UK losing upwards of £17 billion per year on poor employee engagement

Survey finds employer attitudes to CSR are a major factor in engaging workforce and improving productivity
Apr 28, 2011 4:00 PM ET

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) London, 28 April: Key findings of a survey of 1,007 UK employees released today by LeapCR, the pioneering UK provider of employee engagement software, reveal that 57% of employees want their companies to do more towards CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and supporting charities. 

These findings are particularly relevant in the wake of a robust field of research in the past decade linking employee engagement to profitability[i].    At a time when a 1% rise in productivity of the UK services sector would deliver £17bn of further value to Britain’s annual GDP each year[ii] these findings support a new debate on the burden to the economy of being of touch with its workers.   A significant 63% of UK employees believe that having paid time off during working hours to commit to charitable initiatives would significantly improve engagement in their company.   When factoring in the hidden drain on profitability of poor employee engagement from recruitment costs, staff turnover, sick days, employee satisfaction and customer loyalty, the impact of moving a workforce of 10,000 employees from low to high engagement can have a £21 million impact on the bottom line.[1]   Malcolm Scovil, CEO of LeapCR, said:   “Hands down, the smartest and most cost-effective way for businesses in Britain, or anywhere else, to increase productivity and profitability is to focus on improving employee engagement. CSR is all about companies aligning their values and behaviour with the expectations of their employees and customers. This research shows those that employers are out of touch with those expectations.   At a time when Britain is facing record deficits and businesses need to grow and increase profitability, it’s time to ask a different question: ‘How can our company engage our people in ways that matter to them, not us?’ The surprising truth is that the answer to increasing profits is engaging employees in a purpose beyond simply profit.”    Additional key findings:
  • 49% of UK employees said they were more likely to stay with an employer that encourages its workforce to donate time or raise money for charity within working hours 

  • Three quarters of UK workforce want their employer to balance commercial success with good CSR strategies, including supporting charities (75%) 

  • 52% of UK employees believe that their employer should do more to encourage charitable giving during working hours

  • Half of all employees (51%) felt that companies have a duty to commit to charitable acts and CSR

  • 59% of employees of all ages said their ideal employer would consider allowing interested staff to take one (paid) day off every month to support charitable initiatives

  • 15% of employees would take a significant pay cut to work for a company that has the right attitude towards charities/CSR

  • 69% of Generation Y (aged 20-30) said that there were more engaged with their employer when they can undertake charitable initiatives within the workplace

  • More than half (56%) of the Generation Y (aged 20-30) respondents said that senior management was ‘out of touch’ with their age group

  It was evident from the survey that UK employers are either not taking CSR seriously or failing to effectively communicate what they are doing to their employees. Just 58% of all employees know if their company has a commitment to CSR and a similar percentage (57%) felt their employer could do more in that area. These responses point to a lack of communication around CSR as a contributing factor to a high proportion of the workforce feeling disengaged.   Malcolm Scovil said: “The reality is that the UK workforce cares about making a difference in their careers in some way beyond just trading their time for money. They expect their employer to share that commitment. If employers fail to meet these expectations, either through a lack of CSR initiatives or a failure to communicate what they are doing to their staff, then they will find themselves struggling to remain competitive.”   “I predict that by the end of this decade, the companies that are still around will be those who have made informed decisions and taken action on this pressing issue.” concluded Scovil.    Notes to editors The survey of 1,007 full time UK employees was conducted by Vision Critical during March 2011.   About LeapCR Launched in 2010, LeapCR is pioneering enterprise software for businesses as a means to boost employee engagement within companies of all sizes. Through its cloud-based technology for companies, LeapCR provides the tools to mobilise, manage and measure corporate responsibility activity and company culture. The company's clients include investment banks, media groups, law firms, government organisations, IT companies and hotel chains. LeapCR connects these companies with nearly 600 charity partners including Oxfam, MacMillan Cancer Support, WWF, Cancer Research UK and WaterAid. To find out more, go to

[i] People & Culture: Employee Engagement Business Case (White Paper, 2008) – p4.     ii. In 2009, UK GDP was £2.17 trilllion, of which 78% is made up of the services industry (£1.7tr). A 1% increase due to improved productivity is equivalent to £17,143,000,000 (£17bn).   LEAP13522