"The brilliant basics": How AEG Europe achieves employee engagement scores that defy the industry average

AEG’s engagement score surpasses the industry average by 14%, with only 3% of employees saying they are likely to leave in the next nine months compared to a 43% industry-standard...

AEG Europe was recently named as a Sunday Times Best Place to Work.

Why? Well, it may have something to do with its employee engagement scores, which sit 14% above the industry average. It could also be because only 3% of employees say they are likely to leave in the next nine months, compared to an industry standard of 43%. Or perhaps it’s due to the company’s confidence in manager rating of 87%.

But behind these monumental metrics and superb stats, according to Kirstie Loveridge, Executive Vice President, People & Culture at AEG Europe, lies what she calls “the brilliant basics.” In this HR Grapevine case study, Loveridge reveals the fundamental principles of AEG Europe’s HR practices, and how they have created a workplace that employees irrefutably love to be a part of.

Kirstie Loveridge

Executive Vice President, People & Culture

What’s the secret to above-average employee engagement?

AEG Europe’s employees love their work. As experts in their field, everyone is united by their love for building events, communities, and entertainment. When asked to explain how she has created a workplace that exceeds industry benchmarks, Loveridge simply explains that the company and its people are unified in their goals.

“Everybody’s so united by their passion,” Loveridge explains. “It sounds really cheesy, but our people want to create these memorable moments for our fans, partners, and artists”.

“The brilliant basics”

Cheesy? Perhaps. Simple? On the face of it, yes. But, to borrow a quote from the great sculptor Constantin Brancusi, “Simplicity is complexity resolved.” While AEG Europe’s journey to creating outstanding employee engagement is, according to Loveridge, rooted in simplicity, this can be tricky to get right.

“I’m really passionate about the brilliant basics,” Loveridge says. “It sounds simple, but I grew up in a world of HR where you needed to write letters to the right people and pay people in the right bank accounts. If you get the foundation sorted, then you can build on it.”

At AEG Europe, the ‘brilliant basics’ include giving employees a voice in decisions around the company’s basic contractual benefits. Take, for example, the company’s pension policy. With an average workforce age in the mid-to-late 20s, pensions are not at the top of every employee’s mind. But AEG Europe recognizes some are passionate about the issue, and it is these individuals who are brought into the governance process whenever it is time for a policy renewal.

“When a renewal comes we'll go back out to that group of employees, whether it's our employee network groups or people that we know are advocates of said benefit, to make sure it's still fit for purpose,” she suggests.

Even something as basic as an employee assistance program (EAP) might not be working properly. “EAPs have got a bad rep currently,” Loveridge acknowledges. “So, are they actually doing what they're supposed to? We ‘mystery shop’ it, work with our partners, and act on it if something isn’t right for us.”

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