Engaging Leadership to Improve Productivity

This week, I was invited to deliver a presentation in Cardiff that showcased how RWA engages its employees to deliver positive business results. Organised by the 2017 Leading Wales Awards Consortium in partnership with the Institute of Leadership & Management, the evening focused on why engaging leadership was so important in the workplace.



The problem & key statistics

In 2016, the Office for National Statistics reported that the productivity gap within the UK had broadened to its worst levels since they began collating records. In Wales, where our Head Office is based, productivity was almost 20% below the average of the UK.

A survey from Academi Wales in 2012, found that approximately 65% of disengaged employees strategically manage their disengagement. Imagine the effect that this must have on workplace productivity.

The UK has engagement and productivity levels in organisations across all sectors that are amongst the lowest in the G7 countries.

Gallup’s Global Workplace report also found that only 17% of UK employees are engaged, or emotionally invested in and focused on creating value for their organisations. The research suggests that there is a positive correlation between employee engagement and productivity (and therefore profitability). Their conclusion was that increasing employee engagement is one of the best ways to improve productivity.

So what can we, as Leaders, do to turn these engagement figures around and increase productivity?


We hire people because we trust them to be able to do good work on their own. Trust is an integral part of the leader employee relationship. Without trust, your employees will find it difficult to be engaged and to add real value to your business.

Paul J. Zak interviewed 1095 adults and found that for those who work in high-trust companies there is:

  • 74% less stress
  • 106% more energy at work
  • 50% higher productivity
  • 13% fewer sick days
  • 76% more engagement
  • 29% more satisfaction with lives
  • 40% less burnout

In high trust organisations, employees benefit from increased productivity, energy and collaboration. They also stay at jobs longer.


Most employees are not sure if they are doing a good job and Leaders are not providing sufficient feedback about employee performance. If employees cannot tell if they are meeting expectations, then how will you engage them?

As a Leader, you should embrace open communication – give more regular feedback in bite-sized chunks and don’t just leave it until the annual appraisal. Don’t be afraid to establish a growth orientated culture – talk about growth, sales, profits, wins and budgets. Think about the language you use, e.g. careers vs jobs, rewards vs bonus/benefits, business development vs sales.

Skills Development

Developing your people is a great way to grow your business.

Remember this.

A very important aspect of employee engagement is to give autonomy to your people to take ownership of their personal and professional development. If you offer skills development, then you will motivate your staff and they will grow with your business.

Your people are your biggest asset. Look after them and challenge them to develop. More and more people in the workplace fulfil multiple roles and want to learn new skills to help them grow.

If your people are skilled and have the right knowledge, then they will add tremendous value, deliver a great service and promote your business to your customers.

It’s a simple equation.

How do you develop skills to deliver your business strategy? You either acquire a new workforce or you can develop your own talent. Which one will cost more?

Your people are amazing. Give them the tools to learn.

What do we do at RWA?

At RWA we focus on all of these as we believe an engaged workforce not only benefits us but it also benefits our customers. To find out more about some of the approaches and tools that we use at RWA then please download the following booklet:




What do you do to engage your employees that’s different? What are the challenges that you face in raising productivity and do you have any horror stories? Connect with me online and let me know.

Thank you to Barbara Chidgey (Leading Wales Awards - @LeadinginWales) and the Institute of Leadership & Management (@InstituteLM) for hosting the evening and inviting me to speak.

http://leadingwalesawards.co.uk/ | 



Tom Wood

About the author

Tom has worked at RWA for over 12 years, starting as Operations Manager before taking on roles as Operations Director, CEO and most recently as Director leading the company into the digital age.

Before joining RWA, he was involved in helping develop the operations of one of Wales’ fastest growing utility consultancies as well as leading the Key Accounts team of a major commercial energy supplier.

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