Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement two weeks ago hasn’t exactly inspired confidence among businesses. It was described as “feeble” by Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, while Willie Walsh, British Airways’ chief executive, warned: “I don’t see an agenda for growth”. Ouch!

Regardless of cuts in corporation tax and some infrastructure investment, Osborne’s message - to “Come here, invest here, Britain is open for business” - rings hollow. As Will Hutton, the ex-Guardian editor, journalist and principal of Hertford College Oxford, says: “We are now four-and-a-half years into a contained depression, so you must at one point evaluate when you are in a hole and when to stop digging.”

With so little confidence, then, how can businesses help themselves to growth and job creation? Three weeks prior to the Autumn Statement, the Engage for Success Task Force launched its evidence into the business benefits of engaging your workforce. It’s compelling.

The report found organisations with high engagement levels outperformed their low-engagement counterparts - in both private industry and in public service. It also showed engaged organisations reported lower staff absence, lower turnover, fewer accidents and are linked to increased employee wellbeing.

Our problem is: too many UK employees are not actively engaged. According to analysis by human capital management company Kenexa, the UK is well behind other countries, with a score of 49%, putting it in the low-moderate category, compared to India at 77% and Mexico at 63%. If the UK were to move its engagement levels to the middle of the top quartile, it would equate to a near-£26bn increase in GDP.

Speaking at the launch of the report, former Asda CEO Archie Norman, now chairman of ITV, said engagement should not be just an HR activity but the responsibility of everyone, from CEO to line manager. The key to success, he said, was to make the business less hierarchical. In other words, if you reject your typical command-and-control models and increase employee autonomy, you will get staff engaged, motivated and more productive. Or to put it another way, if there is any growth to be found, your employees - not George Osborne - will be the ones to find it.