There comes a time when every business no matter what its size has to look within and ask itself, what is its biggest strength? What is that one thing that keeps the company going no matter what the odds. The answer staring right back at you is and will remain ‘the people’. They are the greatest and most vital pillars a company can have and that’s where employee engagement comes into play. Keeping these very employees wilfully engaged at work is, therefore, one of the key priorities for your company.
Are my employees happy?
Today, your workforce wants to be involved in “what’s going on” in the company and are constantly on the lookout for channels to establish a dialogue. With the growth of social media and an influx of fresh and young talent, it is but a fact that employees are talking about you more than ever.
Getting through the baggage that an employee tends to carry over the years is a noble but formidable task. For some it’s purely about striking the right balance between work and personal life or an attempt to build cohesive teams while for others, it’s about making work fun or enhancing their learning curve. All these factors have a profound influence on an employee’s willingness to learn and perform at work. What you need are measures to ensure employees find the right environment and culture to function effectively.
Does my company need this ingredient?
Well, yes you most certainly do. Research shows that happily engaged employees not only perform better, they also stay with the company longer and take on the role of evangelists of sorts, thus positively impacting attrition scores and your company bottom line.
This also helps build a positive public image of the company in the market, thus, attracting fresh talent that is driven and self-motivated.
A sense of loyalty and trust that engaged employees have for the company is a major positive for companies functioning in a competitive environment.
An engaged employee is aware of the business perspectives and works well with co-workers to advance performance within the job for the benefit of the enterprise. They are eager to know what the employer expects from them given their assigned role and wants to fulfil them.
Such employees desire to use their talents and strengths. They are passionate about what they do and always try to find innovative ways to help their organization progress.
How and where do I begin?
Walk the talk: Be at the forefront. Make employee engagement a priority. Monitor initiatives closely and ensure to keep accountability and responsibility at the heart of what you do.
Sometimes, all it takes is a fresh perspective. The first step, though, is to ‘listen’ to your employees. Try knowing about your employees’ interests, goals and the things that matter to them.
Provide variety: Tedious repetitive tasks can cause burnout and lead to boredom after a period of time. Introducing diversity by rotating duties and changing areas of responsibility can help break this monotony.
Make work fun and interesting: Allow your people to express and lead the change. Be with them all the way even when they are looking at pursuing their hobbies. Help them achieve a clear sense of work life balance.
Link engagement to your employee life cycle and you will see that it not only helps during recruitment (hiring someone who is a cultural fit) but also positively impacts retention scores.
Build dialogue and communicate: Start by explaining clearly to the employees what their organization expects from them. Elaborate on the organization’s vision, priorities and success measures and facilitate SKIP level meetings. That should kick things off.
So is this enough?
Here’s the thing. Employee engagement is not just about a one-time event, initiative, off-site or not just about having a town hall! It is not just about the annual bonus or the gifts around the festive season. Instead, it is about the culture one creates in an organization and how you can make an employee feel up to coming to work every day.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to building an engagement strategy, simply because your company cannot have an exact replica. What works for some company may not necessarily work for you.
Monitor progress. Keep a close watch on employee engagement scores and ensure you have follow-ups to take corrective action if needed. Remember making mistakes is not the issue. But not taking action… well… that’s some food for thought.
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As featured on the Society for Human Resource Management India Blog.