There are usually two camps about this topic of whose function does employee engagement belongs to. Some will say it is the managers' job to engage the employees; some will argue that HR department should be the one championing it. Whatever you may think, it doesn't matter.
There is no need to go purist on this argument as there are too many functions which the managers should be performing in relation to their staff have been passed to HR department since the inception of the department. Some examples are like identifying training, new staff orientation, managing staff morale and discipline, even taking an injured staff to the clinic.
However, if you subscribe to the camp of employee engagement is a function performed by the managers, then the HR department ought not to be the one managing and running all the employee engagement related activities (from the survey, focus group, developing action, even to management presentation). It is because HR department continues to lead the employee engagement activities, conducting the survey, ensuring that managers do what they should be doing according to the action plans agreed, everyone in the organisation including the employees will think that employee engagement is a KPI for HR department to meet.
What are my basis to make such statement? Let me share with you.
In my experience, I have seen the finance department owning the IT projects when there wasn't any IT department in the company. Was it because it was their function to perform? No. It's simply because the IT development was very closely related to the role and activities of finance personnel. The point is, if it is so important to you, you will be the one taking care of it. If employee engagement is so important to the business and managers, the business leader or the managers (besides HR manager) should be taking care of it.
Having subscribe to this ideology and yet requiring the HR department to ensure that all these are done accordingly, we are opening the gate for line managers to sit and wait for HR department to complete their unfinished jobs. Frequently HR department is the one being tasked with an employee engagement KPI in their appraisal, but not in the managers' appraisal. Who would care if it is not measured and recognised?
Anyone may argue on this until the cat comes home. The sad truth is that employees and managers still see employee engagement as a goal of HR department to achieve. Will there be genuine result if there's no genuine effort from the managers to champion it?