For an organisation to grow substantially, there is an intrinsic need for a strong HR team. It is with the help of capable and active HR professionals, that a company earns success and foresightedness in its business. Moreover, there are numerous obstacles that a company faces during its journey of success.
Out of these, employee engagement is one of the biggest challenges that concerns the organisation. In fact, according to Gallup, 85% of the employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work; a term commonly referred to as ‘presenteeism’. This further adds up to the troubles of the companies and transfers even more responsibilities on to the shoulders of the HR team.
Furthermore, an organisation will struggle to progress at pace with high numbers of disengaged employees. Thus, the emerging role of HR is often to help bring back interest and engagement levels of employees, that were previously disengaged. The encouragement and the people management techniques that HR contributes to the employee culture is instrumental for the growth of any organisation.
In addition to this, the employees need some driving forces to push them towards higher levels of engagement. The lack of these drivers is one big reason for their disengagement at work. A company can bring these drivers into existence with help of strong HR practices. So, if organisations start exerting the required driving forces, employees are more likely to become engaged and thus more productive.
In this article, I would like to take a look at some of these drivers. And explore some ideas around the role that HR can play:
Recognition is one of the most crucial drivers of employee engagement. According to a survey conducted by OGO, 40% of the American employees said that they’d put more energy into work if they were recognized more often. This clearly validates that recognition drives employee engagement.
When an employee gets recognized for a job done well, he/she feels good, it releases Dopamine and Oxytocin in the brain, and this contributes towards them wanting to perform even better and repeat that feel-good factor again. Further, if the recognition is public, his peers congratulate him or her and they feel even more motivated to keep it up. But, do organisations give as much importance to this driver of employee engagement as it deserves? Sadly, in most cases, probably not!
According to the Harvard Business Review, 82% of employees don’t feel that their supervisors recognize them enough. This clearly indicates that business organizations should pay more attention to the issue. The HR team can play a massive role in assisting in this area, by ensuring that regular evaluations take place, coaching of managers to understand it’s importance in a practical capacity that they can understand (happiness, respect, productivity etc.
2. Employee Happiness
Employee happiness is an important factor which impacts employee engagement. This is quite an obvious one, as unhappy employees cannot concentrate well on work. As a result, they display low levels of engagement. So, employee happiness is a major driver of employee engagement, which no business organization should neglect. But, several studies have shown that employee happiness often gets neglected.
According to a survey by officevibe’s ‘The global state of employee engagement’ report, 23% of employees leave their work feeling drained or very drained every day. One of the most basic reasons behind this is that they don’t feel happy working at their workplace.
HR departments of every business organization can assist by helping to measure employee happiness. The use of employee apps that ask all employees to register how they feel on a daily basis is a great way to stay in tune with staff sentiment. Showing appreciation, organizing fun activities and cultivating a positive work environment are some examples of positive steps, that an HR team can take in helping to maintain a happy working environment.
3. Balanced management approach
Most managers follow either the hands-on or hands-off approach to management. This can be a disaster for employee engagement. Neither of the two approaches is individually sufficient for managing the employees well. The complete hands-on approach makes them feel frustrated. Whereas, the completely hands-off approach doesn’t make the employees feel motivated to work. Either way, employee engagement gets negatively impacted if managers follow any of these two approaches individually. Then, what should they do? The best answer to this question is- follow a balanced approach to management. The managers should know when to implement which approach of management.
‘Task relevant maturity’ is an important parameter which can help managers take this decision. When employees have a high task-relevant maturity i.e they are capable of handling the task on their own, managers should follow a hands-off approach. But, when their task-oriented maturity is low, managers should shift to the hands-on approach and guide the employees with their work.
4. Career Advancement Opportunities
Career Advancement Opportunities act as an important driver of employee engagement. This is because no one wishes to have a stagnant career. Everyone wishes to grow professionally and individually. So, business organizations should offer career advancement opportunities to enhance employee engagement. But, many companies don’t do so.
According to officevibe’s ‘The global state of employee engagement’ report, 56% of the employees believe that they don’t have any career advancement opportunities at their current place of employment. As a result, they don’t feel motivated to continue working with their organization, which largely impacts their engagement at work.
HR teams can play a vital role in this respect by linking up with management and team leaders, to map out career road maps or to encourage training and personal development initiatives that help keep staff motivated, appreciated and to feel like they are growing and evolving as individuals.
5. Employee well-being
According to Tower Watson’s Global Attitudes survey, 57% of the employees who experienced high work stress, reported being disengaged. This is quite natural as stress takes a huge toll on the employees’ physical, emotional as well as mental well-being. As a result, their overall well-being gets disrupted and they cannot get engrossed in work. This makes employee well-being a crucial driver for employee engagement.
So, business organizations need to utilise their HR teams to direct their efforts towards reducing employee stress and enhancing their approach to employee well-being. For this, the HR department needs to take a holistic approach to what the company can do to ensure that the wellbeing of the companies staff is comprehensively and genuinely catered for. Smaller organisations with limited budgets should look at pre-packaged schemes that help SME’s to offer more comprehensive wellness programs at economies of scale, rather than trying to engage with suppliers of wellness services directly.
Wellbeing and wellness programs drive company culture and demonstrate a genuinely caring environment, that employees will appreciate and talk about. This will help reduce staff attrition and aid the attraction of the best talent. Positive company culture will also influence productivity, reduce sick days and increase presenteeism.
The lack of right driving forces is one of the major reasons for employee disengagement. So, business organisations need to understand and exert the right employee engagement drivers on their employees.