In the present times the workplace is all about value orientation. Needless to say, productivity plays a dominant role in determining retention. It is said that employee engagement boosts productivity, while a recent report establishes that only 13% of the workforce worldwide is extremely engaged at work. Is there really a reason why companies should spend on employee engagement and make it a leadership priority?
Human Resource development has come a long way growing from being a mere people management function to fostering holistic organizational development. While employees are the critical assets of an organization contributing to the growth; the need to educate, engage and empower has been a neglected mandate of the organizational leadership leaving it to the hands of functional teams.
So, is employee engagement a HR function? Well not anymore. Employee engagement today is a leadership priority. The dynamics of the work environment has transformed employee engagement from being a tactical function to strategic business value oriented model and companies are gearing up towards framing an effective and productive engagement model.
Engaged employee to engaged workplace
It is a humbling experience for me to be part of an interactive and dynamic workforce. Having understood the dynamics of the Indian work environment, we have enabled ourselves to create a simple yet effective model to engage employees suitably. As a leadership mantra, I have always advocated for an open organizational structure in my organisation where employees have the freedom to express and exercise their roles that directly impact organizational growth. The fundamentals of employee engagement and relations I believe begin here!
Employee engagement is not merely about managing people but about fostering a positive work culture and environment that helps people grow and involve in the organizations growth. A rising trend that is seen amongst employees today, is the need for an ‘empowered experience’ and not mere ‘experience of employment’. Organisations on the other hand are striving hard to make this difference felt incorporating various initiatives and approaches as part of their engagement model.
Extrinsic recognition to intrinsic inclusion
The issue with effective engagement today is, that it is difficult to identify a single route to dealing with the process, considering various techniques that have been proven successful in spite of them being sector and situation independent.
Both the HR and organisational leadership have to wake up to the reality that there is an inherent need to make a difference. There is an equally critical need to shift the engagement focus from that of a shop-floor implementation by HR teams to the board room focus involving organisational leadership in developing an intrinsic and strategic involvement model. The model is to provide an empowered workplace environment and not just some cosmetic and extrinsic task/need focused recognition initiatives to employees.
A very common trend that most organisations notice is one where a new employee is extremely motivated and performs aggressively well in the initial six months. But within six months they are worn out, and there is a tendency to see them as a category of average performers. It is in this regard that organisations need to channelize and sustain the enormous levels of energy initially demonstrated by the employees.
There may be several approaches and measurement techniques to evaluate the impact of an effective engagement by internal and external experts; organisations have to choose the models which can provide an inclusive organisational leadership focus as a priority. Even a simple technique like AHEAD (‘Ask and pay Heed’ to what people have to say, ‘Enable and evaluate’ discussions on possible solutions, ‘Aid implementation’ and ‘Deploy success’ across work groups) can do wonders, provided there is inclusion, involvement and inspiration coming from the organisational leadership.
The success of any engagement model is to bring about a reciprocal sustained contribution by employees who take pride in being part of the value creation for the organisation’s stakeholders by sense of ownership, commitment, and loyalty reflecting a positive impact on the organisational productivity and resultant success of any engagement. A famous adage that can best explain the scenario is “Nobody ever washes a rental car”.