A LEADING North East businesswoman has set up a new venture to drive the region’s economy by encouraging closer engagement between companies and their employees.
Former North East Chamber of Commerce president Maggie Pavlou has created People Gauge, an innovative online tool that measures level of engagement in the workplace, and within months of going live the company can count several powerhouse North East firms among its clients.
Pavlou, director of HR at Newcastle-based holiday park company Parkdean Holidays, set up and runs Belver North, a human resources business which works with companies and organisations at director level, and the new venture is a direct result of the HR work.
The company has only been active for a handful of months yet counts the Barbour Group, Esh Group, Onyx and Newcastle International Airport among its clients, and others are trialling the product, which asks employees to give responses to 15 statements – such as “What is it like to work here?”
By analysing the results, People Gauge shows engagement levels among the staff. It has been put together based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a paper that psychologist Abraham Maslow produced in 1943 which suggested that people are motivated to fulfil basic needs before they are able to move on to other needs and while the terminology can be slightly altered within the 15 statements, to match the business it focuses on, the principles stay the same – that actively engaged employees are more motivated and effective than those who aren’t.
The results to the statements are siphoned by the specialist software Pavlou helped to design and come up with results which allow businesses to work with staff to improve productivity, increase retention, reduce staff sickness levels and deliver a more positive and effective working environment.
In addition to reports, People Gauge, Wordles are also produced, which show the top seven words that employees have used in their responses, and “challenging” is by far the most popular word, Pavlou revealed.
As well as creating more productive, harmonious workplaces, Pavlou strongly believes that companies which choose to use People Gauge will see results transfer to their sales and profits, ultimately having a hugely positive effect on the North East economy.
“As well as working for Parkdean Holidays and having a few non-exec chairman positions I have the Belver North consultancy, and People Gauge came out of that,” said Pavlou.
“So many companies spend money on consultants but they don’t check to see where they are starting from, and this does that, giving them a benchmark of where they are with their staff and what they need to put right.
“You need at least four actively engaged people to negate the negative impact that just one actively disengaged person can have, so it’s really important for firms to identify where there are any areas of actively disengaged people, so they can do something about it.
“We should remember that people don’t leave organisations, they leave managers, so how good are managers at getting the best out of their people? Businesses already using it include Newcastle International Airport, NRG, NECC, NGI, Barbour Group and N Power and many more are currently testing it out, and most of the new business has been coming through referrals. It is early days but it’s a user-friendly and flexible tool and staff and managers can sit down and go through the results together – and it works.