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Can an engaged workforce take the organisation to great heights? Read on
Various researches have been conducted in the past and all of them have one thing in common, which is, if an organisation wants to sustain in the long run, it's essential to have an engaged workforce. Employee engagement should begin at the grass root level and must be maintained throughout.
"Employee engagement is the most critical metric for organisations as it reflects and drives organisational performance. Customer satisfaction, innovation, profitability, productivity and employee loyalty are the results of having an engaged, committed workforce. In times of uncertainty, organisations typically focus more on trimming operating expenses and not so much on managing their talent and engaging with their employees. However, smart leadership realises the need to identify long-term talent management strategies to remain viable, without losing sight of the fact that engaged employees make all the difference between surviving and thriving," says Sriram Rajagopal, vice president- HR, Cognizant.
In today's highly uncertain market environment, what distinguishes winning organisations is not much to do with their assets but their human capital. "'Doing more with less' does not mean conjuring higher levels of motivation out of thin air; it is about motivating employees to perform at their best by providing necessary resources and support. Managers must combine engagement (the use of motivational tools), with enablement (the act of providing employees with effective resources), in order to reach optimal levels of employee satisfaction and productivity. They must provide adequate training, support, and discretion to grow, and not hold employees back with excessive procedures, decision processes, lack of resources and overly narrow roles," says Mark Royal and Tom Agnew, authors of Enemy of Engagement.
According to a survey by HR Anexi, more than 32 per cent of the employees leave in the first 9-12 months as they feel a misfit in the organisation. Therefore, there is a need for employee engagement and its significance in the organisation. Employees feel engaged when the organisation enables them to achieve high levels of productivity. How then can employees contribute towards keeping themselves engaged? "The value of an organisation is its ability to harness the energies and talents of individuals and convert the collective effort into an exponential performance and the organisation as a best employer. At Standard Charted Bank, every individual is accountable for his or her own engagement; anyone with teams is expected to coach team members to higher levels of engagement and manage his or her own engagement," states Madhavi Lall, regional head -HR, India & South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank.
"Engagement and productivity go hand in hand. While organisations definitely need to work upon creating conditions that enhance employee engagement, since employee engagement is a ‘state of mind', the employees can also contribute towards keeping themselves engaged. This could be achieved by:
- Take charge of your own career and then seek support from other (managers, HR etc.) – You are primarily responsible for shaping your own career, others can only facilitate. Hence, you should be clear on what are your career goals and how do you want to achieve them;
- Maintain a good work-life balance – People carry their personal emotions/ state of mind to work. Personal contentment thus, contributes to engagement at work," opines P Dwarkanath, director – group human capital, Max India.
So what is the route to building a cohesive workforce? "There are several basic building blocks that create an environment for engagement – communication, career development, non-financial levers of engagement and motivation, and performance management. Focusing on these basics can have a profound impact on positive employee engagement and company performance," asserts Sunil Pathak, director – HR, Cadence Design Systems (India).
Getting an engaged workforce is not just about investing financially in employees through perks or pay hikes. It is about striking a new contract in which the organisation invests emotionally in its workforce. In exchange, employees make a similar emotional investment, pouring their ‘discretionary effort' into their work and delivering superior performance. The new contract says, "We'll make your job (and life) more meaningful. You give us your hearts and minds."
- Manoj Reddy