For years, employee engagement as a concept has had its fair share of experimentation and evolution and now it has taken a significant position in the HR domain over a period of time. Factors such as increased global competition, linkage between attitude, behaviour, business performance (supported by a huge amount of research) and shift from a manufacturing-led economy to a service-led one have cumulatively led to this transition.
Considering the demands of the current work force, the disruptive trends that are shaping and reshaping the professional landscape, it is imperative that organisational heads and HR professionals stop and review their current stand on employee engagement to ensure effectiveness and business success. In short there are three non- negotiable aspects which have to be considered for a robust employee engagement strategy: style, technology and experience.
Realign the leadership style
It is important to realign leadership principles and style to cater to the emerging needs of today’s workforce. Being a people leader today is not just a matter of intelligence and intellect but also involves emotional quotient. Today’s workspace has multiple generations working together, which brings a variety of working styles and motivators to the workplace.
A manager’s role has seen a significant transition from just being an administrator assessing and correcting their team’s performance to someone who walks the road with the team supporting and engaging with them on a daily basis. It is important that every manager ensures a certain amount of hygiene around workplace happiness. This reflects strongly in leadership training, performance management processes as well as organisational communication.
Digital employee engagement
Today, we have a completely new breed of tools and applications for pulse checks, continuous feedback and frequent check-ins. The simple objective targeted through these tools is constant connect—enabling employees to engage , celebrate success, share feedback that shapes decisions and most significantly, generating a feeling of being heard. What is exciting to note is the way in which employee engagement, as a domain, brings together technology as well as some core human elements like conversations and connect.
In an era of technological revolutions, engagement principles are consistently focused on establishing a humane, connected and flexible environment to accommodate the needs of a multigenerational workforce. Interestingly enough, technology has been blamed in the past for taking away from human connection. The contemporary employee engagement scenario is, therefore, a unique space that leverages virtual connect to cater to the technology appetite of employees, yet providing a platform that enables continuous interaction.
Increased focus on employee’s experience
The third shift is simply how engagement is looked at. While, for years, it was restricted to fun events and activities at work, in the last few years it has evolved into something much broader in scope. It is now an aspect that cuts across various HR and business domains and impacts every aspect of life at work, starting from onboarding to performance management to exits. Contemporary engagement strategies include experience-based rewards, authentic career conversations, exploratory exit connects, and end-to-end plans that touch every crucial point of the employee lifecycle. It seems as if engagement is a constant objective of the implementation of all people-related processes. And if there is one element that is emphasised throughout, it is the human element.
Review the essence and objective of the preceding paragraphs and you would see that it points towards only one thing—managing the affective state that people experience at work. To connect, listen, implement feedback, and enhance employee experience in a continuous journey to promote wellbeing—this outlines the engagement vision for any HR leader. One of the biggest outcomes of this paradigm shift in the perspective on employee engagement is, how organisations view their own performance and success. It is no longer restricted to the balance sheet; it is much more holistic than that and covers contribution to society, brand value, and other long-term non-financial outcomes.
It seems as if HR as a function has brought its attention back to focus on a foundational principle—the way a workforce feels about its workplace will definitely affect the organisation’s balance sheet. And look at the impact of this shift. Engagement is no longer just a workplace approach; it is an ever-evolving, living element, the reach of which is not restricted to infrastructure, environment, and activities, but one that extends to the psyche of employees. It is easy to design an engagement strategy, but much harder implement it in a sustainable and impactful way. An easy prediction can be made through— organisations that can incorporate this evolving engagement psyche into their daily way of functioning will certainly be future ready.
Comment below to let us know if your company has managed to master employee engagement and how; or tell us your ideas on the subject!