engaged employees say the same. 2
  • Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave the organisation than the disengaged. 3
  • 78% of engaged UK workers would recommend their company’s products or services, versus 13& of disengaged.4
  • 78% of highly engaged workers in the UK public sector say they can make an impact on public services delivery or customer service, versus only 29% of the disengaged. In 2006 Towers Perrin surveyed 3,000 public sector workers in the UK. 4


Employees agreeing that:






Moderately Engaged



Highly Engaged



I can impact the quality of our work product












I can impact costs related to my job/unit












I can impact the overall efficiency of the organisation












 Being engaged is more than just being satisfied or motivated. It is having a sense of personal attachment to your work and organisation which means that you want it to succeed. Increasing engagement is achieved by making changes that positively impact on how employees think and feel about their experience of work.

Key Drivers

The key drivers of employee engagement differ between organisations but they tend to fall into the following areas of policy or practice:

  1. Vision and direction – creating and communicating a clear and motivating picture of the future for employees
  2. Career development – opportunities for professional and personal development and advancement.
  3. Recognition – acknowledging the importance of the role each individual plays and thanking people for superior effort and performance.
  4. Line management – enabling managers to be advocates of the organisation and their staff.
  5. Work itself and environment – creating absorbing roles and suitable and effective work spaces.
  6. Organisational effectiveness and ethics – promoting competence, efficiency, innovation and openness in everyday operations.
  7. Employee involvement and autonomy – making use of employee expertise and opinion in operating and managing the business.
  8. Work-life balance – allowing flexibility in working arrangements to enable employees to meet personal commitments.
  9. Reward – valuing employees through a total reward package of pay and a range of other benefits.
  10. Information flow and internal communication – enabling easy exchange of information across the organisation and ensuring that internal communication is regular, consistent and targeted.
  11. Resources – providing employees with sufficient and suitable resources for their tasks and objectives.
  12. Corporate image and reputation – being aware of stakeholder views of the organisation and maintaining a good public standing.

Critical Success Factors

The breadth of factors that could drive, either positively or negatively, engagement levels across the organisation are wide and responsibility lies across several functions, but there are a number of critical success factors:

  1. Meaningful performance goals – organisational outcomes linked to employee actions
  2. Building commitment and confidence – securing senior leaders’ buy-in and supporting managers to confidently involve and support their teams
  3. Leading by example – willingness among senior leaders to invest time and effort in demonstrating a personal commitment to the approach and do things differently if necessary
  4. Measurement-driven decisions – using robust quantitative data to decide where effort will have the most value, evaluate progress against goals and evolve the approach.
  5. Thinking ‘global’ – considering all business decisions in the context of their impact on people and performance across the whole organisation
  6. Employee involvement – providing opportunities for staff to contribute ideas and feedback to improve the approach, and for leaders and managers to gain insight into the needs and motivations of employees.
  7. Clear accountability – defining roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for employee engagement between leaders, line managers, corporate functions and peer group networks.
  8. Effective communication – regular, tailored communication to explain the benefits of the approach, acknowledge challenges, recognise the efforts of employees and update on progress.



Taken from the Cabinet Office’s Employee Engagement in the Civil Service document (

Although measurement is at the heart of the approach this programme is more than a staff survey. Aligning the process to the business planning and performance review can mean that information on what engages employees can be used to inform business strategies.



That OMG considers (a) adopting this approach to co-ordinating decision-making on issues related to staff, and (b) committing to improving the drivers of employee engagement. 


1 Gallup, 2003, cited in Melcrum, Employee Engagement: How to Build a High Performance Workforce, 2005.

2 Right Management, Measuring True Employee Engagement, 2006.

3 Corporate Leadership Council (Corporate Executive Board), Driving Performance and Retention through Employee Engagement, 2004.

4 Towers Perrin, Executive Briefing: Engagement in the Public Sector, 2007.

3 Responses to “Cabinet Office Employee Engagement Kit”
  1. David Zinger says:

    I have read the documents from the UK Civil Service and found them to be very informative, concise, and helpful. A pleasure to read, and you can’t always say that about employee engagement papers!

  2. Rebecca Jones says:

    Casey,If you would like some more data on Employee Engagement for your paper you may like to check out the BlessingWhite Website: where you can download their latest global research.

    Good luck with it.

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