Everybody has been talking about employee engagement, and it’s often sad to see people all balled up between employee engagement, employee satisfaction and happy employees, thought this would be a good space to beat the drum, Okay here is what I heard from a highly satisfied employee “I’m satisfied and happy & I do what is asked of me”. The perennial problem is, satisfaction doesn’t really raise the bar high enough, and the very key word that we all should be pondering is how to create a committed and highly engaged work force.

Almost any organizations leader’s dream would be to maximize the productivity and profitability of their employees. On the other side employees seek satisfaction from their work if both can be achieved concurrently there is a true Win-Win! However there is no standard mechanism by which this can be achieved.

Employee engagement programs like other things: we get out of it based on what is put into it. If organizational leaders expect instant results from such programs, then they are pursuing a flavor of the month. True change requires long-term commitment to the effort.

A Dale Carnegie® White Paper provided evidence that the more people perceived promotional opportunities, the more they felt that the organization implements procedures in a just and fair way, and the more people perceived an open communication environment, the more organization support they received. Gallup’s Employee Engagement Dashboard lists 4 ‘broad enablers/drivers’ which are critical to gaining employee engagement:
1. Revolutionize Leadership
2. Engaging people managers
3. Employee voice
4. Integrity

Okay let us explore each one of the above, first and foremost key employee engagement driver is the actions of senior leader, Employees need to understand not only the purpose of the organization they work for but also how their individual role contributes to that vision, unless until he knows where he fits in the big picture the LOST/disengaged feeling crops up. At American Express, “Floor Walks” by senior leaders is a practice to encourage open informal dialogue between senior leaders and frontline employees. During floor walks, leaders often participate in call listening and seek opportunities to publicly recognize employees for jobs well done.

Being in this profession for close to a decade I firmly agree that the old adage “employees join great organizations, but quit BAD BOSSES” most of the managers will argue that this is a hypothetical statement but indeed this is a factual statement. If we are able to transform and engage people managers we are close to success. However it’s very good to see that that the scenarios have changes tremendously where organizations are laying much emphasis on identify development needs of people managers in the area of people management and charting out plans to address the same. At Pitney Bowes ‘You’ve been Tagged’ is a weeklong celebration of their five core values, Managers and employees tag each other with the value that they demonstrate in their job.

Talking to a brick wall makes most of us go bananas, organizations should create platform where effective & empowered employees’ voice / views are sought out, listened to & make a difference. A strong sense of listening and responsiveness permeates the organization, enabled by effective communication. At Godrej Consumer Products through Voice-of-the-Employee programme management team members get in touch with every employee of the organization at least once a year. This process provides an opportunity to all employees to express their issues and concerns directly to the members of human resource management team.

I’m sure most of us would have listened to vision, mission… during our induction sessions and other posters that we see in our workplace, almost all the organizations have espoused vision, mission & values and also have their own set of behavioral norms, the size of the gap between the two reflects the degree of distrust within the organization; if the gap is closed, the outcome is high levels of trust among employees. At Phillips Software’s values are explained to employees through interactive and participative workshops that focuses on how these values are not optional but mandatory.

Great Place TO Work Research Institute ® based on their years of research summarizes that an engaged organization is one where there is mutual trust and respect among employees and where employees take pride in their work and the organization’s values.

To cap it all leaders will have to juggle frogs for raising and maintaining employee engagement and it requires a perfect blend of time, effort, commitment and investment to craft a successful endeavor.