On a Friday evening, I was wrapping up my office work .Received a call from one of my friend who had promised to meet me over weekend however informed me that she will not be able to meet as her Company had organised an employee engagement initiative. My thoughts got stuck over the word Employee Engagement with a realization that Employees who are engaged in their work and committed to their organizations give companies crucial competitive advantage including higher productivity and lower employee turnover.
Policies and Practices that foster engagement and commitment in their workforce. Indeed, in identifying the three best measures of a company’s health, business consultant and former General Electric CEO Jack Welch recently cited employee engagement first, with customer satisfaction and free cash flow coming in second and third, respectively.
But what is employee engagement and commitment, exactly?
Some common themes include employees’ satisfaction with their work and pride in their employer, the extent to which people enjoy and believe in what they do for work and the perception that their employer values what they bring to the table. The greater an employee’s engagement, the more likely Employee is to “go the extra mile” and deliver excellent on-the-job performance. In addition, engaged employees may be more likely to commit to staying with their current organization.It is the “WoW” or the “Moment of Truth” that motivates an employee to feel engaged in the Organisation.
Employee Engagement: Key Ingredients
Employee Engagement Defined as ,”The extent of employees' commitment, work effort, and desire to stay in an organization.”
To compete today, companies need to win over the MINDS (rational commitment) and the HEARTS (emotional commitment) of employees in ways that lead to extraordinary effort.
How an employee thinks and feels about, and acts toward his or her job, the work experience and the company. Had read that The Gallup Organization defines Employee engagement as the involvement with and enthusiasm for work .Hewitt Associates defines Engagement as the state of emotional and intellectual commitment to an organization or group producing behavior that will help fulfill an organization's promises to customers and in so doing, improve business results.
Stay : They have an intense desire to be a part of the organization and they stay with that organization.
Say : They advocate for the organization by referring potential employees and customers, are positive with co-workers and are constructive in their criticism; and they strive to exert extra effort and engage in behaviors that contribute to business success.
Occupying the Job
There are degrees of engagement when a Employee is said to be “occupying a job role “ namely - “Employee engagement” and “Employee disengagement” actually representing two ends of a continuum.
At the “Employee engagement” end, individuals fully occupy themselves: physically, intellectually and emotionally in their work role. However at the “Employee disengagement” end, they uncouple themselves and withdraw from the role.
Committing to the Work and the Company
Experts define commitment as both a willingness to persist in a course of action and reluctance to change plans, often owing to a sense of obligation to stay the course. All of us are simultaneously committed to multiple stakeholders such as economic, educational, familial, political and religious institutions.. We might also on occasions commit ourselves to specific individuals, including their spouses, children, parents and siblings, as well as to their employers, co-workers, supervisors and customers. Commitment manifests itself in distinct behavior. For example, people devote time and energy to fulfill their on-the-job responsibilities as well as their family, Employee, community and spiritual obligations.
The Link between Employer Practices and Employee Engagement
An Employee possesses attributes such as knowledge, skills, abilities, temperament, attitudes and employability. Employee uses these attributes to accomplish work behaviors according to organization-defined procedures, by applying tools, equipment and/or technology.
Work behaviors, in turn, create the products and services that make an organization successful. We classify work behaviors into three categories namely:
Prescribed Behaviors: Those required to accomplish duties and tasks specified in a job description.
Voluntary Behaviors: Such extra behaviors that an employee contributes for the good of the organization Proscribed Behaviour: Behaviors prohibited by an employer including unexcused absenteeism, stealing and other counterproductive actions.
Employers naturally want to encourage workers to perform prescribed and voluntary activities while avoiding proscribed ones. To achieve these goals, organizations use a number of HR practices that directly affect the Employee, process and context components of job performance. Employees’ reactions to these practices determine their levels of engagement and commitment. Next we examine such practices.
Job Enrichment : Make the job roles more meaningful .Nowadays ,with increase in awareness and social media engagement, employees across levels understand the importance of job enrichment with resultant improvement in their performance with pushing themselves outside the formal job description and comfort zone.
Create an Engagement Culture:
Establish a receptive foundation for your engagement initiatives by creating an “engagement culture.” Communicate the value of employee engagement through your company mission statement and other executive communications.
Ideally the organization’s Mission Statement should reflect how the organization emphasizes the importance of engaged employees for organizational success.
Follow up and ensure that all units execute their engagement action plans. Monitor progress on engagement-improvement efforts, and adjust your strategies and plans as needed.
And finally last but not the least, be sure to recognize and celebrate progress and results.
Post Pandemic, the impetus on engagement of employees is on increase. Have been observing innovative ideas being churned out and put into practice to make work from home more meaningful .While discussing this with some of the business leaders, I was pleasantly surprised to hear them saying that they understand that a lady needs to balance her household work and with no maid help around during pandemic it has really become for the lady employee to manage work and home. No here I am not driving the gender bias discussion. However was pleasantly surprised to see that the acceptance of Woman as the backbone of the family.
Taking a cue from this, thought of discussing the employee engagement discussion with a
group of newly appointed Graduate Engineer Trainees from one of the premier Engineering College in India. They opined that the best employee engagement initiative was to make the employee understand their individual role in the company and engage in a creative manner by weaving in the Person specifiction,job description and the very goal of the organisation.
90% of the respondents from our research made a very interesting point that Communication plays a key role in setting the tone of Employee Engagement initiative in a company.
Do you agree? We would like to hear you views and ideas to make Employee Engagement more meaningful. Do connect with us.