Business houses are made or broken in the long run not by market or capital or patents or equipment’s, but by men” as rightly remarked by L. Urwick.
If the right people are employed and extremely engaged, then the organization will survive and grow in the long run. An “engaged employee” is one who is fully involved in and enthusiastic about his/her work and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization’s interests. Many organizations believe that engagement is a dominant source of competitive advantage. It is of utmost importance that the senior leaders increase the engagement scores in their organization. Business leaders know that disengaged employees are among the biggest threat to their business. More importantly, it is the frontline managers or people leaders who should start focus on engaging employees rather than managing.
It is often said that people voluntarily leave their managers and not their company. This is partly true because some people stay in the organization because of their managers. Research from leading companies states that there is a strong correlation between employee engagement and company performance. Moreover, it’s the line mangers that play a vital role in employee engagement. It is the manager who executes the organizational strategies, goals, policies and procedures. As Professor John Purcell of Warwick University says, it’s the manager who brings HR polices to life. Highly engaged managers have highly engaged teams. Highly engaged teams go over and beyond their regular tasks and aid in increasing business goals. Employee engagement is an emotional experience; so let’s see below how managers can SHARPEN employee engagement by following the seven steps to enhance employee performance and business performance. Engagement is a combination of seven emotional factors: Satisfaction + Happiness +Advocacy +Recognition+ Pride+ Empowerment +Nurture
1. Satisfaction: Employees get satisfaction when they achieve something or when something happens as per their desires and needs. Therefore, a manager needs to provide opportunities for achievements. Managers may make the ordinary work challenging, interesting, involving and stimulating to meet and match the needs and desires of employees. When employees do something useful, meaningful and enjoyable in their work life, they get a sense of satisfaction and achievement; the managers can also fulfill his and the organization’s goals. Every employee gets satisfaction from various things like quality of work, conducive work environment, congenial relationships with managers, peers, transparent leadership, right systems, precise processes so and so forth. Managers need to understand and take feedback from the team and take action to engage them accordingly
2. Happiness: The employee experiences fulfillment when his knowledge, skill and abilities are being used. Employees feel happy when their managers listen, understand, encourage and involve team to take risks. Managers need to provide feedback and support when required to achieve stretched goals. Once employees experience care, concern and respect, they feel happy and appreciated for.
3. Advocacy: When employees experience sense of satisfaction and happiness with the quality of work, their rapport with people and healthy work environment. Employee will be fully engaged, productive, committed, contributors and they stay put in the organization for long term and rarely looks for changing the company and more over they would be recommending their friends, relatives, former colleagues to join their company. If the employee referrals are more in the organization it indicates that employee has satisfaction and happiness and his willingness to continue to stay put in the organization. Eventually employee becomes a true brand ambassador for the organization to attract and retain talent.
4. Recognition; Employee become committed and highly engaged when he receives timely recognition for his work from the manager. It is the responsibility of the manager to monitor the performance of the team, appreciate the good work and provide regular constructive feedback on areas of development and provide them opportunities to performance better. Rewards and recognition go a long way in motivating and engaging employees in the long run. More than the rewards, recognition is very important and it has a long-term effect unlike monetary rewards, which are short lived. At the end of the day, employee needs rewards and recognition apart from the satisfaction and happiness.
5. Pride: This is another important factor for employee engagement. Employee takes pride in working for the organization, which produces high quality of products and services to the community, better facilities and performs business in highest ethical standards and treats people with respect and dignity. It’s the leader’s responsibility to set a clear vision and set of integrated and enacted values, which would likely project them as being well worth working. Thereby, the employee derives satisfaction and stays in the company for long term and takes pride to be part in achieving organization vision and mission.
6. Empowerment: Every employee wants to work in the organization where he has the autonomy to act, express his views and take decisions without any fears. It should allow him to take risks and help support his dreams by defining the paths to set goals. Freedom and flexibility in the work environment allows the employee to engage and achieve their personal and professional goals.
7. Nurture: The last and the important step to engage employees for the long term is to provide them opportunities to learn new jobs, skills, tools and develop their competencies to take up higher responsibilities and challenges. Coaching and mentoring sessions for career progression, regular timely feedback, structured short-term and long-term learning and development programs will help the employee renew their professional competencies, enhances future employability and helps them to stay in the organization for the long term.
SHARPEN Employee Engagement Summary: Managers play an important role in first satisfying the employee need and desires by providing opportunities for achievement and helping them to drive happiness by recognizing their good work and rewarding them reasonably at the right time. Employees take pride in working in the organization where high quality products and services are delivered. Providing freedom and flexibility in work life and continuous learning and development opportunities helps employees to be highly engaged and eventually they refer others to join the organizations. Engaged employees are easier to retain in the organization and generate revenues more than the competitors with low engagement levels. So it’s time to start engaging employee rather than just managing employees.