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Employee Engagement The Changing Landscape

By K. Raghavendra

As the world is on to the Fourth Industrial Revolution - Digital revolution, it demands the organizations to shift gears and get ready for future by

a. building capabilities which will serve the needs of tomorrow and

b. developing talent which will help organizations achieve their goals.

Point B brings forth the focus on how organizations need to attract the right talent, nurture and keep the talent engaged. An employee is engaged when (s)he makes a choice to go that ‘extra mile’ and is involved and enthusiastic. On the other hand, a disengaged employee can be considered as an energy sapping resource who damages the morale of the organization and impacts productivity negatively.

Organizations that create a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, job and organizational fit, and strong leadership are outperforming their peers and will likely beat their competition in attracting top talent. Having won the war for talent, the real challenge commences post the induction of the new employees, where HR has to play the role of a marketer and employee is a customer. Organizational culture is becoming an ever-increasing factor for employee engagement. Companies have to build a culture where engagement is ingrained in their DNA.

Employee Engagement is crucial in Employee Lifecycle

The engagement strategies adopted globally to engage a diverse workforce are: provision of growth opportunities, strong reward and recognition programs, trust in leadership, capturing the voice of employees and identification of gaps between employee expectations and motivators. Engagement when done right leads to high performing, satisfied and loyal workforce.

Changing Landscape

Talent Analytics of various organizations highlight the demographic shift in the workforce trends. Workplaces are now having multi-generational and diverse workforces with millennials predominantly reshaping the future. Millennials are the face behind the massive disruptions in digital and technology space bringing about a radical shift the way businesses have traditionally worked and grown. It is imperative for organizations to learn and act on the millennials’ values, ambitions and drivers of job satisfaction. The new generation has significantly diverse aspirations. A generation which is as passionate about work life as about personal pursuits. If it wants a tailored learning and development path, it also wants specialized facilities pursue their hobbies. If it aspires to innovate and experiment, it also wants to live a purpose beyond profit and give back to society. It wants customized professional development training and programs, opportunities to progress and explore, open and direct communication with peers and leadership, flexibility to work from any place, any time and use of latest technology are a few listings on their wish list to enable them to achieve purpose and fulfillment.

It requires HR teams to wear an innovative thinking hat to keep discovering new ways of engaging and motivating the workforce, which has new demands and aspirations.

Newer Trends for Employee Engagement

If their employer brand is boring and unattractive, so will be their talent and performance.

- Edward E Lawler

Based on the social, behavioral and individual patterns, there are an array of solutions organizations are selecting to engage their employees. a gamified approach to Learning, Collaborative approach through social media for Knowledge-sharing, innovative ways of recognizing and rewarding talent, compelling EVP offering flexible work and a healthy lifestyle and the buck does not stop here.

• Employee Value Proposition (EVP): Revamp EVP offerings which go beyond salary component and bring to the table other factors which appeal to an employee’s personal, social, aspirational needs. EVP is no longer a tool to attract talent but also retain, nurture and engage talent.

• Compassionate Leadership: “People don’t quit theirjobs, they quit their bosses. “Higher levels of engagement come from employees who work for a compassionate leader—one who is authentic, present, has a sense of dignity, holds others accountable, leads with integrity and shows empathy.

• Technological Advancement: New breed of networking tools, feedback apps and technology led learning infrastructure are shifting the dynamics of how different generations work.

• Employee Feedback: The connection of feedback and engagement is intuitive. Employees who receive little or no feedback are actively disengaged. While engagement goes up dramatically when employees receive feedback about their strengths and weaknesses.

• Social Learning: It goes beyond traditional learning and brings an element of people working in collaboration. The experiences, knowledge and cultural familiarity that each generation carries can be best delivered through social learning.

Engagement and Retention: Two faces of same coin

A recent research by Matthew Bidwell shows that internal hires outperform external hires. Additionally, organizations are investing in nurturing and grooming talent more than ever, which are a great source of knowledge delta. If the employee feels engaged consistently, it would not think of making the job switch. Infosys Employee Engagement philosophy is based on the vision of Infosys CEO, Dr Vishal Sikka, - “Zero Distance” -- as an underlying principle of the organizational goal. The endeavor is made to minimize distance between the organization and employees till it becomes zero distance between them.

