Engagement and wellbeing: Civil Service success stories

Case studies showcasing the approaches of Civil Service teams with outstanding levels of employee engagement and staff wellbeing.

Employee engagement is a workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success and able to enhance their own wellbeing.

Research suggests that increased engagement and wellbeing positively affect factors relevant to organisational performance – such as productivity, absenteeism and customer service – as well as having positive effects on the people involved.

These case studies showcase the approaches taken and outcomes experienced by some Civil Service teams who have achieved outstanding engagement and wellbeing scores in the Civil Service People Survey. They are designed to help managers and leaders in the Civil Service to identify ideas to apply to their teams.

Whether the teams we spoke to worked in policy, defence, engineering or operational delivery our interviews revealed eight common themes or ideas for building an engaged team with high wellbeing:

  • leaders who welcome feedback and are passionate, visible and collaborative really help to drive great engagement and wellbeing scores

  • prioritise feedback, involvement and consultation – regular 2-way feedback which is acted upon helps drive an engaged culture; people really value credit where it’s due and reward and recognition for good work

  • encourage innovation and creativity – creating a non-judgmental atmosphere for ideas has been a real theme for a number of our teams; openly listen to and encourage new ideas, try new approaches, and expose your staff and yourself to new challenges

  • make time for frontline exposure – the impact of their work on the delivery of public services really helps teams connect with their organisational purpose and objectives

  • challenge negative behaviours – have zero tolerance for bullying and harassment and an open-door policy for reporting it

  • support flexible working approaches, and allow people to be open about non-work pressures

  • build team spirit – ensure contact especially across geographical boundaries; create time for people to talk; consider development days, volunteering together and skill-sharing opportunities

  • take action on your People Survey results – highly engaged teams had taken the time to study and understand their results, and developed staff-led action plans

We’d like to know what you think – please email with any feedback.

Case studies about improving staff wellbeing scores

Case studies about improving staff engagement scores

  1. Employee engagement and wellbeing: North West Area Operations Centre
  2. Employee engagement and wellbeing: Property and Facilities Management Team
  3. Employee engagement and wellbeing: Central Support Team for CAFCASS Cymru
  4. Employee engagement and wellbeing: Pyle and Porthcawl Jobcentre Plus
  5. Employee engagement and wellbeing: Clay Cross Jobcentre Plus
  6. Employee engagement and wellbeing: NE Yorkshire and Humber District
  7. Employee engagement and wellbeing: Rail Accident Investigation Branch
  8. Employee engagement and wellbeing: Cabinet Office's Social Investment and Finance Team
  9. Employee engagement and wellbeing: Scottish Government - Procurement Policy, Systems and Strategy Division
Published 2 July 2015
Last updated 21 December 2016 + show all updates
  1. Added new case studies on staff wellbeing and engagement.
  2. Addition (18 November 2016) of details emerging from interviews with Civil Service teams of eight common themes or ideas for building an engaged team with high wellbeing.
  3. First published.