Employee Engagement is a fundamental concept in the effort to understand and describe, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the nature of the relationship between an organization and its employees. Since last two decades, the organizations are focusing on employee engagement a lot. they are spending a considerable attention & amount on this so that employees are kept happy, engaged with improved performance. But the truth is that not much is achieved on this in spite of much efforts. According to Gallup’s latest poll, employee engagement has been pretty stagnant. There has been much hype of this term whereas truth has been different. This could be because of the fact that our approach to employee engagement is not correct. We need to understand the real truth behind employee engagement. We need to understand that engagement must grow organically from inside out.
According to Bersin by Deloitte, “employee engagement has become the top issue on the minds of business leaders, directing us to an entirely new model of management”.
Business is a living, breathing entity. It undergoes change, grows and recedes, gets broken and heals. The people are the individual cells that work together to ensure that the entity is healthy, productive, and thriving. Hence, for improving employee engagement, we must pay attention to the changing needs of our employees. Rather than the superficial practices for engagement, we should look for vitals of human bonding. Now is the time to think of engagement on a different level where technology, talent & transformation will blend smoothly.
With changing time & constantly upgrading technology, the scope & focus of employee engagement has also evolved. Now there are many unique tech tools to gauge the pulse of the employees. Artificial Intelligence is the next big thing which can happen at the workplace. It is reported to has the potential to assess employee’s skills & innovation priorities & suggest activities to spark creative thinking throughout the organization.
So technology is definitely aiding in engagement through different ways. There are many applications & tools for getting the real time data & insights on what employees are feeling, which can help the organizations to customize their initiatives in accordance to employees expectations. The internet, mobile devices & cloud technologies are helping organizations with continuous connect with their employees. The virtual workplaces are harnessing people-focused culture. Social recognition systems are top of mind for many organizations today, to let the employee know that their contributions are valuable.
More organizations are embracing work-life balance & this will lead the employee engagement turf in future. There are many jobs which does not require employees to come office everyday. They can get their work done while sitting at home. So, many companies are providing their employees the option of ‘work from home’ and flexible timings as per their convenience (early or late from the set 9-5 office hours).
Financial incentives & new perks does not keep employee engaged any more. Many research studies say that when employees are promoted to a higher level of income & new facilities, they quickly adapt & become dissatisfied again. So, its important to understand that engagement involves more than a salary raise. Rather provide employees with a meaningful work, help them understand why their work is important. Management should focus on providing employees with adequate information on the organization’s vision & long term objectives. They must understand what is expected of them & how their contribution is linked to the bigger picture.
Many organisations think that managers are responsible for engagement but its not completely true. If the organization lacks in vision, transparency & fair policies that promote engagement, managers cannot bring magic. Managers can only accelerate, they cannot create engagement alone.
With digitization everywhere & millennials becoming a key part of our workforce, the best way to engage employees is to ensure an empowering, engaging & an enjoyable work experience. It is must to create a great employee experience, creating flexible working programs for a multi-generational workforce & enabling employees to balance their work-life needs. In the nutshell, organizations must practice agility to the ever changing needs of employees. Some of the HR practices may become obsolete & thus HR needs to keep the pace with fast changing workplace & industry dynamics.