Ex-John Lewis boss creates employee engagement platform for SMEs

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Former John Lewis deputy chairman launches social platform measuring happiness

Did you know that estate agents are the happiest people in the workforce? Or that people working in the global energy sector are the most miserable?

And that British workers are on average far less happy than those working in Argentina?

So says Engaging Works, a new social media platform which aims to become a British version of LinkedIn focusing on career development.

Individual users complete an online questionnaire that measures how happy they are in the workplace. The average person scores 633 out of 1,000 worldwide.

Employers who subscribe to the platform can then slice-and-dice anonymous employee data, seeing who’s most disaffected and how their companies compare to rivals or other sectors.

Engaging Works claims to provide the kind of HR feedback that would cost small businesses thousands if they hired a consultancy such as Willis Towers Watson.

The cost, said founder Lord Mark Price, is “ridiculously inexpensive”. A one-year licence costs £500 plus £3 for each individual survey. So, for an SME with 50 employees, you could have a six-monthly employee engagement survey for £800.

“I built it in such a way that SMEs could afford it,” said Lord Price.

Compiled anonymous data can be broken down by age, gender, ethnicity, compared to other companies and those in the same sector.

“It’s very inexpensive, you can compare results against your industry and it’s really quick and individuals get results,” he said.

A former trade minister in the Cameron government, Lord Price is a former deputy chairman of the John Lewis Partnership and Channel Four.

If this all sounds a bit airy-fairy, Lord Price points to an overwhelming amount of evidence from business school research that happy and engaged employees increase productivity and profitability by 20 per cent.

“There’s incontrovertible evidence that if you have an organisation with a happy and engaged workforce, your company will work better,” said Lord Price.

“The supreme purpose of the John Lewis Partnership was the happiness of the people who work there. If people happy and engaged they are more productive, which creates a more successful organisation.”

To date, 81 companies have signed up despite Engaging Works only having a soft launch in September 2017. Current and past clients include Coca-Cola, Virgin Money and Burger King.

The platform also enables video conference calling and a messaging service. The dashboard offers opportunities to find mentors.

Engaging Work will not sell on personal data or carry advertising – there will be, however, premium add-on data packages for companies and bolt-ons such as consultancy and HR training.

Lord Price said: “Nobody else has tried to build a one-stop-shop, a department store for your career development needs. I’ve created a hub to help you manage your career and working life.”