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September 25, 2019 Comments Off on Employee Engagement: A Head to Heart Strategy Views: 146 Employee Experience

Employee Engagement: A Head to Heart Strategy

Recently, I was invited to a B-School for a lecture on being future ready to imbibe a workplace culture. It’s ironic how the first thing that came to my mind was the fact that this millennial workforce could make or break the rate of attrition in their respective profiles.

Workplaces have evolved over a period of time and have embraced a lot of flexible perks as well. But what happens when organizations fail to engage the workforce?

Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report released in 2017 stated that only 13% of Indians are engaged at work, irrespective of whether employed in the organized sector or otherwise.

How far do you think will this number go by 2020?

Rational v/s Emotional

The head says keep it strictly professional. Numbers matter the most – Invest in increasing productivity, supplement the existing internal communications with more visually appealing campaigns, reiterate the fundamentals of the organization and devise strategies that result in a better ROI.

But the heart functions on a different tangent – It questions. What about work-life integration? Shouldn’t we establish equivalent employee assistance programmes? Shouldn’t we ensure that their professional deadlines don’t impact their personal relationships? Shouldn’t decisions be made with empathy instead of making snap judgements?

Some would say that by letting one’s emotions take over administrating employees could lead to them taking advantage of certain perks and policies, while some would counter it by saying that by neglecting employee’s well-being can lead to poor productivity and reduced creativity.

An Offbeat Offsite 

Just a couple of weeks ago, the team received a brief for planning a two-day offsite for 50 individuals at the middle management level. The email outlined two things to be kept in mind while planning – One, an offbeat activity that encourages team bonding. Two, the activity should not be for more than one hour as we have presentations lined up.

A classic case of quality over quantity. Less time, intense interactions, unreal expectations. Fostering a bonding takes time and demands a pre as well as post communication to set the right context and create the appropriate amount of inquisitivity to participate. An offsite is a part of engagement, not a medium to measure the impact.

Empower Before Engage

What truly is engagement and how do we ensure that it sustains?

Is engagement only about feeling happy at work? Better team building activities, motivational talks by senior leadership, additional financial incentives or the autonomy of decision making? Research has proved that employees are bound to an organization not because of the salary package offered; but more so due to the culture that they imbibe.

Nurturing skillsets, facilitating technical training to scale up, guaranteed professional growth opportunities and a sense of purpose also add up towards building a workplace culture. Telling your employees that their contribution is appreciated is simply not enough. Make them feel it. Increase the recognition forums, include more of team bonding over team building. Empower them to make time for their personal life along with the increasing demands of the workplace.

Head Is The Execution, Heart Is The Approach

Our minds shape our attitude towards work and thus engaging it is more crucial. Emails, newsletters, notice board announcements – Ain’t they really an outdated mode of communication? How does one reach out then?

If it’s the mind that wanders – Engage It. If it’s the heart that ponders – Indulge It.

Have always wondered if engagement should be manifested with a top down approach. Should it always be the responsibility of the top management to initiate engagement? Or should there be representatives from within the teams to champion it?

Employee Engagement Evolves to Employee Experience

What is the difference you’re wondering? The former is a means of measuring an employee’s commitment to the organization while the later, holistically encompasses the lifecycle of an employee.

Ensuring that an employee is not just aware about the organizations vision and values, but voluntarily propagates them as a cultural ambassador, forms an integral part of creating the employee experience.

(Source: Gallup)

The equation is simple:

Good employee experience + Catering to employee’s emotional needs

= Increased productivity + Better retention

This article first appeared on HR.Com.

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