Quest to engage employees ! – A mirage

“Engaged employees stay on for what they give, the disengaged stay for what they get!!”

The quest to “engage” employees is like a mirage in the desert on a hot summer day. It is what the traveler (who personifies the employer) yearns for, but the closer he gets to it, it seems to elude him.
Employee engagement is the “IT” jargon for a corporate professional today. Employers are constantly trying to engage employees because it is the force that drives performance outcomes.
The generation-next is a “jet-age” talent pool. They personify Speed- fast foods, 2 minute cooking, faster downloads, social networking, Google are the order of the day. To engage such an employee is a task in itself-it is a challenge! The ever-changing need for higher salaries, faster promotions, international exposure has left employers with high attrition rates and has also eluded them time and again with the answer for the question-What does an employee want?
That brings us to the question-What is employee engagement and who is an engaged employee?
Employee engagement is a symbiosis-a 2 way process. It is a commitment and involvement from both the employee and the employer. It feeds the growth of each and is a catalyst for an employee to reach the tip of Maslow’s pyramid-self realization.

The 6 C’s of employee engagement are as follows, both the employee and the employer need to-Commit, Communicate, Collaborate, Connect, Create and Celebrate. Growth is not what the organization gives you; it is what you strive for and consequently what you earn. An engaged employee commits himself to the overall organizational vision, vis-à-vis his personal goals. It is the collaboration of his talents, his desires and the organizations objectives. It is creating an eco-system where the employee strives to BE the change the organization wants. It is building a connect of trust and pride.

However, leadership cannot “motivate” engagement; instead, the organization must inspire the kind of outcomes it wants by rooting itself in a set of values, being in the grip of an idea worthy of dedication and commitment, connecting around a meaningful and shared purpose, and aligning around a common, deep, and sustainable set of human and environmental values.
Why? Because sustainable engaged employees generate ideas, innovation, creativity, processes, and other outcomes that deliver long-term competitive advantages, and they also collaborate with others to make progress. A valuable, and values-based, alternative would be the new frontier, where companies work in a systemic manner to ensure alignment of their purpose and mission to their business strategies and vision, and then cascade this inspiration through their core values into specific leadership behaviors. Only when observable leadership behaviors are identified, communicated, measured, tracked, managed, and integrated into business processes and talent-management systems can an organization evolve on its cultural journey.

Fortune 100 company and its leaders are now working on how they can connect employees to the shared mission and purpose through values, rather than through rules, so that it manifests in more of the behaviors they want, e.g. more engagement and more innovation. This ability to harmonize a company’s values and a company’s policies is an important piece in ensuring a company’s human operating system is functioning for the benefit of the organization. Organizations should recognize that there is work to be done in encouraging behavior that shifts the focus from governing toward developing leaders who inspire principled performance. We still need rules (along with carrots and sticks), but they are no longer sufficient in an era when organizational success, over the long term, depends on out-behaving the competition. Improving employee engagement does not require executives to don their motivational capes and work on improving employee engagement. Instead, the process begins with a simple question about the workforce, a query whose answer leaders should act upon: Are our employees inspired ?

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