Designing a holistic model of Employee Engagement

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Employee engagement is a way to make work surroundings more caring, interesting and challenging enough to keep employees motivated & to remain associated with the organization with his/ her optimum strength.

“This journey should start form YES and should end at WOW”

Employee Engagement now becomes one of the most focused aspects of HR operations, as the organization starts releasing that attracting the talent once is not enough to keep them with the organization further even if an employee is with the organization but not contributing significantly it is as good as virtual attrition.

Broadly the Employee Engagement can be categorized under the following subcategory:

  • Pre-hiring Employee Engagement
  • Post-hiring Employee Engagement
  • Post-separation Employee Engagement

Pre- hiring Employee Engagement

It’s a vast area to address and it depends on the organization’s vision/ mission, I have seen a few organizations sponsor Science Labs/ Bio Labs/ Libraries of the Professional Institutes/ B- Schools with branding all over the lab walls or corridor, the vision behind such sponsorship/ branding is to engage the future talent in advance and the organization become the ‘preferred employer’ at the talent development stage.

Another challenge the HR is facing today to bring the talent on board after issuing LOI and to reduce the chances of refusal after issuing the LOI. Pre- hiring Employee Engagement initiatives play a vital role in improving the joining % or reducing the refusal %. The organization does have different ways to do so but among which few popular initiatives are: mailing monthly Magazine, Annual Report, News Bulletins, CSR Bulletins, etc. Few organizations do send the joining kit with Visiting Cards, Product manuals, Brochures, Catalogs along with an office bag and few organizations send the candidate Uniform or T-shirts having quotes ‘ Welcome to …..’, ‘ You are the Best’, ‘ We don’t know your Past but we know your Future’, etc.

Post-hiring Employee Engagement

Organizations are doing excellent in this area and a lot of activities are considered under this umbrella i.e. Birthday Celebration, Marriage Anniversary Celebration, Picnic, Annual day celebration, having Quiz, games, fun at work activities, etc. and newly added activities like Yoga sessions, fitness at work, let’s dance, etc.

‘Skip level meetings’ and ‘cross-functional groups’ are very vital tools for Post hiring Employee Engagement as very few Employee Engagement Initiatives do have a scope of ‘correction’ where the management have the opportunity to take corrective action based on the feedback. To have accurate feedback to the management, to ensure a healthy working environment such a tool should be followed.

With digitalization the EE also found the complete new range of EE tools and the focus of most of such tools are socialization and such tools are more or so kind of social site or likewise internal sites effective in real-time engage­ment of employees particularly millennial.

Post-Separation Employee Engagement

Very few organizations opted for this policy and that too for certain grades of employees, but very effective in rehiring the talent. The industries having a limited talent pool in the employment market found this practice effective. I remember Mr. Sameer Khanna (VP-HR, Ericsson) shared the incident that while working with Britannia, he used to receive a bucket of cakes during Diwali and he was surprised when he kept on getting the same even after separating from Britannia and that promote him to be in touch with Britannia once again. He also shared how his family was engaged with Britannia after receiving such gifts every year.

The success of employee engagement does not limit to the engagement of employees only, its success depends on how effectively it engages the family of the employee as well.

How to design a comprehensive EE program?

The industry ecosystem is different in different organization and even the employee age group also differs from industry to industry, from time to time and the EE success depends on how efficiently it addresses the expectations of the employee as well as of the organization. Are the EE initiatives designed keeping in view employee perspectives only, or it comprises the organizations’ perspective as well?

Yes, few organizations do design the EE Schemes keeping in view the employee’s perspective only but most of the organization also weaved organization interest as well. For example, having a de-stress session, not only improves the engagement level of employees but also contribute significantly to improving the productivity of the employee.

Pre-hiring Employee Engagement should aim to motivate the candidate to join the organization and the motivation tool can be Information about Organization as well as about the Leaders/ Employees i.e. history, market positioning, future growth plan, success stories and growth plan of employees, etc.

As per GALLUP Survey a staggering 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged and also established that the higher the % of employee engagement, the higher the profit, higher the customer engagement/ satisfaction and lower % of employee attrition.

A Holistic EE Scheme should address all aspects of human needs irrespective of the age group and there lies the success.

Post-hiring Employee Engagement is a vast area but can be segregated in 8 major sub-sections and each subsection plays an important role in engaging the employees with their optimum potential.

1. Health: The initiative wherein it signifies that organization is committed to taking care of the health of employees as well as of his/ her family.

2. Emergency Support: Any helpline no. operating 24 by 7 to help employees any emergency situation whether it is related to medical emergency or vehicle failure emergency.

3. Engagement of Family: By way of sending the gift to every academic achievement of the employees’ son or daughter or scholarship program for one year for toppers from 1 to 12th standard, etc.

4. Skill Development/ Knowledge Enhancement: Every such program where 100% subsidies or partial subsidies by the organization, always engage the employees tremendously.

5. Participation: Participative approach in each major decision (wherever possible) employees feel motivated and remain engaged better than any other way as he feels a sense of ownership/ entrepreneurship.

6. Instant Reward and Recognition: We have hired many times a movie dialog “delay in justice is equivalent to the denial of justice” almost the same is true while rewarding/ recognizing the employees for any act of appreciation. Apart from any announced scheme in this regard like Annual/ By- annual reward schemes, rest should be done immediately.

7. Work Stress: Organizations should have a lot of activities to address the work stress on a daily basis to keep the employee engaged forever.

8. Social Engagement & Digital Initiatives: Organization Culture always dynamic and keep on changing with the time, Employee Engagement initiatives help in engaging the employees with a dynamic paradigm. The Digital employee Engagement initiatives are very important to bring the employee on the social platform of the organization and let them have a social environment within the organization, which is a must, particularly in the fast phase lifestyle, where humans started missing the social touch. Digital Employee Engagement Initiatives are the future and organizations well as an employee should be ready to adapt the same in the next few years.

Post-separation Employee Engagement Aspects:

The purpose of the initiative is to keep the employee connected with the organization even after separation and it’s a long term strategy to rehire the talent whenever he/ she look forward to changing from their present assignment, always check with the organization before thinking about any other organization as he/ she considers the organization as family or feel familiar. It also helps in creating a long-lasting employer branding, ‘The organization is forever’. Each employee engagement initiatives have their own short and long term impact and it should start from YES to WOW.

Are you surprised I have not explained, what is Employee Engagement, let’s explore?

Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organization to give their best each day, committed to their organization’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organizational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being.

Employee engagement is a way to make work surroundings more caring, interesting and challenging enough to keep employees motivated to remain associated with the organization with his/ her optimum strength.

Employee engagement success lies with the managers/ leaders and ‘managing the managers/ leaders in the right direction is the only way to success’.

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