"Steal with pride, adapt with glee, pragmatically implement," says Sir Eric Peacock

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Sir Eric Peacock, Chairman of Buckley Jewellery, shares his unique ideas for nurturing an engaged workforce at the Engage for Success conference 2018 in March in London.

Sir Eric Peacock is a jack of all trades and a master of many. He is a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and contributor to government who has a wealth of experience in the business world, having worked in consumer goods, industrial goods, insurance, financial services, men’s hair care, jewellery and more.

One of his many talents involves identifying what will provide his business with a competitive advantage. “I’m good at finding the underlying nugget in other businesses that can be adapted to my own business,” says Peacock. Hence his motto: “Steal with pride, adapt with glee, pragmatically implement.”

When it comes to getting and keeping people engaged, Peacock is bursting with ideas that take a slightly different approach to the more traditional engagement activities.

For example, he believes corporate social responsibility (CSR) is extremely important, but rather than simply giving to charity, his company has their own charities that employees can get involved with.

In terms of onboarding, Peacock knows how to give a warm welcome to newcomers. Every new hire receives a Fedex delivery containing a bottle of champagne, two champagne flutes and a letter of welcome that tells the recipient to take a moment to celebrate this new beginning and future success.

What value does this bring? It has cut down the number of new hires that return to their old job (because they have negotiated increased pay or a promotion, for example) by 70 per cent, Peacock pointed out.

Caring about your employees’ whole selves

Learning and development is also a big focus for Peacock. And it’s not just about providing training on skills that are essential to the business. Every week, speakers come in to talk on a diverse range of topics that help people grow “their whole selves.”

Paying attention to what employees do outside of work is important for engagement, stresses Peacock: “We don’t want people to leave their brains on the coat peg alongside their hat and coat.” 

It’s not just about a big budget

The list of employee engagement activities that Peacock supports goes on… from annual red carpet award ceremonies to a ‘love team’ that bakes cookies and cakes for employees and visitors on special occasions.

Yes, these specific ideas all rely on a fairly big budget, but the underlying imperative to make employees feel valued can be achieved in any business on any budget. “It’s about making engagement ideas relevant to your culture”, argues Peacock.

Valuing employee voice

One engagement idea that costs nothing but time has led to a 2 per cent productivity enhancement over the past 12 years, Peacock stated.

Twice a year each employee gets seven postcards to fill in: two postcards are allocated to exploring the employee’s role and what they could do to improve it, three postcards are allotted to writing about what an employee’s team could do differently, and the final postcard is for suggesting what the organisation could do differently.

This activity plays a crucial role in making employees’ voices feel heard - and any business could quickly and easily implement a similar project.

Thinking of new engagement initiatives and getting them up and running at speed (or rather stealing them with pride and adapting them with glee) is exactly what Peacock encouraged the Engage for Success audience to do: “Break the mould, get out there and start some of these things on Monday,” he urged.

About Becky Norman

Becky Norman

Becky is Editor of HRZone and Trainingzone, global online communities of people working in the HR and L&D industries. Becky works closely with leading HR and L&D practitioners and decision makers to ensure the publications offer a rich source of real-world insight and fresh advice to their audience.

HR and L&D professionals today must adapt to a complex mix of challenges caused by ongoing business disruption, technological advancements, a changing political landscape, varied employee needs and more. Becky aspires to make HRZone and TrainingZone the destinations for professionals to seek guidance, analysis and opinion on how to tackle these challenges and continue to deliver value.

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