Article (October-2018)


Not WHAT but HOW

Anil Kaushik

Designation : -   CMD

Organization : -  Focus TPA


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Employee engagement has acquired centre stage in business world since last two decades. Considerable attention and amount has also been spent on this account to keep employees engaged so that talent is retained, business growth is achieved, larger talent pipeline is developed, employees are kept happy, performance is improved along with the image of employer of choice among people is built and what not. But the truth is that not much is achieved on this front in spite of all efforts. Engagement scores remain abysmally low. The baffling point is how it was possible? It is evident that there has been much hype of this phenomenon whereas truth has been something different. This is because of the fact that organisations cannot buy their way into engagement. Nor can you force employees to be on the engagement platform against their will. Actually this is to be understood that engagement must grow organically from inside out. It does not matter what is being done for keeping people engaged, what matters is how it is done. It is a journey from contact to connect.
It has to be understood well that employees are not connected through events and programs; they are connected and engaged by people. We need to look for and develop inspirational leadership to get it spread in all directions vertically and horizontally. There is difference between satisfied, happy and engaged employees. These are altogether different states. Employee may be satisfied because of salary and work environment but not necessarily happy. In the same way employee may be happy because of his state of mind or extra perks and facilities at workplace, which he may not get outside, but again not necessarily be engaged one. Engagement has to be two ways and should be driven by an element of honesty. It comes from within. This takes willingness to look inside oneself and to be truthful. When organisation demonstrates honesty and commitment in employee dealings with utmost care, it will automatically pull the employee towards engagement with organisation. It has to be grown from bottom to top. It becomes easy when you hire the people with happy state of mind and inherent will to work. This is a matter of value and belief system of each employee.
Let us understand the truth of engagement also. In most of the organisations, the hiring pattern is changed. Temp and third party employee's employment is the order of the day. The objective of making money by all means diminishes the concern for employees. Employee who is always working with the sword hanging on his head and he is not sure whether he would be coming to work next day or not with full of insecurity, how organisations can expect from this big chuck of employees to get engaged emotionally from the deep of their heart. No amount of any initiative, program or event or money can make such employees engaged. So there is a basic flaw in the concept of employees' engagement with this kind of employment strategy. Unless there is sense of belongingness among employees, essential elements of pride, commitment and loyalty to the organization from insecured employees cannot be brought in. It is a task requiring much more than good communication, empathy and active coaching.
This edition talks about hype and truth of employee engagement, issues underlying, changing metrics and way forward in this direction.
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