Employee Engagement in India

By Pallavi Jha, Chairperson & Managing Director, Dale Carnegie Training India

Pallavi Jha, Chairperson & Managing Director, Dale Carnegie Training India

Dale Carnegie Training India offers talent development solutions in the areas of Leadership, Communications, Presentations & Public Speaking and several others.

If we were to survey any HR manager on some of their biggest focus areas in the coming year, employee engagement would most likely top their list. Agility and the constant need to stay relevant have now become prerequisites for companies in a complex marketplace. How can today's leaders feel confident enough to face the internal and external pressures that prevent their brands from reaching their full potential? Business environments are ever-evolving due to the fast pace of demographic, technological, economic and political change and companies with disengaged employees will find it tremendously hard to keep up with the competition.

Companies are not flexible and adaptable by nature, but their employees can be when motivated. Engaged employees are resilient in the face of changing environments- maintaining high performance in good times and going above and beyond during low growth phases. How committed your employees are, emotionally and practically, to the success of the company will be the prime determinant of whether an organization succeeds or not in a challenging market.

Dale Carnegie Training partnered with the NHRDN in India to survey more than 1200 executives, individual contributors, managers and chief officers across the country in 2014. The objective behind the employee engagement research was to go beyond measuring national levels of engagement and identify the underlying factors that influenced it positively. Further, it sought to assess and therefore set the standard for what was being done right as well as the perceived gaps in competencies to arrive at definitive action points to improve motivation at the workplace.

It was interesting to note that among the functional and emotional elements surveyed, the three key drivers that stood out as having the strongest effect on employee engagement were:

-The Relationship with Immediate Supervisor
-Belief in Senior Leadership
-Pride in Organization

One of the foremost goals for business leaders going ahead should be not only how to drive employee engagement in the workplace, but also how to ensure it becomes an ongoing part of HR strategy. The average hike on current salary that an employee in India would consider acceptable to leave his current job is 20 percent. At this pay increase, we found that 58 percent of disengaged workers would accept another job offer v/s only 14 percent of fully engaged employees. This salary inelasticity of fully engaged employees indicates a kind of loyalty that companies today are often hard-pressed to develop.

India has employee engagement challenges which are affecting the productivity of its working professionals and the competitiveness of its companies.What is holding companies back from reaching benchmark engagement levels? This is most likely due to the fragmented approach of planning and implementing employee engagement solutions. Typically, businesses are deploying a number of ad-hoc steps, missing out on actually assessing the need gaps, targeting problem areas or neglecting to follow-up post an intervention to assess efficacy and impact.

Today, employee engagement and loyalty are more vital than ever before to an organization's success and competitive advantage. Gone are the days when a fresh graduate starting out in his or her career joined a company and stayed until retirement - in today's business environment there are no guarantees. With ever-escalating recruiting costs, the ability to engage and retain valuable employees has a significant impact on an organization's bottom line.

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