Employee Engagement @Infosys

“You must capture the heart of a supremely able man before his brain can do its best.”

— Andrew Carnegie

In most of the organizations, overwhelming majority of employees aren’t simply motivated by monetary benefits. At Infosys, various initiatives have been taken for ensuring the well-being and engagement of the employees. These can be broadly classified under Leisure, Health and Safety Initiatives.

• Employee Wellness: Infosys gives special attention to employees’ mental and physical well-being - Health check-up drives, women wellness zones, stress-related issues and various other Health-related sessions and seminars. It has best-in-class fitness centers, swimming pools, gyms, international standard cricket pitches, athletic tracks, and basketball courts.

• Career Development Programs: Infosys has a culture of learning and development and it promotes continuous employee growth. Customized learning interventions, both short and long term are designed for the holistic development of inter-personal & professional skills of employees. The certifications upon the completion of these courses instils the employees with a sense of pride and engages them. Infosys also offers higher education programs where in we have tie-ups with universities. These certifications provide them with an added advantage when they are looking for career advancement and growth. A number of initiatives -class room, on the job, online, on the go (mobile) learning platforms, provide the employees with an opportunity to earn as they learn and complete the learning modules. Programs like The Harvard Manage Mentor is an interactive and engaging platform with online courses readily available to all the employees round the clock which can be accessed through their own systems.

• Club Future Emerging Leaders (Club FuEL): This aims at cultivating a pool of outstanding leaders equipped with skills and capabilities to hold future senior leadership positions. It ensures the availability of future leadership talent pipeline along with development of individual Career Development Plan (CDP).

• Employee Connect: Infosys has a framework of connect programs which are a collection of highly- customized, specialized senior leadership connect programs with targeted employees, which ensures every employee is well-connected to the top-leadership. These are close in-person connects with employees to inform, educate, empower, groom and nurture them. It offers development, engagement and welfare program opportunities for employees. Some of these connect programs are: Centre Stage, GuruCool, Hi-Pot, Coffee with leader, DC Meet, Meet Your Leader, R & R ceremony, Different forums and platforms for connecting even with junior and middle level managers, Awareness Sessions, Floorwalk by the leaders etc.

However, what is equally important if not more is the fact that people come into work to build a career. As part of the employee engagement (EE) charter, it is extremely important to be aware that any intervention in isolation will have no bearing if the conditions for enabling talent to work and build a career is not in place. Moreover, one of the biggest factors for improving employee engagement and retention is presenting a clear career path. At Infosys BPO, we ensure role clarity through goal setting twice a year with ample opportunities for career advancement through a smooth IJP process, where an employee has the power to shape his/her career. Therefore , it is imperative to have the following in place:

• An effective Performance Management system where merit is given primacy, clear goal definition, real time feedback and performance metrics are in place.

• Merit based pay, a well-defined career architecture and a well-designed learning and development strategy to be in place which will entail innovative developmental programs

• Opportunities for employees to co-create solutions to feel that they are contributing in the organization’s growth journey it has set for itself.

• Respect for an individual and providing a healthy working environment.

All of the above will ensure greater connect and stickiness for the talent to build a long term association with the organization and will bring about a transformational impact wrt employee experience and growth.

To further enhance the Employee Engagement and connect, a council comprising of senior leadership proactively monitors employee engagement levels through different talent metrics. New EE solutions are created and interventions are built to keep employee engagement levels high. Additionally, different tools are used to check on the pulse of employee’s engagement.

In terms of Herzberg’s motivation and hygiene theory, a culture that celebrates employees is a motivation factor for them and will ensure greater engagement. The idea is to awaken the spirit of the employees to volunteer to make a difference. Employee engagement is no longer another To Do item to be ticked but a game-changing dynamic, which is crucial for the survival and growth engine of the organizations.


K. Raghavendra

K. Raghavendra is Sr. VP & Global Head - HRD at Infosys BPO

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