Engaging talents has always been a daunting task.
The top two challenges in engaging employees are: working with multiple different generations under one roof, and employees wanting fast-tracked career progression. Employee engagement leads organizations towards higher productivity, business success and numbers of delighted customers. But how many of us hit this right to the core?
Engaging employees is definitely a topic of concern among talents, which strongly ties to talent retention. Engaged employees have a great sense of ownership towards the organization, are most likely to stay longer than the rest, and contribute immensely to the organization, laying the path to high customer satisfaction as well as repetitive new businesses. Failure to fulfill this dissatisfies talents to certain extents, and leads them to the company exit door. Establishing a stronger brand name, combined with employee engagement initiatives obviously helps in retention.
Engaged employees have the added benefit of becoming your brand ambassadors. Invest in them.
Engagement also determines to what extent employees are willing to go beyond at their work, and what drives them to do so. Being a rationally committed employee to the organization makes one feel connected, and an employee will strongly believe in staying only if this is in their self-interest. I wouldn’t want to rule out emotional commitment in which employees believe in, and loves to be part of the organization for various reasons with a stronger “Sense of Belonging” to the organization. In your organization, is there an emotional attachment or detachment among employees and the organization?
Categorizing the engagement efforts and linking it with organization strategy and vision can be a first step to success of engaging employees. To start off, it is good to consider both long term and quick wins as well as key objectives of engagement initiatives followed by structuring the talent engagement pillars. Do not let the engagement efforts hang separately.
Align your long, and short-term goals for engagement.
Pillar 1: Communication
Bringing employees together by sharing information and being transparent removes communication barriers in the organization. Engagement efforts within this pillar aims to create crystal-clear information flows, be it top-down or bottom-up. I have personally experienced major communication breakdowns that stems with a vacuum at the mid-level management – key information does not reach all employees.
This is also closely linked with the core values of the organization on how communication is being practiced and managed. Combining both the traditional and modern ways of communicating, the core objective is to emphasize on the transparency and openness of the organization with the employees.
As a leader, your ability to instill trust is directly correlated with your willingness to be transparent with your employees.
Putting the right message across to all employees determines the success of this pillar. Information sharing is essential, and it has to be initiated by the superiors in the organization as a culture. Who should be spearheading and championing this, the communication department, management team, or managers?
Pillar 2: Motivation
Highly motivated employees are likely to perform better and stay more engaged than the rest. Whose role is it to motivate employees? Motivation can be fueled intrinsically or extrinsically. This pillar emphasizes on being a role model and creating positive sparks, along with engaging thoughts among employees. Exploring and understanding employees‘ motivating factors, and customizing it to their needs significantly supports the framework of the engagement model. How can we identify what motivates talents as it differs by cultures and countries? I was once asked by the General Manager to reward the best attendee to eliminate tardiness, yet how many of us agree on this? Is there one formula to motivate, or are multiple channels and efforts required? Go beyond monetary.
Having a comprehensive benefits plan serves to motivate employees beyond simple monetary terms.
Pillar 3: Recreation & Bonding
“Bond” is the magic word that brings employees and teams closer. An easy way of getting this done is to organize recreational and bonding activities such as team building, and integrating a simple mobile application that can be engaging and rewarding for them. An engaging activity strengthens relationships among the workforce, and indirectly helps in managing teams and performance. How much emphasis should an organization place on this? Is there a strong belief and awareness to champion this? How do we know that existing recreational and bonding activities are sufficient, or if a more innovative approach is required – especially to cater to the new generation’s needs at the workplace?
Team building – encourage bonding among colleagues in fun and engaging ways!
In a nutshell – identify, classify, and build upon these 3 pillars, and ensure you have success measures on every engagement initiative, alongside ensuring they are being tied up with the team and organizational KPIs.
Click here to view my e-book on “101 Ways to Engage Your Talents.”
About Prakash Santhanam
Prakash Santhanam is an experienced Talent Management practitioner specializing in Learning & Capability Management, Executive Coaching, Talent Engagement and Performance Management. He has remarkableinternational track record, aligning business strategy with talent strategy in reshaping organization leading towards regional and global success. He possesses 15 years of professional experience predominantly in the automotive, information technology and telecommunication industries across Asia Pacific and Africa. He is also the author to the book “101 Ways to Engage Your Talents“.