This is the number one way to engage your staff

Sue-Ellen Watts /

The most common question I am asked as chief executive and founder of HR consulting firm wattsnext is ‘how do I increase performance in my business?’. Most business owners I speak to think their staff are great but believe they could be better.

Usually the first place HR professionals and business owners look to solve this problem is training. What training can I send them to that will make them better at their job?

The next may be reinstating the key performance indicators and having some tougher conversations about what they need to achieve. Or maybe even splurge and head offsite for a strategy session to give them more goals, plans and timelines to work towards.

All these are useful (sometimes), many are costly and often they provide no real return on investment.

But there is one very simple activity that costs nothing and I think is the most powerful action a leader can take to engage staff and ultimately increase performance across an entire business.


There is incredible power in sharing the story of the business. Why it started, how it got going, the challenges it faced, the impact it has had on customers, the difference it is making in the world and why the owner is so passionate about it. The more the leader can tell their story and in turn the story of the business, the more engaged the team members will be. I promise you!

Why not give it a go before the end of the year. In fact, the work Christmas party or end-of-year send off is the perfect time. Although I recommend it becomes a regular activity that becomes part of the DNA of the organisation, not just a once a year job.

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Sue-Ellen Watts

Sue-Ellen Watts is the founder of wattsnext, specialists delivering relevant HR for the modern world to SMEs across the globe.