When hiring a candidate, we generally assume that the person not only possesses the skills for the job but also engages to successfully complete the tasks the job calls for. With that assumption, ‘active engagement’ should have been a default state for all employees.
The reality, however, could be far from that.
Only one in three employees claim themselves to be engaged and only one in seven employees are ‘A’ players in an organisation. These stats represent a huge potential to re-engineer and improve the efficiency of prevalent engagement processes. Most employers probably believe that offering lavish facilities and flashy perks could be an instant method to please employees, thus making them engaged at work.
But does fostering employee engagement have to be so pricey? The answer is NO.
The truth is, the best ways to boost employee engagement efficiency – almost always – do not require a budget, but rather require employers to improve their methods in managing the workforce.
In this article, we explore a few methods to inadvertently enhance employee engagement – even with absolutely no budget at hand:
An individual’s sense of self-efficacy – that is, on how he/she can be of use to the organisation – is the most significant factor to engagement. The organisation needs to communicate and reinforce the significance of the employee’s efforts and the role they play in the organisation on regular basis.
Managers and the HRs need to understand and constantly evaluate unique skillsets their employees possess and find out how these can be used to create synergy. In the context of their strengths, teams can be clustered with the right people. Apple follows this process of ‘clustering’ that leads them to achieve huge scales of productivity.
One-on-one interactions and multiple touchpoints allow manager to be updated on employee potential. These correspondences also need to bring in the context of the unique journeys and challenges of the employee so as to understand them wholly. Bill Conaty, in his book ‘Talent Masters’ talked about how great leaders are constantly on the lookout for the unique learning curves and capabilities of their people.
If a new hire is able to quickly learn and adapt to the demands of a job and the organisation, they are seen to have better engagement. The significance of a robust onboarding program cannot be emphasised enough for a new-joinee to quickly start performing.
Onboarding programs need to strongly communicate company values, culture, expected performance standards and organisational policies. It should also contain modules that will let new hires understand in depth about the company’s business offerings, mission and vision. All these should be concluded by tying them with employees’ day-to-day activities and tasks. Clearly communicate how their work impacts the bottom-line of the organisation and enables the organisation to achieve its mission and vision.
It is also very important to provide patient clarifications to all queries and leave room for open-ended conversations. Give them all the resources needed and more than enough contacts of people to reach out to, for all possible help that they might require.
An organisation with strong internal communications, introduces complex but essential concepts of transparency and empowerment in the work environment. OB researchers suggest this internal communication should not merely begin and end with a monthly CEO’s newsletter.
Including face-to-face interactions and initiating bottom-up communication can drastically improve the effectiveness instead of adopting a ‘blanket’ communication. They also suggested that these internal messages could be customised to fit the structural levels – to ensure the relevance of the communication.
For example, an internally circulated article that talks of ‘How we need to focus on organic marketing this quarter’ might be relevant for the organisation’s content marketers, but not for its IT developers.
Highly efficient and agile organisations have open and continuous channels of feedback for their employees. This feedback could be from managers, subordinates, peers, customers or vendors. Feedback not only empowers employees to express their voice but can also drastically improve employee experience and career development process.
Learning and Development processes in the organisation need to necessarily incorporate strong feedback loops so that the employees get to know their proficiencies and work to improve their weaknesses. Feedback is also an essential element to ‘continuous performance management’ processes that use technology to track performances and progress of employees.
The levels of autonomy in an organisation or a work group affects engagement significantly. Autonomy can be introduced in the work environment in various ways and having a ‘participative management’ policy is one way. All decisions (of the respective hierarchy) are run through the stakeholders and a consensus is drawn before it is implemented. For example, when the CEO has a suggestion to change an organisational policy, the consensus of the executive team is necessary. Likewise, when the manager has a proposal to change a team process, it needs to receive the consensus of all the team members.
Other ways to create autonomy are to create autonomous work groups – that self-administer their internal processes and functions – and have new work arrangements. Perceptions of autonomy and mutual trust improve when employees are provided new work arrangements like ability to work remotely and flexibility in shift timings.
When employees envision themselves to learn, grow and advance professionally within their organisation, they are seen to be better engaged and have higher levels of commitment.
There could be many initiatives that organisations implement for employee development, but it is even more significant to heavily ‘market’ these initiatives and policies, internally. Furthermore, all information that signal organisational expansion and growth needs to be thoroughly communicated – like the new positions that open up, new office locations, new acquisitions, investments and new onboarding of clients.
It is extremely important for the employee to understand what they need to do and what is expected of them during work – their tasks, work methods and priorities. The clearer the employees are of their functions, the better engaged they are with the organisation. Clear and iterative communication to reinstate the job functions can go a long way in providing role clarity. Creating OKRs and clear KRAs, can help formalize this process and even tie it to performance management.
Though seemingly trivial, these seven suggestions have the potential to transform an organisation’s work culture, engagement and environment. Though these changes do not need a budget to be implemented, it would require structural changes in the way organisations function and a strong buy-in from the leadership team. Organisations who have managed to break through these challenges and implement this transformation have gone strides towards reducing attrition, absenteeism and inefficiency.
To learn how Xoxoday can help your organisation to increase employee engagement, sign up on their website now!
Xoxoday is a SaaS Commerce platform helping companies build happy and engaged employees, channel partners and customers. Based in India, they have been working with 1000+ enterprises globally. Some of them being Allianz, Infosys, Demag, Nielsen, Capgemini, Shell, etc. Xoxoday product suite comprises 3 products – Empuls, Compass, and Plum.