Talent is the biggest challenge organizations are facing in today’s environment where the millennials are taking charge. Employers all over the world are looking to find ways to keep employees engaged. Gallup research shows that only 13% of employees around the world are actively engaged at work, and more than twice that number are so disengaged, that they are likely to spread negativity to others.
If people are not engaged, how can leaders attain those business objectives that are critical to improving organizational performance? And, at the same, we need our leaders to engage employees.
An engaged employee becomes an asset to the team, department, business unit and organization by continuously thinking about the bigger picture. In his book, Getting Engaged: The New Workplace Loyalty, author Tim Rutledge explains that the truly engaged employees are attracted to, and inspired by, their work (“I want to do this”), committed (“I am dedicated to the success of what I am doing”), and fascinated (“I love what I am doing”). Engaged employees care about the future of the company and are willing to invest the discretionary effort – exceeding duty’s call – to ensure that the organization succeeds.
Talent engagement is not a goal, it is a state of being; focus should stay on sustaining it.
Most organizations have an annual employee engagement survey which helps leaders assess the engagement levels but it’s the open environment of the workplace that keeps the engagement going. In today’s world, Enterprise Social Network (ESN), (Think of those like internal Facebook kind networking platforms – e.g.: Yammer, Jive, Connections etc.) allows employees to network, collaborate and engage in meaningful conversations. Open talent communities allow cohorts to stay together, connected and engaged in learning. Idea generation, project discussions, meaningful conversations etc happen through ESN, asynchronously, allowing engagement and communication at all times. Experts are available at all times, questions get answered quickly, and productivity soars!
IBM’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ginni Rometty, transformed the corporate culture by deciding to skip that staple of corporate communications, the company-wide email. Instead, she made a video, outlining her priorities as the leader, and posted it to IBM Connections. The video and the open culture went viral. Efforts like #SocialHRSuccess, which was a huge success, and has been externally recognized by HR.com at their LEAD 2016 Awards for “Best Use of Social Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing” are paving way to engage workforce beyond boundaries.
Engagement needs to happen at all times – some organizations take engagement a step further by interacting with employees and interns who have accepted the offer and yet to join the organization. Using open social platforms, organizations connect with the employees and enable signature experience for the workforce. I am leading Talent transformation for India South Asia, Sales and Distribution and here is some feedback I got last week for the work we are doing, from an intern, “I would like to thank you for engaging with of us through these activities. It really makes me feel closer to the company and also makes me excited for the next two months at IBM.”
As per Harvard Business Review report 71% of respondents rank employee engagement as very important to achieving overall organizational success, while only 24% of respondents say employees in their organization are highly engaged. Which is not only shocking but tells us that we are sitting on a ticking time bomb.
There are many ways organizations are trying to tackle this challenge but most of the actions fail to inspire employees because they don’t envision what organizations see. In HBR survey, almost three-quarters of respondents chose “recognition given for high performers” as their top choice, followed by “individuals have clear understanding of how job contributes to strategy” and “senior leadership continually updates/communicates strategy” and “business goals communicated company-wide and understood.”
We all know that once employees and customers are engaged, they will become ambassadors out there for the organization. Their interactions outside the work environment will create the brand, which our corporate communication team has been killing itself to do. Social makes it authentic, it makes it real. This level of engagement in social will result in attracting the right people. The biggest plus is sustainable productivity, which happens only when employees are engaged.
Do you work for an organization where employees are engaged? What do you do differently? Share your thoughts.