Employee Engagement Challenges in WFA Model

HR 2021: Building the HR Framework of the Next Decade
2021 is going to be unique. It is a year of hope and uncertainty. On one hand, the promise of the vaccine and on the other, newer strains of the virus is putting pressure on the scientific community and nations at large to ensure the spread is contained and lives saved.

Employee Engagement Challenges in Work From Anywhere Model

Globally it is a challenging time for the Business due to Pandemic. Information technology and other service sectors, who can deliver their services virtually have moved to the option of WFH, WFA.

Employee Experience directly relates to the employee’s engagement.

1. What is Employee Experience and Employee Life Cycle?

Employee Experience is the journey an employee takes with the organization. It includes every interaction that happens during the employee life cycle, Plus the experiences that involve an employee’s role, workplace, manager, and wellbeing. – Gallup

Employee Life Cycle may look like Following: 

2. Employee Engagement

Kahn (1990) defines employee engagement as “the harnessing of organization members’ selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances”.

  • The cognitive aspect of employee engagement concerns employees’ beliefs about the organization, its leaders, and its working conditions.
  • The emotional aspect concerns how employees feel about each of those three factors and whether they have positive or negative attitudes toward the organization and its leaders.
  • The physical aspect of employee engagement concerns the physical energies exerted by individuals to accomplish their roles.

Thus, according to Kahn(1990), engagement means to be psychologically as well as physically present when occupying and performing an organizational role.

Employee Engagement challenges  are reviewed on 3 Aspects :

  • The cognitive aspect: Ensuring remotely we can establish the right communication and interactions with Leaders, Policies& Processes of the organization.
  • The emotional aspect: Creating a Positive impression in the mind of employees and seek feedback on the Integration with the organization.
  • The physical aspect: Energizing to deliver and monitoring, measuring the contributions.

3. Aspects of Engagement at the Organization Level and Challenge in WFA –PHASE

• Very High  • High • Moderate • Low.based on interactions with HR fraternity.

Employee Engagement/ Employee Life Cycle Cognitive EmotionalPhysical
    Talent AttractionRight inputs for generating the confidence about the organization, Leadership, and career  opportunity.Connect with Leaders and HR from the organization to have more clarity on the Policies, Processes.Sharing the details about workplace, facilities etc.
    ChallengesNeeded More persuasion and clarity on the stability and security for getting attracted.To have more senior person to speak to give clarification and confidence.WFA, More focus on Support provided for WFA. Few Orgnizations do not provide the financial assistance.

Talent Acquisition
Assessment Process and Multiple face to face interactions.connecting with respective Leaders and Teams during the Selection Process.Face to face Interactions and feel of the future workplace and overall treatment.
  ChallengesAdaptability for  Virtual assessment and Interviewing: New Learnings for  both Interviewee and Interviewer, essential to have the right tools and processes.  Additional efforts to set up the timings and coordinate with multiple stakeholders, results delay in the process.Efforts to give confidence to the candidate about the work conditions and transition post pandemic.
    On-boardingWelcome on time, take care of day one. Ensure right connects are done for employee to have the best memories of day 1.Induction to share the values, goals of the organization and Processes, Policies to make people resolve their queries and feel to be part of the organization.Lunch with Leaders, Peers, allotting the workplace and providing required IT equipment’s and infrastructure.
ChallengesVirtual Onboarding with Infrastructure challenges and tools. Many times face to face is not possible with videos not being operated by a presenter or by employees.While this is done virtually, whether the employee is having complete attention and understands the inputs is not clear.Orgnizations are substituting the physical connect with other alternatives of joining gift or gift vouchers.
Employee EngagementSurvey’s for feedback -Pre-hire experience – Onboarding day1 -On completion of the first 6 months -Bi-yearly feedback from all employees on the Happiness scores, based on the critical aspects of the employee life cycleCommunicating  results of feedback. Leaders to commit on the improvements needed and action plan with timelines. Engaging the employees – -Organization Values.                   -Wellbeing, Fun-activities, events celebration.Making a Change and having satisfactory feedback.   Participation and contribution to ideas.
ChallengesEmployees participation is on the lower side
  Performance Management and DevelopmentFairness and just in the process of the Evaluation and AppraisalClear Process and mutually accepted Goals and appraisal process. Developmental feedback Adherence to the timelines and face to face evaluation, appraisal discussions.
ChallengesRefreshed assurance needed for the employee in the current situation, as there are external factors too have an impact on the thinking.Not able to have the Right timelines and going as per polices as the business scenario is unstable.Many orgnizations have started continuous feedback process, However while the process is done the revision of pay timelines are not certain.
Career Development and RetentionCareer Plan, Clear plan for employee based on the achievement for the progression.Communication and the policies for the Career progression and action required.Working and making it happen.
ChallengesThe organization is not able to stick to the plans due to uncertain business scenarios.Not able to go by the Policies as not able to have the Progression being done during the uncertainty.No commitment on the timelines.
  SeparationA supportive environment for the employee while leaving the organization.  Set process and details for the exiting employees with no ambiguity.Implementing the process and clearance and settlement as per the timelines.
 Challenges    Based on business Conditions if there are layoffs the policies cannot be followed at all.

There could be a different impact, depending on the stage and business situation of the organization.

The prominent challenge is to engage Employees with different categories. As their work from Anywhere Situation will be different.

  • Bachelor Employees – Generally away from the house at shared accommodation with dependence for all services on someone else.
  • Working Couples – Sharing the work at home and managing partly with external help.
  • Families –   Office work and children to look after.
  • Joint Families – Managing the workplace in the house and looking after elders in the family.

Very High to High  Impacted Life Cycle events based on impact scores are:

  1. Separations.
  2. Performance Management.
  3. Career progression.
  4. Employee Engagement
  5. Onboarding process.

These challenges are going to be around us for the mid to long term.  The way forward needs a brainstorming and evolving with new methods to face the challenges. The above 5 focus areas needs a dynamic approach to review, reengineer, and re-engage continuously. 


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