In today’s competition, having the right employees with right skills is not enough to succeed in market. Unless these employees do not feel engaged to the organization and put in their best efforts towards organizational success, there is always a need for improvement in the company’s HR practices. Human resources are the most valuable resource of an organization and their engagement to the organization is what is needed in today’s corporate scenario. Employee engagement is not about physical engagement with the organization; it is rather a broader concept and involves physical, intellectual, psychological and emotional attachment of the employee to his/her work and the organization.
What is employee engagement and why it is important?
Although different experts define employee engagement in different ways; the basic idea remains the same. Engagement is the energy and enthusiasm, the deliberate efforts that people make while enjoying and valuing their job. Though a few experts have also established that employee engagement is same as employee satisfaction and organizational commitment, but these terms cannot be used interchangeably. Employee engagement is the highest level of satisfaction and commitment as the employees do not need any external motivation when they are engaged. They are self-motivated and put discretionary efforts towards organizational growth. Engaged employees are an asset for the organization. The employees make best efforts to customer service and lead to enhancement of organization’s efficiency and goodwill. Such manpower act as a means of winning competitive advantage and therefore employee engagement is an HR priority today.
Employee Engagement Strategies
Though organizations have well realized the value of employee engagement, many of them still do not know how to engage employees. There are no hard and fast rules regarding engagement but the organizations can consider the following to better engage the employees:
- Communication: An effective communication strategy definitely helps in employee engagement. The communication should flow from both top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top. There should be regular meetings with the top management so that employees feel a part of the organization. In addition, the employees should be listened for suggestions as well as grievances.
- Job Enrichment: The job profile offered to an employee plays crucial role in securing his/her engagement. The job should be designed in such way that it matches well with the employee’s talent, skills, aptitude, interests and abilities. The employees should be offered variety and the opportunity to portray their talent.
- Staffing and Training: HR practices like staffing and training lay the foundation of employee engagement. Recruitment of right persons for right jobs is essential in order to make employees enjoy their jobs. Further, training is also important to engage employees as it helps them to understand their job as well as the organizational policies and values.
- Justice: Fair and equal treatment to all employees in terms of promotions, rewards, recognition and career opportunities is a pre-requisite to employee engagement. There should be no bias against anyone.
- Work-Life Balance: One of the major challenges in today’s hectic lifestyle is to maintain a balance between personal and professional life. Time is scarce and it leads to conflicts both at home and workplace leading to stress. The employees should be given frequent breaks during the shift along with regular fitness and counseling sessions. They should be provided with holidays and medical leaves when they are ill. These facilities develop an emotional bonding with the company.
Cook (2008) has briefed these measures as ‘WIFI Model’. This stands for W-Well-being, I-Information, F-Fairness and I-Involvement. The above strategies can prove to be of great help to organizations striving for employee engagement. Engaged employees not only enhance individual growth but also lead the organization to the pinnacle of success.
- Bhatia, S. (2007). Strategic Human Resource Management: Winning through People. New Delhi: Deep & Deep Publications Pvt. Ltd.
- Cook, S. (2008). The Essential Guide to Employee Engagement: Better Business Performance through Staff Satisfaction. Kogan Page Limited.
- Russell, J. & Linda. (April, 2010). “Engage Your Workforce.” Infoline: Tips, Tools, and Intelligence for Trainers. Volume 27, Issue 1004. USA: ASTD Press.
- Secord, H. (2003). Implementing Best HR Practices in Human Resources Management. CCH Canadian Limited.