The Art of "Connecting" with your Employees

There has been a lot of talk about Employee Engagement since years. A range of phenomenon comes into picture when we talk about it like -Job Satisfaction, Happy Employee, Wok-Life Balance, Good Relations with Boss/Superiors and Teamwork.

 

All across the world, in organizations exist good policies for employees but often the management has a hard time in fully executing the same and in defining how they make a difference. The fun thrilled activities once a week, the ice breakers at the start of every meeting, a day out on a project completion, theme days, festival celebrations, personal days celebration all form part of the engagement matrix. Despite all of this, organizations still continue to suffer from the problem of disengaged employees that constitute 39% of the workforce in a company. If those figures are to be believed then the kind of cost spent by the management in the engagement activities of these 39% of disengaged employees is huge. Since the management can’t differentiate between good employees or bad employees they continue to feed all the rats within its purview.

 

So how exactly the management is supposed to identify the black rats in the organization? If we take up the same scenario in a classroom and ask a teacher of the kind of students that are there in one class, they will point out to three kinds. First being those who are attentive, proactive, asks a lot of questions, and are participative in discussions. Second category are those who are just copying everything from the blackboard, hearing out what’s being said, have a limited knowledge of what’s being taught around in the class. The third kind being the one that have no idea of what’s going on in the class, are probably looking out of the window or poking the student sitting next to them.  An exact similar scenario exists when we talk about highly engaged, engaged and disengaged employee within the organization.

 

The second category generally constitute the highest percentage and are the most vulnerable to get influenced by the child who is looking outside the window. Management energies thus should be focused on them as they have the potential to do good for the organization. The answer to this lies in the student –teacher approach of personalized attention.

 

At the organizational level this translates into individual development and change at the grassroot level. This is not to say that group interactions are not necessary, of course team activities are important as its the whole pack that leads the way. But the idea of “each one counts” overpowers. In order to thus develop the “each one”, companies should resort to “ engagement” in literal sense which translates into providing an emotional and a more personalized experience. Rolling out an employee satisfaction survey won’t help till the time you don’t actually listen out what your employee wants to say. Empower your managers and the “highly engaged” employees to act as mentors to those who you feel have the potential to do good to the organization.  Listening to stories of someone who is on the same side of the table surely helps than the stories that are coming from your superiors.

 

To accomplish this, is required a great deal of collaboration between the manager and HR professional to understand individual concerns and define engagement activities. Businesses need to identify their unique “engagement culture” that best defines the company culture they want to embark upon. And this starts right at the time of hiring. Organizations need to remember that just making contact with their employees wont be sufficient, it is got to be “connecting “ more than “contacting” that will work in its favour. 

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