Raising the Bar on Staff Engagement

Foodservice Footprint Lindsay-Head-Shoulders-219x300 Raising the Bar on Staff Engagement Features Health and Vitality Zeitgeist  What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you consider your CSR strategy? Reducing emissions? Cutting waste? Lindsay Winser, communications controller at 3663, explains how the company puts people first.


IT’S QUITE easy to forget that it’s the employees that ensure organisations operate efficiently, effectively and successfully. Businesses that are passionate about the environment should be passionate about their people too – the root of their business – and underpin their environmental values with their employees. We understand that an emphasis on their wellbeing improves employee relations and has a positive impact on business output – that’s why 3663’s people sit high up on our agenda.


In the past, through our employee engagement surveys, we’ve seen a direct correlation between reduced staff absence and how employees feel about our green credentials. So, by us regularly engaging with staff about what we’re doing, and the environmental benefits, we’re encouraging them to continue working hard with us.


However, we know there’s more to looking after your workforce than reducing absence. It’s important – and lowering these figures will continue to be a challenge for businesses – but we must focus on understanding the challenges of employee wellbeing and the benefits: what it can do for you and your customers.


Workplace stress, ill health, the working wounded (those who fail to take time off for sickness) and accidents are just some challenges that come under the health and wellbeing umbrella – and they’re our responsibility. Our industry poses many dangers, so we need to take steps to tackle difficulties and identify opportunities to support our staff.


The industry should revise its policies and find new approaches to ensure we’re operating with a healthy workforce behind us. Why? Looking after staff, by taking a holistic approach to responsible business, increases morale and motivation that directly affects performance and productivity. And to guarantee success, we need an integrated approach to ensure ‘buy-in’ from management and our workforce.


Employee engagement is vital. Organisations must create varied two-way communication tools to update and interact with staff, including: posters; intranet; newsletters; and appointing communication ‘champions’ to gather feedback. This is the first step to cultivating an open and honest working culture and improving relationships. Not only are you clearly demonstrating that you value your employees’ opinion, but you can better monitor and improve working practice.


Saying thank you to employees for their loyalty and hard work is important, and whilst we have formal systems of recognition in place, sometimes we say it simply with a bottle of wine! A small gesture, but measures like this go a long way in boosting team morale. We reward hard work in numerous ways, including: celebrating employees’ success in our company magazine and awarding ’once- in-a-lifetime’ trips abroad via our parent company, Bidvest, at the annual chairman’s dinner in South Africa – to individuals who make a significant contribution within the company.


More than this, our employee benefits, including: pensions; childcare vouchers; health care; and discount schemes on food, which allows staff to purchase products at a competitive price; and family-oriented activities, whereby we negotiate special rates so staff can benefit from reductions on gym memberships and days out, help to maintain participation rates within the business.


We’re also extending our sustainable travel initiative, which encourages colleagues to seek alternative travel arrangements, to encourage employees to cycle to work. Our Cycle to Work scheme means employees can hire bikes from us. Not only does this reduce emissions, but also supports staff health. And, for those in areas where there’s a need to use public transport, we purchase season tickets for staff and allow them to pay us back in monthly instalments out of their salary – a cost-effective scheme for our workforce.

There’s a lot businesses can do – but it won’t happen overnight. Review and develop people policies that are right for you. You can then put measures in place to nurture, develop and retain talent within your organisation. For our industry to continue thriving, we need to ensure we’re working with the best.