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Employee Engagement is NOT Employee Entertainment

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Rekha Nair, Head - HR Business Partner, BrillioA self-starter, collaborator and problem-solver with a drive for continuous improvement and transformation, Rekha is an exceptional relationship-builder with a reputation for delivering results and as a strategic HR BP, she believes in “difference that makes the difference”

People are the most critical part of any business & engagement plays a very important role. Too often, we get caught up with revenue & margins that we get blindsided to everything else - to our employees, their aspirations, their motivation & passion. In today’s VUCA world, where there is no dearth of machines or technology, “People have become the primary source of competitive advantage”. Any organisation can win in the marketplace if they get their talent strategy in place. When we say talent strategy it includes everything from understanding & assessing talent, hiring the right talent, developing the right people, focusing on building leaders, creating an awesome culture & people engagement.

The factors influencing engagement for any generation are economics, politics & social lifestyle. But when we specifically look at millennials, some of their common traits are - being ambitious & risk takers, they prefer more transparency & less bureaucracy and mostly a need for identity & role models.

ENGAGEMENT is all about creating
personal, emotional & psychological connections with employees by developing outstanding employee experience.

The general perception and myth about HR is that their job is to just conduct fun activities & organise parties or games for employees. Most often employee engagement is confused with fun.Engagement isa much stronger aspect which drives the individual to go that extra mile voluntarily & where people do something not because they have been told to but because they want to! It’s a deeper connection that the person has with something within the firm - It can be the work, the manager, the vision–anything. We must ask – “Engaged with what & whom”?Identifying & measuring the causes/factors that drive engagement are critical because they serve as the basis of creating an effective ‘intervention’(action plan).

"Happiness at work is not just about the pay or benefits that a company provides. It’s about the people & culture that comprise it"

Like for every HR intervention, the holy grail of ROI will come up even in case of engagement initiatives. Apart from the usual measures like retention numbers, ESAT & CSAT; engagement is a softer aspect which often cannot be measured directly. Employee engagement, motivation & satisfaction are correlated but not the same. You can say that your people are engaged when you see them proactively taking initiatives & helping team members, going above & beyond their job responsibilities, bringing forth creative ideas & innovation etc. among many others. Also, their attitude and behaviour when the chips are down, when they are happy & even when they quit is a direct indication of their engagement levels.

We need to focus on transforming events into employee experience & use Design Thinking as an approach to achieve that. Top priority for HR today any where is building a great work culture. Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with passion & for that we need to focus on creating a great employee experience which will lead to an engaged workforce.

“Happiness at work is not just about the pay or benefits that a company provides. It’s about the people & culture that comprise it”. Happy people produce more & it will automatically take care of your customer experience and margins.