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Management through Employee Engagement

By Nishant Kalra

Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all employees of an organisation to give of their best each day. Engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for their salary or for the promotion but their feel themselves attached with the organization and remains committed to their organisation’s goals and Performance. Engaged employees are rare. Gallup's global research finds that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, which is an alarming situation for the business leaders across globe and they need to understand more about employee engagement.

Employee Engagement does not mean happiness. Someone might be happy at work, but that doesn't necessarily mean he/she is working hard, productively on behalf of the organization.

Employee engagement doesn't mean employee satisfaction. A satisfied employee might show up for his/her daily 9-to-5 without complaint. But that same "satisfied" employee might not put extra effort by his own willingness. This means that engaged employee works on overtime when needed, without being asked.

Not-engaged employees offer perhaps the greatest untapped opportunity for businesses to improve their performance. Not-engaged employees can be difficult to spot. They are not overtly hostile or disruptive and likely do just enough to fulfill their job requirements. They sleepwalk through their day, uninspired and lacking motivation. They have little or no concern about customers, productivity, profitability or quality.

Each person's potential extends well beyond his or her job description. And tapping that potential means recognizing how an employee's unique set of beliefs, talents, goals, and life experiences drives his or her performance, personal success, and well-being.

Managers and leaders should know their people -- who they are, not just what they do. Every interaction with an employee has the potential to influence his or her engagement and inspire discretionary effort. How leaders manage their employees can substantially affect engagement levels in the workplace, in turn influencing the company's bottom line. Here are few strategies for the organizations to build their constituency of engaged employees:-

1. Identify & Remove Barriers to enhance Entrepreneurship

Managers and employees must feel empowered to make a significant difference in their immediate environment. Leaders and managers should work with employees to identify and remove barriers to engagement and opportunities to effect positive change. Employees are familiar with the company's processes, systems, products, and customers. They must have the best ideas to improve performance, business innovation, and better workplace experiences.

2. Select the right managers by giving priority to internal candidates

The best managers understand that their success depends on employees' achievements. Great managers care about their people's success. They understand each person's strengths and try to assign jobs according to the employee’s strengths and also give opportunities to use their strengths in their role. Great managers empower their employees, recognize and value their contributions, and actively seek their ideas and opinions. Companies should treat the manager role as unique and selecting people who have this talent is important. Before start search for the talent outside, always make an effort to fill the position internally because as leaders we are well aware about the internal candidate’s potentials and abilities to manage the team. And also an internal candidate will already have a strong handle on the ways in which your organization operates, not to mention the fact that there will already be working relationships with colleagues set in place.

But perhaps most importantly, hiring from within will generate excitement among entire staff, raising levels of engagement and promoting a more positive work environment.

Outside hires are more common than most leaders would like to admit, especially among businesses that are attempting to save money by hiring cheap. This won't do you any favors, and your employees to enhance disengagement in their work. It’s important to highlight here that there's nothing more discouraging for an employee, who is working for a company that tends to hire from the outside only.

3. Coach managers and hold them accountable for their employees' engagement

Managers are primarily responsible for their employees' engagement levels. Companies should coach managers to take an active role in building engagement plans with their employees, hold managers accountable, track their progress, and ensure that they continuously focus on emotionally engaging their team members.

4. Reward Employees Carefully

Some managers believe that one of the best ways to keep employees engaged and performing well is to reward them on a regular basis, even if they're not performing up to par. Carelessly dishing-out rewards won't serve to do your business any favors and may even hurt performance and engagement even further. Instead, you've got to be quite careful with how you utilize rewards.

Rewarding employees is certainly something that you should do from time to time, but that's not to say you should do so carelessly. Pay close attention to the progress made by your employees, and don't hesitate to let them know why you're rewarding them. As long as you make a point to clarify the reason for the reward, you will effectively help to increase the chances that they will remain engaged in the future.

You should avoid the use of money to reward your employees as most of the employees aren't looking for money. Maybe they're looking for something else through which their achievement is properly recognized.

5. Clarify Goals and Responsibilities

Every employee has a set of goals and responsibilities they need to work on. One of the biggest contributing factors to falling engagement level, is the confusion over what one's role actually is. Clarifying goals and responsibilities is essential if you intend to improve your employee engagement. 

6. Be Flexible

The best managers are those who hold their employees accountable for their performance, yet give them the flexibility they deserve. Employees are professional adults and they don't need someone’s supervision all the times. It can be quite difficult for those in leadership roles to give up control, especially when employees are working on extremely important jobs for the organization but at the same time it’s essential to realize just how much of a difference a little bit of flexibility can have on an employee's performance and level of engagement.

7. Create a Unique Office Environment

Showing up to an office every day can be a boring experience after a while, especially if the environment isn't altogether comforting.

No one wants to sit in a dimly lit cubicle between the hours of nine and five, yet this is the way mostly employees live their lives.

As a leader you should strive to do whatever you can to create an office environment that is unique, comfortable and reflective of your branding.

8. Hold Regular Brainstorming Sessions

A lack of ideas is like a drought, starving your business of potentially and stifling progress.

The more you can do to foster the creation and sharing of great ideas within your organization, the better off your business will fare in the long run and the more engaged your employees will be.

The best way to keep ideas flowing is to hold regular brainstorming sessions with your team. Promote open talking without criticism during those discussions.

Allow your team to articulate ways in which they feel your organization could benefit and don't be biased or close-minded about anything they may say.

Sometimes, all it takes is a seed of an idea in order to spark something magical, and you'll be missing out on an ocean of potential if you ignore what your employee has to say.

9. Bring Your Employees into Hiring Process

Want to make your employees really feel like they're an important part of your organization? There's no better way to do so than to bring them right into the hiring process.

Having a team member sit-in on an interview that you are conducting comes along with a number of benefits.

For one, it makes them feel more engaged and appreciated. In addition, your employees' input can be very helpful in ultimately leading you to make the right decision regarding a new hire, especially if they've been a part of the company for a long period of time. Just let them sit there and listen. Then when it’s over, ask them their thoughts on the candidate.

It's fine for a staff member to ask a question or two, but more important is asking your employee what they thought of the potential new hire after the interview is over, which is a great way to get a more well-rounded sense of whether or not the person might be a good fit.


Nishant Kalra

Mr. Nishant Kalra
Head – HR
Faurecia Automotive Seating India Pvt. Ltd.




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