The Key Differentiator Of Employee Engagement 0

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Data around employee engagement studies indicate that businesses with more engaged employees have 51% higher productivity. It is imperative to treat employees well, they are the key differentiators, and the competitive advantage of an organization.

Vandana Sharma

Employee engagement is the emotional connect an employee has with his organization. A higher engagement signifies a direct connect with organizational goals and collective synergies of the entire organization to achieve them.

Since the era of Industrial revolution, the idea of going to jobs was to earn a livelihood, run your household, pay for utilities, send kids to a good school and manage a decent living.This was also the understanding of the capitalist world which continued to pay the required, mandated wages to ensure workers stick to jobs, supervisors manage them well and corporations grow profitable.

With the evolution of industries and people practices, workplace happiness has started to count as much as happiness at homes or in peoples lives. Reasons are obvious.

“An average grown up working adult ends up spending a minimum of 8-9 hours of productive time daily at his workplace in an approximate career span of 25 years. When one invests so much of time and effort working hard for the organization and to earn a livelihood, why should they not seek happiness being there?”

It is a simple question that all employers should be able to answer. Afterall, it is the consolidated effort that takes to build a great profitable empire.

Having worked with a diverse set of people and sectors, I notice distinctly different viewpoints across the sectors. The outlook seems culturally influenced by the nature of industries even if education and values gathered in business schools were similar. 

Old economies:

Industries like commodity training and manufacturing which are workmen driven still believe in the top-down hierarchical ways of managing their people practices. They believe an employee needs to cover his basic needs and that’s where an employer-employee relationship primarily ends. The rest is for corporations to decide whether they want to engage in welfare or environmental factors. Possibly it works for them too. The engagement initiatives hover around hygiene, entertainment and welfare measures for staff.

New economies:

It does not hold good for the other extreme which is the tech-led innovative new age set up, primarily run by millennials who are considered the “entitled generation”. They are entrepreneurial, not really driven by processes or norms. To keep them at a workplace and get them to unleash their ultimate potential, it needs a lot more than the pay cheque at the end of the month.

Data around employee engagement studies indicate that businesses with more engaged employees have 51% higher productivity.(Harter, J.K., Schmidt, F.L., & HayesT.L., Psychology, 2002 Vol. 87). When it comes to employee communication, companies with the most effective employee communication have 47% higher shareholder returns over the last five years. (Towers Watson, 2010)

Employee engagement by definition does not mean periodic parties, sports events or celebrations. It means a lot more and includes all stakeholders, some key indicators that direct us towards an engaged workforce are:

  • A setting of clear expectations on a strategic roadmap in the form of business goals.
  • Creation of transparent, established and respected performance management and promotion policies.
  • Empowerment of employees and mid-level management to drive everyday transactions as well as critical decision making.
  • Innovating fair recognition platforms for top performers.

Employee Engagement

4 Key Indicators to build an engaged workforce

  • A setting of clear expectations on a strategic roadmap.
  • Creation of transparent performance management and promotion policies.
  • Empowerment of employees to drive everyday transactions.
  • Innovating fair recognition platforms for top performers.

It is important to treat employees well, they are key differentiators, and the competitive advantage of an organization. A product or a marketing strategy can be replicated in time, however, a great set of loyal employees who stick by you and work towards a meaningful vision will lead to a great institution and higher profitability. Hence it makes sense to take care of employees in order to succeed and stay ahead in the game!

“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” – Stephen R. Covey

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Major Vandana Sharma, an ex-Army officer, and a Kargil veteran is a senior industry leader, offering 20 years of rich and diverse experience across Strategy, HR, Resource Management, General Management, and Operations. Major Sharma played a backend role in the Kargil War, 1999. Her contributions include many value chain projects and people initiatives across organizations like Indian Army, Wipro, GMR Group, TNT, Myntra and HolidayIQ.

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