Saga prioritises engagement within people strategy

Saga Saga, a provider of products and services for people aged 50 and over, has always considered employee engagement to be a significant priority, but since 2020 has reinforced its efforts through the introduction of a people strategy supported by engagement initiatives.

The organisation, which employs more than 2,500 employees, focuses on becoming a champion of age in the workplace and giving employees a choice on where and how they work, as long as they are happy, healthy and productive.

As part of its people initiative, it also launched a continuous listening strategy that uses a range of tools and platforms, such as surveys, digital communication platforms and in-person communications, explains Jane Storm, chief people officer at Saga.

“We also have an active colleague network made up of ambassadors within business units and across Saga that come together with leadership every month to talk about what’s on employees’ minds,” she says. “These are supported by monthly listening groups with a broader range of colleagues and the group chief executive officer, with discussion topics shared opening on workplace enabling a transparency and participative style of communication.”

Saga uses a digital engagement tool called Peakon, provided by Workday, which enables it to track staff engagement quarterly, with response rates in excess of 90% and engagement growing by 24% to 80%. It also runs regular engagement surveys to understand how engaged employees are, which provides good feedback.

To further its engagement efforts, the organisation launched a head of experience partnership in May with Danny Clarke, the garden designer also known as The Black Gardener, (pictured). Clarke has worked with the business to challenge ageing stereotypes in business, the media and society.

“I was particularly excited that Danny spent time not just with the leadership team, but also with a focus group of our experienced older colleagues, my team and our marketing teams,” Storm says. “The head of experience programme has helped to revitalise our employee engagement. Comments have been overwhelmingly supportive, staff were engaged in what Danny had to say and what it can do for us as a business. The partnership has opened up many conversations about workplace experience and the benefits this can bring. We are now working through who can pick up the mantle when the partnership ends, such has the reception been.”

While engaging employees and putting their needs first has been central to Saga’s transformation as a business, since the strategy launch, engagement scores have continually risen. “Putting our people at the heart of the business has been key to this. It’s proven to us and hopefully others that if [we] get it right for [our] staff, [we] get it right for customers,” Storm concludes.