What makes them tick and stick around

Siddharth Reddy

Employee engagement is all the talk. Whether it is HR discussing the winning formula to employee engagement or water cooler conversations among employees whining about the lack of the same. Need you be concerned about how you walk the talk with your employee engagement strategy?

Latest research certainly say yes. Insync Surveys reveals that engaged employees display 18 per cent greater productivity and 60 per cent higher quality, while an Aon Hewitt survey shows that companies in the top quartile of engagement scores enjoy a 50 per cent higher shareholder return. Bottom line: employee engagement affects your business. Here are some things HR managers need to know about fostering an engaging environment for employees:

It starts on day one

Statistics show that the expenses a company bears to replace an employee during their first year is almost three times their annual pay. Often, organisations mistake employee engagement as a quarterly or once-a-year affair, where they take their team out for a fancy lunch or hold an annual celebratory event inviting employees and families. That does not suffice. Engagement needs to start from day one. 

In the long run

Employee engagement goes beyond offering an enticing pay check, snazzy office space and exciting work. It also comes down to how you reciprocate with your employees and appreciate their efforts. 

In fact, a global study revealed that 97 per cent of employees feel the need to be recognised. This need can also influence crucial decisions that employees make during time spent in an organisation. When done right, it pays back many times over. Recognised employees are highly engaged, simply because they receive consistent (positive) feedback, they know what behaviours are encouraged and then simply repeat them. 

Level up your game

Keeping employees engaged is so much about turning the mundane into something magical, and gamification can be a great way to realise this motive. Structure your gamification strategy with  points, bonuses and rewards to keep employees engaged and locked in on their goals. As a study from Harvard University shows, employees are highly engaged when they know how well they are progressing at work. Gamification allows employees to pick their own learning goals and at their own pace. Of course you want to make sure your gamification strategy is in line with the intended audience. 

A sales employee, for instance, would appreciate it if a little risk-taking and target-pushing would yield comparable rewards. Throw in the sociability elements of friendly competition and interaction that gamification brings in, and you know you have a winner. It gives employees an opportunity to interact, bond and engage with each other. With gamification in the lead, the cycle of engagement fuels itself. 

— The writer is MD & CEO of BI WORLDWIDE India


Leading from the front

The need of the hour isn’t just managers who lead, but managers who can also engage. Employees who are engaged are on the same page as their employers when it comes to the organisation’s roadmap. Statistics show that employees who are engaged in meaningful work i.e. understand how their work is playing a part in business success, display greater commitment and productivity upto 60 per cent and 73 per cent respectively.

How do you let your corporate vision and mission trickle down from boardroom conversations to everyday decisions of the average employee? Middle management is instrumental in this effort. The onus is on managers to keep the culture of recognition alive in an organisation.