The Role of the Chair & Employee Engagement


The Imperative A key theme in all Fidelio’s recent Board Evaluations and many of our discussions with Chairs has been employee engagement and the role of the Board. The pandemic and subsequent dislocations in the labour market have quite rightly prompted all companies to think carefully about employees. The specific requirement for Boards to engage with the workforce, as set out in the 2018 Corporate Governance Code, has prompted Board Members to be clear about their oversight and understanding of employee sentiment. It has also raised practical questions as to how the Board can most effectively engage with this key stakeholder group.


To that end Fidelio recently invited Chairs and Committee Chairs from a range of sectors to the first ‘Chair Colloquium’ breakfast. Our topic was ‘The Role of the Chair & Employee Engagement’. Some clear themes and priorities emerged which we have pleasure in capturing in the attached Table Talk:

  1. Engagement in context

  2. Setting expectations

  3. Avoid a “Committee of Spies”

  4. Authenticity and ESG

  5. Geography

  6. Range of concerns

  7. No “one size fits all”

  8. Increasing importance of culture

  9. The value of HR

  10. Advice to new NEDs

The Implications Fidelio’s first Chair Colloquium tackled one of the most important Board issues of our day – engaging with employees, understanding their hopes and fears and then helping the Executive to channel that insight into a people policy that attracts and retains talented employees, allow D, E and I to flourish and ensures a vibrant, healthy and successful culture.


The requirements set out in the Corporate Governance Code allow Boards to approach employee engagement in a number of ways. Many Boards are opting for the so-called designated workforce engagement Director. The 10 Key Findings set out above are particularly relevant for the Non-Executive Director who assumes this role.


Fidelio was delighted to host this very engaged discussion with its practical outputs and breadth of experience. We are pleased to be supporting Boards – through Evaluation, Development and Search – as they think through the People Agenda. It is clear that employees are contributing profoundly to the transformation that most businesses are experiencing. There is an opportunity for the Board to play a role in harnessing the tremendous potential within the organisation and in allowing a healthy and vibrant culture to flourish.


Please click here to continue reading.