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How to find out what engage an employee?

employee engagement

Employee engagement- one of the most discussed topic in HR fraternity and management. Let’s see what does employee engagement actually means and how to find out what engage an employee?

Below is the abstract of definition of employee engagement in Wikipedia.

“Employee engagement, also called worker engagement, is a business management concept. An “engaged employee” is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about their work, and thus will act in a way that furthers their organization’s interests. According to Scarlett Surveys, “Employee Engagement is a measurable degree of an employee’s positive or negative emotional attachment to their job, colleagues and organization that profoundly influences their willingness to learn and perform at work”. Thus engagement is distinctively different from employee satisfaction, motivation and organisational culture. Employee engagement was described in the academic literature by Schmidt et al. (1993). A modernised version of job satisfaction, Schmidt.’s influential definition of engagement was “an employee’s involvement with, commitment to, and satisfaction with work. Employee engagement is a part of employee retention.” This integrates the classic constructs of job satisfaction , and organizational commitment . Harter and Schmidt’s (2003) most recent meta-analysis can be useful for understanding the impact of engagement. .”

I don’t think that I need to mention benefits an organization can get, if employees of that company are fully engaged. Company can get best out their employees, if employees are engaged. This is one of the major challenges for HR and expectation of management from HR department. HR need to take actions which helps in engaging employees. A disengage employee is loss to company. It is not only about being non productive but a disengage employee also influence other employees in negative way and company gets more disengage employees.

Many HR professionals think that employee engagement is basically conducting some fun games, outdoor tour, floor activities, events on festival etc. Such activities are not employee engagement exercise but very small part of it. I was one of them many years in starting of my HR profession. Soon, I have realized that it is not true. Employee engagement is far difficult and in depth concept. But it has simple answers.

Every HR professional is an employee himself. So, you can ask this question to yourself. What does excite you and what do you expect from company to get engaged? You can note down those thoughts coming to your mind. It can be money, position, challenge in job, colleagues, work culture, freedom to choose work time, infrastructure, brand etc. Well, these thought are not necessary to be similar in case of every employee. Every individual is different hence their reason to get engaged with organization will also be different. Hence, you need to understand that reason. Still there are some reasons which are more likely to be common and you need to ensure those factors should be in place such as healthy and safe work environment, competitive pay package, mature performance management system, opportunity to grow etc.

Factors which lead to engaged employee depends upon followings:

  1. Position of an employee in organization

  2. Demography of manpower

  3. Employee engagement survey

Position of employee in organization

Employees at various level of organization’s hierarchy will have different reasons to get engaged with organization. You need to understand what motivates them. It is not always about money but sometime it can be about position, reputation, stability, empathy etc. You must have read about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. This will help you understand what motivates employees at various levels.

As per Maslow’s theory, employees have following needs and this pyramid shows all those needs. These needs are Physiological need, Safety need, Love/belonging need, Esteem need and Self actualization need (From bottom to top). Image shown is self explanatory.


Demography of Manpower

You should also know kind of demography of manpower you have in your organization. Employees who are young will have different reason than older employees to get engaged with organization. You need to know this. Employees working in BPO who are at young age needs freedom, flexi timing, casual dress, fun etc. Employees working in Bank who are at mid age need safety, stability, training to learn, chance to grow etc.

Employee engagement surveys

Many of you have conducted employee engagement surveys at your organization but few of you have actually analyses it and only handful of you must have taken steps on outcome of this survey. You can download employee engagement survey sample questions. HR needs to discuss findings of employee engagement survey with management and take actions after discussion. HR should also ensure to communicate employees about actions taken post employee engagement surveys. This way employee will be excited and honest in giving feedback. These surveys are best way to find out what your employees need.

Management support is very important in taking steps to engage employees. If management is in sync with HR initiatives then impact can be seen earlier.

Also, many of us think that company need to spend money to ensure employee engagement but in reality it does not require money but intention. Company need to build its policies in sync with their intention to engage employees.

In my next blog post, I will write about what are the steps you should take to make your employees engage.

Do share your thoughts.

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