An engaged workforce is crucial for organisational success. The COVID-19-led workplace disruption brought the ‘employee engagement’ term to the fore and it is considered the best way to measure workforce health and happiness.
Investing in employee engagement is beneficial for both employees and organisations. Engaged employees are more likely to be productive, innovative, and committed to the success of the company. Regular assessments, surveys, and feedback mechanisms can help organisations gauge and improve employee engagement over time.
As we prepare to bid adieu to 2023, a pivotal year of transformation, industry leaders and experts shed light on the current landscape of employee engagement. From prioritising well-being and transparent communication to embracing diversity and incorporating cutting-edge technologies, companies are redefining their approaches to ensure a thriving and purpose-driven workplace.
“This has been a remarkable year for many companies as we settle down from the immense shifts of the past few years — creating the space for a renewed approach toward employee engagement that is centered around the human element. As organisations navigate this path and strive to create the best employee experiences, falling back on the basics such as focusing on employee well-being, transparent communication, and attractive rewards & benefits can go a long way. I also see this as an opportunity for organisations to explore ways to recognise employees and create a culture of appreciation. Followed by L&D initiatives and team-building activities that come together to create a purpose-driven workplace,” says Pooja Madappa, vice president – Global HR, Netradyne.
Emphasis on people-first culture and well-being
In 2023, there were notable transformations in the realm of employee engagement, says Prashath Vasan, CEO at Madras Mandi. “Although the workforce's yearning for flexibility and work-life balance persists, there is an increasing emphasis on cultivating a people-first culture. Notably, 89% of employees engaged in wellness programs express elevated levels of engagement and happiness in their roles. This shift involves placing a premium on employee well-being, implementing extensive wellness initiatives, and fostering a culture of open communication.”
“Recognising the importance of driving productivity and fostering a positive workplace, employee engagement deserves ongoing and proactive monitoring as an integral aspect of organisational life,” says Vishnu Iruvanti, Head - Human Resources, Clear (formerly ClearTax).
Leveraging values of diversity and corporate responsibility
Employees also feel more engaged when their company emphasises diversity and inclusion, and provides opportunities for them to contribute to social and environmental responsibility initiatives.
Embracing diversity is not just a moral imperative; it's a strategic advantage. But the process doesn’t end with hiring a diverse range of people; creating equitable opportunities post-hiring is crucial. “Everyone is not built the same way and the rules that govern them should not be generalised. People with disabilities, for instance, will need additional provisions and a bias-free environment to provide their best. Mentorship and training are equally essential when working with a diverse workforce,” says Sujendra GS, Vice President, Human Resources, Creative Synergies Group.
“The inclusion of diverse perspectives and backgrounds ensures that every professional has a seat at the table, and equity paves the way for them to thrive,” explains Seema Vijay Singh, CHRO, MediBuddy.
Flexibility to drive productivity and positivity
The post-pandemic world has prompted a notable shift in employee engagement strategies. To meet the demands of a multi-generational workforce, organisations are actively investing in designing an exceptional work environment and flexible work arrangements.
In 2023, every organisation has given importance to providing a flexible working environment and has introduced employee initiatives that address some conventional mindset practices, enabling flexible work policy. “Traditional and old-school employees were given the necessary training and support to navigate through the new professional setup and workplace expectations. We implemented a customized personnel approach that prioritised individual empowerment via various well-being and development activities. Our employee retention rate this year has increased by 2X which indicates greater job satisfaction among people. We strive to build a working environment where people feel valued, appreciated, supported, and acknowledged. Our efforts to foster each employee have been an important thing to our achievement,” says Rikant Pittie, Co-Founder, EaseMyTrip.
Skilling as a way to boost job satisfaction
For Santosh Reddy, Co-founder and VP of technology at ShakeDeal, actionable AI, smart operation, and mobile asset optimisation are other noticeable trends that the supply chain industry witnessed in 2023. “Additionally, supply chain leaders are focusing on attracting, recruiting, and retaining top talent. Reskilling and upskilling the existing workforce are critical priorities. Technology transformation is also front and center, with investments in supply chain planning maturity, warehouse automation, and operational tasks. These trends are shaping the future of employee engagement in the supply chain industry, emphasising growth, resilience, and performance enhancement,” says Reddy.
According to Pooja Bansal, CHRO, Piaggio India, reskilling and upskilling the employees has proved particularly important considering the growth of automation and robotization in the automotive sector. “As cutting-edge systems and technologies shape how automobiles are designed, manufactured, and used, we have been able to future-proof ourselves by cultivating crucial capabilities in our current employees which is one of the key factors in our success. Our customised learning interventions have enabled quicker reskilling and upskilling of our employees,” says Pooja.