Organisations spend countless amount of energy, time and money trying to get to the soul of the employee engagement problem, but some fail to improve employee engagement. The burning question is – what are they doing wrong?
Like most companies, if you also look at engagement as a task involving endless commitments, long power point presentations and surveys, you are doing it wrong. You must understand that “Employee Engagement” is not an employee issue nor an HR concern – it is a Management problem.
What exactly employee engagement is?
It is an emotional commitment that one feels towards the organisation, and its goals of an organisation. When employees are engaged, they give discretionary efforts – which is a secret ingredient to gain in sales, productivity and eventually profits.
Now, let’s take a look at 6 reasons why pursuing employee engagement (WRONG WAY) is damaging your organisation.
1. Employee engagement programs are vast, internally focused distractions that create lesser or no value for which customers (employees) are keen to pay.
2. Observable behaviours tend to change. Hence, feelings and opinions collected through survey deliver no insight. It provides management with the data but no evidence how to make the improvements.
3. Often C-suite confuses the employee engagement initiative with agreeable but “soft” efforts to make their employees “happy”.
4. All the ideas come from the top level management where C-suite is brainstorming and action planning at the individual team level that can move the needle only. On the contrary, the action plan should be based on the relationships of line managers which they have with their direct reports (subordinates/team members).
5. Organisations tend to believe that employee engagement is all about the Friday parties, pep fests and Employee of the month rewards. However, the actual drivers of engagement are:
– Growth, and
6. Then in some organisations (or departments) an “undeserved raise and promotion” is another destructive trait of employee engagement program. Someone who is working hard feels under-appreciated then certainly your employee engagement program has a loophole. Moreover, it must be closed soon enough.
The employee engagement predicament has gone on long enough. However, there is still a scope of improvement, earlier you act faster you bounce back with lower attrition rate.
3 areas that need your immediate attention
1. Ensure clarity of purpose
Employees must understand precisely what they are trying to achieve, how well, why and with what constraints and priorities.
2. Ensure transparency of process
It is imperative for employees to understand how the process works, how they can best contribute, where they stand, believe they can support the course if things are off-centre.
3. Ensure clarity of roles
The responsibilities and talent must be well-matched so employee feels competitive nonetheless with a reasonable shot at excellence.
How should organisations improve employee engagement?
The C-suite or the business leaders (not the HR department) required caring honestly about their employees. It is imperative for them to take action on:
– Create a strategy
– Assign an engagement owner and a seat to management table
– Empower, the engagement holder, to make the change
– Communicate the plan or strategy
– Conduct a survey (qualitative assessments not the quantitative surveys)
– Handle the action planning
– Assign the timelines for completion
– Communicate the findings and subsequent steps
– Implement the adjustment and have constant communication of undertakings to plan
If employees are organisation’s pre-eminent asset, then managers and leaders should consider “caring” for employees as a priority. They must use every communication, opportunity and touchpoint to recognise and reinforce the organisation’s commitment towards employee engagement.