I have just spent the past week in the United Arab Emirates visiting companies and auditing their suggestion schemes for accreditation 2012.
As most of you know, the UAE has developed hugely over the past 15 years and Dubai is hardly recognisable from the town it was in the late 90’s. Something that may surprise you though is how employee engagement is taking hold within Governmental Departments in the area.
During my time in there, I visited Dubai Customs, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and Dubai Police and at each organisation I was stunned at the importance given to engagement and the support it is given right from the top of the organisation.
During my meeting with Dubai Police, I was ushered into the office of the Deputy General of Police where he excitedly told me of the importance of everyone within the organisation having a voice and how everyone has the opportunity to put ideas forward to improve what they do. Dubai Police have even opened their Ideas programme to the general public and actively encourage the public and suppliers to put through improvement ideas.
All government departments in Dubai have to have a staff suggestion scheme and are run independently of each other, although best practice is shared amongst them at every opportunity. I think this is the model that should be followed by governments here in Europe as it is already delivering huge benefits for each of these organisations.
What also amazed me was that although all the organisations I visited had excellent processes in place and were delivering results that would quite frankly embarrass some FTSE 100 countries in the UK they are eager to improve their ideas programmes and wanted advice on how to make them even better.
So what is the secret of these organisations?
Well, without exception, all the organisations I visited had the following themes:
- Full support of the management team from the top down
- Fully funded and budgeted annually
- Part of the organisational strategy
- Very high levels of recognition for everyone involved
- A real sense of empowerment to the employee
I just want to leave you with one thought from what I saw from one organisation:
Last year the budget for the ideas scheme was 500,000 Dhs (about £100,000) this includes money for awards, marketing and recognition. The scheme then delivered 360,000,000 Dhs, yep, that’s 360 Million Dhs (£72m) in cost savings to the business. They also think they will hit similar numbers this year. Now show me a CEO that would not want those cost savings on the bottom line?
The sad part is in the UK, we would never think about investing £100,000 in a suggestion scheme and we invariably lose out on the cost savings that can be generated.
How much in cost savings is YOUR organisation missing out on because you will not invest in a staff engagement programme?