It's Time To Rethink about 'Employee Engagement'

By Siddharth Reddy, Managing Director, BI WORLDWIDE

Siddharth Reddy, Managing Director, BI WORLDWIDE

Founded in 1950, BI WORLDWIDE is a provider of Customer Loyalty Programs, channel & sales incentive programs, and employee rewards and recognition programs.

The world is changing in every sense. The corporate world is undergoing a massive transition. Traditional hierarchies are being replaced by meritocracies and corporate culture is becoming secondary to business culture and norms. On a macro level the GDP is declining in advanced economies and increasing in emerging markets, signifying significant shifts in the global marketplace over the next ten years. By 2016, it is predicted that this gap will be even wider, with more than 52percent of the GDP coming from developing economies and emerging markets.

With these changes, the organizations are also adopting a more transparent and digital mindset and are putting in place carefully crafted strategies to manage their resources. Gearing up for the talent war is now a priority and organizations should be better prepared to add dependent employees who will set the agenda for the companies rather than vice versa. Companies are seeing value in an engaged team,the best way to stand out from their competitors.

At present, globally only 40 percent of the workforce is engaged and it is imperative that a comprehensive engagement strategy is designed to combat the fatigue in the remaining 60percent. This is because on an average between 70 – 84percent of employees are hunting job. With the dawn of the new-year there are few trends we can expect in the employee engagement space:

    •Millennials Invade: Millennials (those in their 20s and early 30s) make up roughly 36percent of the workforce. By 2025, that number will climb to 75percent

    •Going Global: Any workforce is now worldwide. Behaviors need to be changed to address global teams and maintain culture across all continents

    •Talent Wars: The war for talent is real. If you don't have a strategy in place, you are someone else's leverage. Between 70 – 84percent of employees are currently hunting.

    •Talent Development: Talent development remains the key to retention. The best are investing in building and retaining their existing talent. The companies failing to do so are becoming irrelevant.

    •Focused on Wellness: Health care costs are projected to increase by 6.7percent to equal $11,176 per employee. Healthy employees are more productive and present and also live better lives outside of work.

    •Employees Gain Power: Loyalty, as we once knew it, is over. The employer will no longer define the workplace – employees' priorities and preferences will dictate what the future workplace looks like

    Organizations who want to get ahead of the curve will have to make work more meaningful and exciting that will challenge employees and break away from the mundane. Establishing value in employees through experience leadership will be vital. It is also important to create an environment that links performance to company values and behaviors. This will become a powerful lever to attract and retain talent.

    2015 – End of archaic HR practices

    In 2015 we will have to say goodbye to those humdrum HR policies for retention and engagement. Here are six key actions you can take:

        •Ask the right questions: Measuring Employee engagement right is very essential. Employee engagement being intangible may be difficult to measure. Asking the right questions to capture information correctly is essentialto ensure it is measured correctly.

        •Consider state vs. trait: Be clear on how you identify engagement. While some characteristics may predispose a person to be engaged more easily, defining engagement as a trait is a slippery slope.

        •Know the difference between principle vs. practice: It's not as easy as looking like a cool place to work. Free food and scooters won't overcome a culture that is not transparent and fair.

        •Remove unproductive leaders: Between 28 – 36percent of U.S. employees work with a leader whose approach could be described as dysfunctional. Such leaders, who obstruct the path of progress and generally disrespect their employees, should be removed from the organization.

        •Go where the Millennials are: Social recognition is important and the ability for the Millennials to share recognition is important. Having the ability to acknowledge coworkers using a tablet or smartphone is a trend that's becoming the norm. Organization should offer technology where the employees can share their recognition regardless of country, language and environment.

        •Realize that middle-managers are critical:Paying attention to middle managers is essential. While top leaders matter, managers affect the day to day employee experience.

        Engagement is multi-faceted and intangible but needs to be measured. Organization's objectives and goals will have to be re-aligned to facilitate these engagement measures across the length and breadth of the organization. Communicating with employees will be a key to establish free flow of ideas and bring in fluidity & velocity into the day to day working. Establishing a work – life balance will motivate as well as encourage employees. In the end, treating employees as the building blocks of the organization and investing in them as against treating them as widgets is what will take companies and employee engagement to the next level.

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