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Case studies:

Henderson Global Investors: Breaking Engagement Records!

Henderson Global

Henderson Global, People Insight

Employee engagement excellence

Top performing organisations like Henderson Global Investors strive for employee engagement excellence as they know they’ll be more productive, grow faster and innovate more. They develop thriving cultures and winning people practices that propel them into the upper quartile of engaging organisations.

How exactly do they do this? 

People Insight Peak Engagement Research (PIPER) 

To share the exceptional practices and skills developed by organisations such as Henderson, People Insight has created a unique research project. PIPER aims to identify in practical terms what makes top quartile-performing organisations highly engaged workplaces. 

PIPER uses statistical analysis to identify the drivers of each organisation’s engagement scores. We then talk to highly engaged employees to identify practical examples of behaviours and activities that support them. People Insight then validates the findings with the organisation and brings to life the results with case studies that can be shared. 

The fact that the research comes directly from the employees’ perspective is what makes this programme unique. 

Read on to learn how Henderson Global Investors is a highly engaged workplace and hear our key takeaways.

Our vision

To provide greater awareness and transparency of opportunities across the charity.

To ensure the quality of career development conversations should helped people move and progress through the organisation.

Henderson Global Investors

Henderson Global Investors is a dynamic global asset manager focused on delivering excellent investment performance and service to clients, employing over 900 people of over 40 nationalities, in 19 cities worldwide.

Henderson are guided by three core principles that drive how they work together for clients: Collaboration, Conviction and Responsibility. These three principles lay the foundations for Henderson’s success; they are one of the most engaging employers in People Insight’s portfolio of clients, with their overall engagement score standing at 87%.

Henderson Global - Overall Engagement Scores are on the rise

Why is Henderson achieving such high engagement levels?

People Insight partners with Henderson to survey their employees, provide detailed analysis of their engagement results and support continuous improvement. We’ve used statistical techniques to identify the key contributors to their excellent engagement score, and these are:

  1. Employees feel valued and recognised for good work;
  2. Employees trust and feel confident in senior leaders (called EXCO – the Executive Committee) and the organisation’s strategy;
  3. There is strong team morale.

Engagement at Henderson Global is strong

People believe in what Henderson Global is doing
“Leaders behave as they want other senior managers to behave. They walk the talk.” “We are 1,000 names not 1,000 numbers.” “People can see the journey the company is on… it’s coming true, and people can see it.”

Henderson Global respondents

Why do Henderson’s employees have such confidence in senior leaders?

Modelling leadership behaviour

The effort by EXCO members to be personable with employees and to make themselves visible has a strong influence on confidence levels. Rather than creating an ‘us and them’ division, their open-plan approach in every sense of the word has enabled Henderson’s EXCO to earn the respect of their people. A lot is discussed in the open, creating a strong sense of transparency.

Leaders show up physically and sit down face to face with staff. They don’t make requests by declaring ‘I need this done’ but engage in general conversation and, importantly, remember names and previous discussions with employees. This active listening increases confidence in leaders. By leaders being visible and interacting with staff of all levels, everyone feels part of the process.

Leaders make the strategy meaningful for every employee

For Henderson’s leaders it is vital that every single one of their employees understands the direction of the company. All of the employees interviewed spoke of the positive impact the communication of the ‘Growth and Globalisation’ strategy had on their motivation to perform well. Namely because of the clarity and consistency of the communications, delivered in a punchy style rather than long winded and over polished. Employees feel like the genuine truth is being communicated rather than vague and secretive information.

How Henderson communicated their strategy

How Henderson communicated their strategy

How has Henderson helped staff to feel valued & recognised?

Recognition is part of the culture

Considerable effort is made at Henderson to help employees recognise others, verbally and via email, in a timely fashion. Messages are often sent globally, copying senior managers, when someone has performed well.

Colleagues and managers then regularly reply with their congratulations, and everyone gets a buzz. For example:

  • An employee emails a peer copying in their manager
  • A manager emails another manager about a great piece of work done by someone in their team.

Employees feel valued as they are consulted

A monthly communications forum, attended by a representative of each department, provides a space for employees to raise any issues with leadership, and feed back to their team.

Employee input is essential, not just in the UK centre, but across the global organisation, with area representatives having key roles to make sure objectives and goals are aligned to the strategy.

As part of the annual employee engagement survey communications process, the senior management team engage with their team to present and discuss headline results, demonstrating that ‘what you have said’ has been captured, promoting feelings of employee involvement.


At Henderson Global, managers help staff feel valued and welcome and recognised

How does Henderson create strong team morale?

Managers wear two hats

Henderson’s managers are perceived as providing autonomy, which ultimately builds individuals’ confidence. When managers do not have the answer to a challenge they work with their team to find a solution. They often personally ask ‘what is your opinion?’

Managers empower their teams to get on with the tasks, but help and support when needed. They appear to wear two ‘hats’; one is the friendly colleague, and the other encourages high performance. The entire team often sit together, including the head of the area, where everyone is willing to help and support, as well as recognise hard work.

“Even the bosses – it doesn’t feel like they are telling you what to do, it’s like everyone is working together to make the money, create value and achieve goals.”

Employees feel they do not have to wait for a meeting to take place in order to make a point; they feel free to talk to managers, or their colleagues about anything. Everyone is open to discussion and offering support.

Managers support & encourage development

Managers make themselves available to discuss training, next career steps, and internal moves. Training requests are likely to be signed off with minimum bureaucracy, and study time is allowed for those on a course. There is a strong psychological contract between managers and employees; staff understand that if they demonstrate initiative and hard work, then want to progress to a different role, managers will support them to make this happen

“Managers wouldn’t just try keeping hold of the employee because they are good where they are. They will see what they can do to support.”

Networks are nurtured across the organisation

Building internal relationships is key and utilising these relationships is equally important. Some managers identify direct reports who have good relationships with other teams and utilise these relationships. For example, if Jane has a good relationship with IT then Jane will be the one to liaise with IT in order to get a prompt response to resolve a query.

Network building is encouraged via informal lunches, weekly pub evenings, football games with other teams, and utilising time abroad for informal meetings. This creates a culture of openness and approachability – no one feels like a stranger, questions are responded to quickly.

“Henderson make you feel part of the company, by getting you involved. You always feel comfortable asking your neighbour for help. We all stand or fall together.

Recruitment bears culture and morale in mind

Hiring employees who fit into the Henderson culture is imperative in ensuring high levels of team morale, colleague support, peer-to-peer recognition, and supportive manager-employee relationships. The new trainee scheme identifies individuals that will demonstrate Henderson’s “guiding principles” and fit with the culture – not just those with the strongest qualifications.

There is often a real push to recruit a diverse range of individuals in the business, which fosters the feeling that the company is global, outward looking and can often facilitate cross regional communication.

At Henderson Global, there is value in creating a workplace culture that enhances team morale.


Henderson have worked effectively to create an engaging culture; modelling leadership behaviour, making their strategy meaningful, recognising and valuing their people, and creating robust team morale.

Through the PIPER research project we’ve been able to highlight the specific factors that contribute to this engagement success – from the words of the employees themselves.


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