Secrets to successful staff engagement

An interview with BDO Gisborne General Manager, Stu Potter

BDO Gisborne achieved an overall engagement score of 82%. They  attained high scores of 95% for work life balance, 93% for company confidence, 89% for teamwork and 84% for leadership and enablement.  This places them in the top tier of the Oceania engagement results based on the Culture Amp survey.  

The importance of staff engagement at BDO Gisborne

Employee engagement is a major strategic focus for our company and drives to the core of what we represent. Our people make our business, representing our organisation to our clients and community. The way we choose to support and enrich our employees working lives makes such a huge difference to their motivation and attitudes both in and outside of work. 


What makes successful staff engagement?

Some of the more important contributing factors is the work  we have done with our partners and executive team to get them strategically aligned to support our focus on employees. That has been a deliberate body of work that tested some of our team  with not everyone on board initially.  The engagement strategy was backed by 12 months of executive leadership development which was helpful to get that shift and connectedness. Role modelling from the most senior members of our organisation is critical when undertaking this work. This was run in tandem with providing our employees with a voice to articulate the areas that we should focus on and then to resource various initiatives in these targeted areas to make systematic improvements.


Multi-pronged approach to engagement: BDO-U, BDO-Lead & Grow

We used a multi-levelled approach  of collaborative learning and organisation wide acceptance for creating a new future. We launched our appraisal tool BDO-U in 2018 to get an appreciation from all employees on their development needs. Following the feedback, we received from BDO-U, we developed two in-house training programmes BDO-Lead and Grow. BDO Grow is a targeted, future focused approach to creating and enhancing our advisory workforce, while BDO-Lead upskills our workflow managers in leadership skills. . In the engagement survey we achieved 100% confidence in leadership, some of which is directly attributed to the leadership growth across the firm. 


Setting staff up for success

Creating a safe learning environment has been key to safely test out ideas, talk about vulnerabilities but also to create peer to peer and group learning experiences.  In this way, we can really challenge barriers and blind spots that impact engagement. The results achieved across the teams are based on patterned ways of working which stem from conditioned habits and behaviours established over time. In order to achieve different results, you must challenge these underlying behaviours and embrace new ways of working. We were able to achieve some of this movement through the introduction of coaching conversations.  To that effect, coaching was embedded into the programmes and practised regularly to improve the skill level across the organisation.  


Integrating mobile learning

Technology is a game-changer when it comes to learning. You only have to look in your own home to see how smart devices have changed the way we research and find solutions  to problems.  Learning is faster, more convenient, and more accessible. There is also the consideration of how you make the learning stimulating to make it stick.  Sitting through multiple e-learning based modules can become tedious and not as deep seated or fun as experiential based learning.  Therefore, the modern-day employer needs to keep up with the evolving learning demands within the workplace, adopting an integrated approach to learning


Happy employees = happy customers

 BDO Gisborne’s vision is to be the leader for exceptional client service.  By adopting an employee centric approach to building our organisation we have seen an uplift in engagement which has resulted in new client business, the development of serving niche business opportunities and an increase in the amount of exceptional people approaching us for job opportunities. Alongside this, our programmes have been recognised nationally with businesses approaching us to coach their teams. On top of all that, it fosters strong working relationships and a positive work environment.  It will be a privilege indeed to celebrate our 100 years of business next year with our fantastic team.