Monday, July 04, 2011
From Employee Relations to Employee Engagement
What rules have changed and how does HR change the way it plays its ER role?
Competition continually steps up everytime a competitor comes out with an upgraded product or service or lower cost and value added features. This necessitates companies to be on the look out for better ideas and more efficient processes from within the organization.
Highly talented employees have great choices in terms of where to work and at what package. Companies now compete for employees' attention not just customers' attention.
The millenials who came in to work recently carry with them a new mindset and motivated by things different from what a lot of us are accustomed to. Their attention span is shorter and they like to multitask. How do we deal with it?
More than just retaining employees, we in HR must now think of how we can engage employees and fully harness their talents and abilities. How do we keep them caring about the company and give their best not only in terms of work output but also in terms of creative ideas to help improve everything from the workplace to the results of work?
The Gallup Poll fielded 12 questions to measure employee Engagement. The questions themselves provide good inspiration as to where to start in improving employee engagement.
We must now use this keyword "Employee Engagement" when we search the web or the bookshelves for knowledge on how to keep our people engaged. We need to rethink our HR activities and events for maximum impact in building a sense of community among members of the organization and not just satisfy traditions ( remember christmas party, company outing, family day, sports fest and the likes?) We must stop from doing them for the heck of doing them and start thinking about how they can be managed to help employees really build bonds, care about each other and the organization. Getting them involved is a good first step in the process of building this community in the workplace.
Another good initial step is to get employees to be proud of the company and develop a sense of purpose by carrying out activities that are not just profit oriented but also cause oriented. See what common cause people are interested in and have them participate in it.
And my last suggestion but not necessarily the last available means to us is building an empowering work environment. Develop a mechanism for employees to be involved in workplace and work improvements. Have a best suggestion program and reward great ideas in a big way. Start quality circle or process improvement programs. Work on building a solid working relationship between supervisors and employees because they are the most common breaking point in terms of employee engagement. Somebody once said that employees leave their boss not their company. By equipping your managers to lead better, you may be able to help them engage their people better.
It is surprising how a change of words can change mindset. By moving focus from employee relations to employee engagement, there is so much more meaningful initiatives that we in HR can put in place to help the company not only keep employees happy but also to keep them committed and engaged.