Never was the stark difference between successful employee engagement and the lack thereof among quarters of workers going through the upheaval of workplaces in disruptive situations felt more keenly by corporate leaders. On the one hand were the highly engaged workforce who felt cared for and cherished even in the middle of a pandemic. On the other were workers who had been turned adrift and didn’t know where to look for direction.
In the big picture painted by Gallup, 51% of employees feel some level of disengagement and 13% of workers have active negative feelings at work consistently. But closer home, a study by a reputed Global HR and Payroll company, ADP, suggests that India has an extremely positive and resilient workforce. The survey pegs 32% of Indian workers as having overall positive feelings about their workplace, which is far better than the global index of 15%. This means Indian workers encourage one another even after global crises and look to contribute positively again.
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While these statistics include extreme examples, they do illustrate one thing: employee engagement has to be a consistent, positive endeavor. It can take the form of continual ad hoc messages of reassurance, welfare measures, and useful content shared by the employer. The one motive of employee engagement is to keep employees connected, keeping them in the know of both good and challenging news, and making them a part of the journey towards solutions.
Employee engagement in action
The execution of employee engagement is both qualitative and numerical with the core of employee engagement being both a cultural phenomenon as well as a set of specific strategies rolled out intentionally and incrementally over time.
Here are some ways employee engagement can be brought about regardless of the times:
Forging a culture – culture is either supportive or isn’t. A supportive culture looks to help the workforce uncover strengths as well as weaknesses, helping them cover skill gaps through reskilling programs, refresher courses, and workshops. It does not victimize or shame employees for a weakness. The onus is on the top management as well as middle-level management to create a positive, supportive work culture.
Being unafraid of growth – learning and development often lead to a hunger for growth – and vice versa. Nested within this is a component of attrition at which employers might look askance. But in truth, the positive effects of helping employees scale new heights of learning, upskilling, and training in cross-functional roles are not to be tinged with suspicion. A growing employee is an engaged employee who will associate their growth forever with the organization that helped them grow. The brand name of the employer itself comes to be associated with a positive employee engagement oftentimes.
The top-down competency trickle – the readiness to empower employees with projects and deliverables that give them a sense of achievement is a conscious decision. The example has to begin at the very top of the hierarchy. When such discernment becomes part of the code at organizations, it gets backed by productivity and job satisfaction metrics and gains traction to further establish itself.
Perquisites and rewards – the meaning of appreciation has changed in the post-pandemic world. It is now normal to offer paid time off, flexible workplace timings, or childcare arrangements as part of a perquisites package, or a bespoke mix of these or more components as part of the compensation package. This is a welcome example of lateral thinking in making employees feel engaged.
Harness HR tech to measure employee engagement – this can be as simple as a barometric scale or a star rating that employees are encouraged to click after an event, briefing, or planning session. Or it can be a generic scale about the mood and wellness index to be chalked up every month or week.
A more virtualized and consistent approach toward tracking employee engagement than the one followed for years in the corporate structure of employment is definitely in order. The tools and means by which to do so are also plentiful. The outcomes advocate the use of employee engagement heavily.
- 5 Tips for Quickly Engaging Your Workforce|Gethppy|Ryan Ayers|
- 8 Employee Engagement Statistics You Need to Know in 2021|HR Cloud|Angela White|Feb 22nd, 2021
- India has one of the world’s most engaged and resilient workforces: Survey|ET Bureau|Brinda Sarkar| February 17th, 2021
- 9 Employee Engagement Statistics That Matter in 2021|Achievers.com|Caitlin Nobes|April 27th, 2021
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