60-second interview with Caroline McCague

Caroline McCague, 25/3/2019

Caroline McCague is Senior Manager – HR Operations at RSM UK, in Gatwick, Surrey.

What does your firm or organisation do?

RSM provides audit, tax and consulting services worldwide.

You will be speaking at the STEP Employer Partnership Programme (EPP) Summer Forum in June, which is on employee engagement. What will you be covering?

I’ll be discussing flexibility, and in particular the business case and the benefits of embracing a more flexible working culture. I will be discussing RSM’s current journey, which has been supported by the organisation Working Families.

How important is employee engagement to the success of an enterprise?

Employee engagement is one of the key elements for driving productivity, increasing efficiency, and improving employee morale and retention. I’d say that companies should pay as much attention to their people culture as they do to managing finances and clients.

What would you say is the best way to improve employee engagement? Can this be measured?

The best advice is to listen and communicate. You need to understand what’s important to your workforce, and feed back on what changes the business can make to accommodate people.

Can you give any examples?

Yes. I’d say that line managers have an important role in communicating with, and listening to, their teams. When this is done well, it encourages autonomy, personal development and flexibility, and so increases productivity and engagement.

Where do people go wrong?

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to stick to the same working practices, without questioning whether there is a better way, or listening to feedback.

What external resources are there for employers?

Working Families, as above, and in particular its survey – Modern Working Families Index 2018

How did you get interested in the subject, and how do you see it developing?

Irrespective of industry, companies are going to need to adapt to meet the challenges of recruiting and retaining a highly-skilled workforce. To do this, they will have to agree a more flexible approach to traditional working practices.

The old nine-to-five day and five-day week is less relevant where companies may expect an email to be answered at 10pm, and it’s important to remember that employees expect the same flexibility in return.

Caroline McCague is senior manager - HR operations at RSM. She has worked there for over 13 years and is responsible for the national management of operational HR and leads its student recruitment strategy. Caroline is also the project leader for the company's bi-annual engagement survey, and is currently focused on developing action plans to deliver change.