We know how everyone says that a company’s workforce is its biggest asset. However, to see this idea from the prism of performance, it will reveal that not every employee is an asset. Employees that perform well are assets; those who don’t are more of a liability. Is there an easy way of transforming your liabilities into assets? Maybe not. But if you start any such exercise, engagement will be the first and an indispensable part of this process.
Employee engagement is essential to a company’s success as disengaged employees mostly show negative performance metrics. If employees feel disconnected and unenthusiastic about their work, they would surely not be putting their maximum efforts which would reflect in their performance and at the end, would prove detrimental to a company’s bottom line. An HR’s role is not only to formulate and enforce company policies or recruit new candidates but also to make sure that the existing employees feel good about the work they are doing and the space they are in. So now the question comes, how to improve employee engagement in an organisation?
- Make each employee feel valued and engaged to improve employee engagement
- Use of technology is one of the ways of increasing employee engagement
- Providing learning opportunities to employees is a powerful employee engagement initiative
- Listening to employee feedback is a good exercise to improve employee engagement
- Employee recognition is a meaningful HR activity to improve employee engagement
Make each employee feel valued and engaged to improve employee engagement
An organization that supports multicultural workforce, where employees are from all walks of life, it is difficult to create a one-fit-applies-to-all employee engagement strategy. Treat each employee as an individual and tailor fit your approach by identifying behavioral traits and individual aspirations. For multinational companies where there are thousands of employees working out of different locations, this exercise may be a bit difficult but not impossible.
Conducting employee surveys is one way of assessing their individual tendencies. Depending on the end goals, the data collected from the surveys can be analyzed to identify the red flags, the roadblocks, the career interests, personal likes & dislikes, career aspirations of the individual employees. This data than can be shared with the respective managers to match the work of each employee with their skills, interest and comfort. Individual personality assessments are an easy way of making each employee feel valued and aligning their goals with the company’s goals.
(Also Read: Human Resources Trends for 2018)
Use of technology is one of the ways of increasing employee engagement
The right technology can be one of the most important drivers of employee engagement. Whether it is the career site which shows genuine stories of employees thriving in the workplace, or an HRMS that also allows employees to have a direct conversation with the concerned HR, the role of technology in increasing employee engagement is paramount. Chatbot is another innovation that can actually disrupt the entire employee-HR communication channel.
Equipped with natural language processing and machine learning, these chatbots will answer all employee queries, will grow intelligent in their responses with time through AI and most importantly communicate with them in real time, as and when required. There will always be some employees that will be more comfortable with a chatbot communication rather than a face to face interaction. Modern technology promises to cover all bases. Using gamification is another method of employee engagement that makes tasks appear more exciting and fun.
(Also Read: What is the Impact of Technology on Recruitment?)
Providing learning opportunities to employees is a powerful employee engagement initiative
Promoting a culture where employees are motivated to learn new skills and continuously work towards their professional development is great not only for increasing their productivity but also for fostering a collaborative culture. Where there is collaboration, engagement follows automatically. The more the employees are confident that their employer is interested in building their capabilities, the higher will be their trust and engagement. However, most employers consider budget a constraint in implementing such large scale training programs. Cross training is a simple exercise where employees teach other some aspects of their job. Workers learn to perform other people’s responsibilities in addition to their own. Investing in such activities increases camaraderie amongst employees, build loyalty and promotes engagement.
Listening to employee feedback is a good exercise to improve employee engagement
As per the Aon Global Employee Engagement report, effective leaders listen to the feedback of their employees and then act on it. This is why most organizations are now doing away from the once-in-a-year performance review and replacing it with a quarterly or a six monthly review of performance and feedback session. This helps in addressing problems quickly and also provides a boost to employee confidence.
Wherever there is a gap between expectations and performance, an HR needs to have an open and transparent communication with the employee to understand the hurdles and roadblocks they are facing. They need to bridge the communication gap between the manager and the employee without taking sides. The last bit is important as employee may suffer from a preconceived notion that HR will give more attention to the manager’s view than his own. It is the responsibility of the HR to dispel any such fear from the mind of the employee and give him an equal opportunity platform to voice his concerns, challenges and areas of development. This is what true engagement is all about.
Employee recognition is a meaningful HR activity to improve employee engagement
Lastly, the HR should run employee recognition and reward programs. High performing employees should be highlighted and rewarded with public recognition, not only to make them feel happy for their success but to set an example for other employees. The HR should define clear incentives and rewards for employees that consistently outperform and exceed expectations. These rewards may not be limited to monetary gains or a promotion.
Recognizing small achievements are equally important and in fact, more valuable when the goal is to get other employees motivated and engaged. Publicly calling out such achievers is the easiest and quite impactful way of making them feel special. Small gifts like gift certificates, souvenirs or movie tickets also help. Remember, the goal is to generate enough excitement amongst employees that they start engaging and working with greater zeal than before.