Monday 4 September 2023

Lord Mark Price discusses his quest to make employees happier, whilst boosting business

Article by Lord Mark Price, Founder of WorkL 

Six years ago I founded WorkL, an employee experience platform helping organisations globally to monitor, track and improve their employee experience and supporting individuals to have a happier and more fulfilled time at work. I did this in a bid to make employees happier and to help employers drive success in the workplace by boosting productivity, innovation, and overall performance.

Before founding WorkL I spent nearly 35 years at the John Lewis Partnership, the final 10 as Managing Director of Waitrose. This time at the UK’s largest employee owned organisation helped build my understanding that the happier and more engaged employees stay longer, take fewer absence days and are more productive. The economics are straightforward, if you look after your employees they’ll work harder and improve your commercial performance as an organisation.

This notion was further reinforced when I became the UK’s Trade Minister in 2016, visiting countries all over the world as part of Brexit trade negotiations.  I visited over 40 countries including Australia, meeting hundreds of companies, business leaders and Government Ministers,  seeing  first hand how working cultures differ from company to company.  In Australia I saw a culture of inclusivity - respect for First Nations People and well-informed employees.

This work in Government amplified my view that if we make employees happier, we can boost productivity.
I had at this time begun in earnest building the WorkL methodology with academics, data scientists and business leaders. The methodology we created highlights six key drivers to employee engagement, known as our Six Steps:

  1. Reward and Recognition – everyone in an organisation should enjoy the rewards of success. If you’re not earning a fair salary, no amount of recognition for a job well done will be enough to make you forget you’re not being paid enough. Your pay scale has to meet expectations and encourage discretionary effort. To maximise employees’ performance and pay it is important to recognise that you need the following three things from those managing:
    • Leadership — which is consistent, and shows a sincere interest in the team.
    • Managers — who are consistent, impartial and honest and willing to provide appropriate feedback and coaching.
    • Goals — the goals of both business and individuals should be clearly and explicitly understood and expressed and whenever possible set by those delivering so that they are truly owned.
  2. Information Sharing – not sharing information makes employees feel an unimportant part of the business. Engagement and commitment can be eroded by this. If you are a business that wants to get the best out of individuals on the team, openness is key. Employees at all levels need a genuine overview of what is going on in their area and elsewhere. If employees understand the business, its strategy, how it is doing and who the customers and competitors are, they will make it stronger. Knowledge will unlock an influential role in important decisions. Individuals on the team will have valuable input on working methods and work together to coordinate their efforts.
  3. Empowerment – the aim of any business must surely be to make their employees feel empowered and this means making them a key part of the decision-making process, listening to their ideas and integrating their suggestions to build and refine your strategy. Our personal experiences inevitably bring us all to different solutions and ways of achieving them, but only by listening to all views can the best outcome be reached. Nobody is perfect but a team can be.
  4. Wellbeing – health and well-being can be broken down into three key areas; physical, emotional and financial. By addressing all three, employers will improve engagement levels and productivity. Happy workplaces have lower levels of absence because people are engaged and engagement strengthens well-being. At the heart of well-being are relationships based on mutual trust and respect that managers have with their team members, and individuals have with one another, so they are able to proactively and re-actively spot and discuss any concerns they may have and get the timely help they need. Listening to employees and responding to their anxieties plays a crucial role, too.
  5. Instilling Pride – employees who love what they do and feel proud of where they work will speak openly and positively about it to colleagues, potential employees, customers and people in their community. When people ask that inevitable, getting-to-know-you question of ‘where do you work’, you’ll hear the pleasure in their voice when they reply. Instilling such pride is not just about stirring speeches, sharing growth figures, or saying a few well-placed thank yous.
  6. Job Satisfaction – There are many elements to feeling satisfied at work, but time and again, two key reasons are cited – personal development and the strength of your relationship with your line manager. We have nothing of greater value than our people. High levels of employee engagement is the key to unlock organisational success. Research shows that the two biggest drivers of satisfaction are respectful treatment and trust between employees and senior management. A poor relationship with your manager is often cited as the number one reason for leaving and organisation, no matter how great the brand. Forget all the perks, incentives, reviews and motivational tactics: treating people with humanity, is what really counts. Satisfaction is principally about what companies are doing at a personal level to make people’s lives better/

I’m delighted to share that we’re now working with The Australian to power the Australian Best Places to Work Awards. Entries are now open for organisations with more than 10 employees. I’d encourage businesses to enter to be in with a chance of being included in a prestigious list which will help organisations attract and retain talent. Businesses entering will not only understand their own Flight Risk score, but understand their organisation’s overall engagement score, their Confidence in Management indicator, Diversity & Inclusion Indicator, NPS, their Six Steps to Workplace Engagement Scores and have their data benchmarked against global and industry scores. Those opting for the enhanced option when entering will receive their own personalised Instant Action Planning, Action plans around WorkL’s Six Steps to Workplace Happiness, Heatmaps on all WorkL standard questions and the ability to filter results by several demographics such as age, gender, ethnicity and length of service.

You can find out more about the awards and enter at -

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