Serge da Motta Veiga on Work Relationships among Employees

Serge da Motta Veiga on Work Relationships among Employees
First and foremost, HR alone cannot build strong relationships. A company’s culture plays a vital role, as it influences how employees interact with each other and their managers.

In Conversation with Serge da Motta Veiga Professor of Human Resources Management EDHEC Business School, France on Work Relationships among Employees

Serge da Motta Veiga is a professor of Human Resources Management at EDHEC Business School in France. He has extensively researched Talent Management, Career Management, Job Search, Recruitment, and Motivation.

He received a Ph.D. in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior from the University of Missouri, USA, and a license in Economics from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.

Q- How do you see a paradigm shift in workplace engagement and relationships?

I have a two-part response. First, recent studies show that employees are less engaged with their companies and employers. The main reason for this is that they tire of their current job as soon as they begin mastering it, that they are constantly seeking new challenges, and that employers are often too slow to help employees find new tasks to keep them content.

As such, there is room for increasing engagement by considering employees as individuals who want to learn and develop throughout their careers. There is more and more debate about making companies skill-based rather than job-title based because this would allow for more flexibility in hiring and team development.  

This leads to the second part of my response. This shift in workplace engagement has changed the employer-employee relationship. There is a need for increased communication and understanding of employer and employee expectations. This increased communication could help improve relations and keep employees (and their managers) happy at work.

Q- What is the role of HR in building strong workplace relationships among employees?

First and foremost, HR alone cannot build strong relationships. A company’s culture plays a vital role, as it influences how employees interact with each other and their managers. Such an endeavor should be undertaken by the top leadership in partnership with HR so that employees buy into positive relationship building (i.e., leading by example).

As such, HR acts as a partner in building and facilitating a company’s culture and how employees work together on projects, challenge and push each other and support one another in times of stress. Companies should avoid forcing employees to compete against each other, as this can negatively affect employees’ morale and lead to increased turnover.

Q- How do you encourage camaraderie at the workplace to keep employees motivated and on task?

I don’t believe camaraderie is necessary to keep employees motivated and on task in the office. Indeed, not all companies or employees need camaraderie to perform well.  In my experience, a company’s culture is the most critical element in fostering positive relationships at work.

Some companies have a culture that is conducive to a collegial and supportive work atmosphere, while others don’t. Perhaps, companies should focus on having an environment where managers lead the way by encouraging and supporting their peers and subordinates and listening to them to their expectations, needs, and interests.  If leaders do it right, then employees will follow.

Q- What are the top five effective ways to engage and motivate employees?

I can’t sum it up in five points because, in my opinion, employee engagement and motivation depend on a company’s organization, the type of work it does, and the services it provides. That said, a critical key to engaging and motivating people in any industry or business is free and open communication and exchange between employers and employees. Employees are often interested in learning and growing with a company (i.e., career development).

One way to engage and motivate them is to provide a career development plan to understand what they need to succeed and how they want to develop in their careers. In return, employees will be more committed to the company and seek ways to help it grow. Along the same line, asking employees how they prefer to work is essential, especially in today’s world. Do they like working remotely, hybrid, or in the office?

Do they like working autonomously or in teams? If you aren’t checking in with your employees, they are probably checking out and looking for a job elsewhere.

Q- What are the top reasons for moonlighting? Should it be allowed?

Some people must moonlight because one job does not pay them a sufficient salary to provide food and shelter for themselves and their families. However, I think this question concerns employees with side projects (e.g., starting their own company). Indeed, an increasing number of employees have side projects (not side jobs but entrepreneurial ventures) that they dedicate time to before or after their official workday (and sometimes even during the official workday).

In my opinion, this is beneficial for companies (given that employees are not neglecting their full-time job duties) because these side projects are often linked to the employees’ full-time work and can sometimes lead to exciting and even financially lucrative partnerships when the side project takes off.

Employees take on side projects because they want to start something of their own and be independent. They might also be bored at work, so they are looking for a challenge. Employers must keep track of employees and their side projects so that employees return to the company when and if they fail.

Q- Any final words?

In Human Resources management, flexibility is critical. There is not one solution or answer that fits all situations. It is essential to understand, listen, and communicate to ensure employees are satisfied, and if not, what could make them happier.

Along these lines, it is essential for both employers and employees to be flexible, to understand that needs and expectations change, and to be able to adapt.

Thank You, Serge!


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