November 23, 2008

Employee Engagement in action!

Listed are a few HR initiatives which could ensure maximum engagement of employee with any organization could be--
  1. Periodical Communication / Discussion Platforms (Townhall / Org-wide update / Business Development Update) with employees - Everybody would like to know what's happening with their organization. Whether we accept it or not, there's always rumour mills running, and the best way to clear confusion to employees would be a monthly or quarterly Townhall meeting followed by a MoM / Letter of Update from Management. Townhalls would give a greater experience for the sheer joy of meeting up with a senior management member.
  2. Fun at Work - Out of 5 or 6 working days, perhaps 1 hour in a week can be taken out for 'Fun at Work', which would be a great destressor for everyone, and also motivate employees. You can arrange for small games, the objective being 'fun at work', and 'not winning'. Most organizations have it already, in a more informal way. It just needs a little more branding and institutionalization. These little things somewhere add up to a more healthier workplace. The only thing at the end is that you need to look at the ROI of these things in terms of engagement of employees at work, retention and healthier workplace climate rather than monetary returns.
  3. Reward & Recognition Programme (A scoreboard defining the Hot-Shots / Hi-Performers of the Company on a display to all) - It's not necessary that all rewards & recognition provided to employee have a significant monetary bearing on the organization. A board of fame like this on display to everyone would surely create an enthusiasm and get the adrenaline pumping to get their names up there. Of course, a little difference here and there can surely add zing and spice up the competition to perform. Even a board for TLs (Team Leader)/ PMs (Project Manager) specially can get them running. Only, the criteria of judging best performers must be clear and transparent to all to avoid negative crop-up of issues.
  4. Appraisal / Increment Clarity - It is natural and acceptable for employees to think that appraisal means or would result in salary increment. So, it is the Management / HR Communication through various initiatives which needs to make it clear that while increments would only be effective once a year, mid term appraisals have a bearing on the same, or whatever wise the policy of the company states.This small clarification does wonders.. do not underestimate it.
  5. Goal Setting - Employees are lost and are in absolute 'lost' situation with only 'perceived' and 'assumed' goals about their work. At least for employees with a vintage of 6 months, you may encourage the team to team to do goal setting for the next 6 months. This will ensure focus and goal-orientedness for organizational delivery to be aligned with primary objectuves at all levels all the time. This ideally, needs to be a top-down exercise, where first SBU heads have their goals, which then are cascaded to Project Managers, TLs, and eventually to the bottomline drivers. Alignment certainly can't work any other way.
  6. Career Pathing - This can be clubbed with Goal Setting, where the focus is on employee development for progression and promotion. This needs individual attention and a plan for employee to attain necessary skills to move up the ladder professionally through necessary trainings, and skills development programmes which can be critical for taking up advanced roles as the employee gains vintage in the organization. A great motivator / and keeps employee on track.
  7. Early Warning Indicators (EWIs) - Most of the IT companies follow the practise of EWIs, which is a tool managed by TLs to keep abreast with attrition, and help them plan proactively. Typically, this is done twice a month, at the beginning and at the end of every month. This tool helps determine the attrites in advance, and help taking any proactive steps to retain or replace as the case may be with individual employees.
  8. Culture Building - Policy Sessions - Each organization has its own culture and values specified, and it's necessary to ensure all employees align themselves to the same. If communication about organization policies / events / values does not happen regularly, the reinforcement is lost. Typically, this are only done during the New Joinee Induction only. But, human nature easily tends to forget it with time. For this, some refresher sessions, or some sessions on regular basis about different policies need to be conducted to ensure adherence to organizational policies and values thus establishing an organization's Culture.
  9. Employee Satisfaction Index & HR Skips - Employees certainly have many issues and feedback which they may not share with their TLs or operations managers. If not given an opportunity for them to speak, they would start talking among themselves and creating a parallel communication channel which may be unhealthy for the organization. Therefore, it is necessary for HR to give them a channel / platform to voice their concerns through open-house sessions and SKIPs to make actionables as necessary and give back the feedback. This will also ensure that the employee satisfaction as far as work and work environment is concerned stays high.
  10. Team-Building Initiatives (Budget Driven) - Lead by the PM / TL, the teams could have some time off-work or on-site activities which may lead to more bonding and cohesiveness of team members for better performance as a whole. A org-wide consensus needs to arrive at this for implementation as it may have a significant financial bearing..
These need to take place in organization with Operations & HR Collaboration to make them more productive and bring better ROI to the organization.
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