Engagement alone is passé. Think ‘Engagement + Enablement’

You want to develop an effective workforce. But at the same time, you believe that engagement is enough to keep your employees involved. Time to introspect, we say.

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Every company wants to create an engaged workforce. But how many of them are consciously working to both engage and enable their employees?

In every organization, there are a few select people, who are completely committed to their work and their organization. These are those members of the workforce, who go the extra mile, above and beyond their roles. Not only do they produce work of superior quality, but they also demonstrate the potential to be the leaders of tomorrow. The key word here is ‘potential’. It is therefore, no surprise that organizations too want to leave no stone unturned, in their effort to retain this valuable talent. So what do most companies do to hold on to their high performers? Let’s see. I am sure you can think of the usual employee engagement methods. Surveys, training programs- you know. The works. After all, we all know that our workforce is our greatest asset, right? Wrong.

Organizations may think that they are doing enough by engaging their precious resources. But, here’s a fact. Engagement is not enough. Your efforts to engage your workforce are not enough. This will not keep them from walking out the door.

The ‘frustrated’ employee

Now that we’ve stated some blunt facts, here is an elaboration.  Yes, ‘engaged’ employees are ‘motivated’ employees. But in the wrong environment, these valuable assets can end up as ‘engaged and frustrated’ employees.

Since, these employees are motivated, they do put in the extra effort to ensure they do a good job to match your expectations.  But, here’s what we want you to pay attention to. What if you have a highly motivated employee in a mismatched, unsupportive environment? In this unfavorable situation, it’s only a matter of time, before the negative and harmful feeling of frustration sweeps in.

What do frustrated employees do? Break through, break down or break free?

In The Enemy of Engagement, Mark Royal and Tom Agnew identify three things that could happen with highly engaged, but frustrated employees. Number one- these individuals could break through the barriers in their path and reach their goals, through sheer perseverance. Number two- these high potential employees could break down in the face of the obstacles and simply reduce the amount of effort they put in. Or number three and the most likely of all, they could just break free and move on to greener pastures.

So, what’s the solution?

Here’s what we suggest. Identify the ‘missing link’ and do something about it. Engagement is not enough; employees need to be enabled too. To frame it in one phrase, think ‘engagement + enablement’.

Our extensive research displays that organizations are not focusing enough on ‘employee enablement’, which essentially involves creating an environment conducive for getting things done. Enablement could take on various forms, such as supporting employees in reaching their goals, removing needless barriers to productivity and ensuring that the right people are doing the right jobs.

The best recipe for success in the workplace is a combination of engagement and enablement. Engagement can help create feelings of motivation and commitment to the organization, and enablement will help sustain this.

Take the case of an online money lending firm, which was undergoing a massive strategy and brand change, during the time it decided to have an employee effectiveness survey done. The survey ensured that all the employees’ concerns about the changes were sufficiently addressed, by linking the effectiveness parameters to the key performance indicators of the business. The result? The survey confirmed that 49% of the employees expressed a desire to work for the company for more than 2 years, as opposed to only 27% of them just six months ago.

So, here’s what every organization can do to retain its talent. Study various parameters, such as performance management, employee empowerment, the availability of resources and training opportunities, the degree of collaboration present, and structure and process of the work. Only through an elaborate process like this one, will you be able to identify the barriers to employee effectiveness. And as we all already know, step one of solving any problem, is to acknowledge that you have an issue at hand, which needs to be fixed. Our first piece of advice- take the crucial first step.

Read more about keeping your workforce switched on in our Employee Engagement e-report,

The New Rules of Engagement

Articles, studies, surveys and research- employee engagement is a popular topic of discussion amongst consulting firms, HR professionals and business media. But, how often does an organization really change its employee engagement strategy? Research demonstrates that by the end of 2018, almost a quarter of people worldwide will have changed jobs. Does your organization have all the strategies needed to retain your employees in place? Or are you going to allow your workforce to be a part of this 23.4 percent?

A highly global scenario, coupled with digitization and technology has paved the way for a massive change in the global business environment. At this point, the need of the hour is to have another look at your employee engagement strategy and form a new set of rules to handle the six megatrends that are causing the evolution around you.

Globalization: When you have offices all over the world and a workforce which comprises various nationalities, it goes without saying that balancing global objectives with the local scenario is significant.

How you can handle this trend: Multinational companies have to alter their plans according to the needs of the employees on ground, but without obstructing the overall action plan of the organization. To frame it in one phrase- driving alignment is of key importance.

Environmental Crisis: Climate change and lesser availability of raw materials is a reality that we cannot ignore any longer. High costs and volatility are inevitable; and so is a rise in the concern sentiment amongst employees and stakeholders.

How you can handle this trend: Put an effective plan in place to fulfil environmental responsibility. Engage your employees and commit publically to your environmental objectives. That way those who work for you will know you are committed to this purpose.

Demographic Change: One of your employees is 64 years old and the other one is 22 years old. Will you use the same strategies to retain both these individuals?

How you can handle this trend: Understand their respective motives and goals and merge their diverse skills. You have to tailor their training and ensure that you develop a relationship of trust.

Individualism: What do you do when you have all the money in the world? You begin to focus on your individual needs. Globalization and an increase in wealth are directly proportionate to each other.

How you can handle this trend: As the focus shifts to personal goals and work-life balance, an employer will have to learn to meet individual needs. You can start with promoting individual recognition. But while you encourage feedback and knowledge training, don’t forget to ensure that individual objectives never overpower the team.

Digitization: Our entire lives get played out through social media. Is there really a difference between private lives and professional lives anymore? Sharing information and personal opinions is easy. You can access an alternative anytime you want.

How you can handle this trend: Learn to use technology in your favor. Increase knowledge sharing and collaboration. Protect work-life balance and analyze your rewards. At the same time, encourage face-to-face interactivity.

Technological Convergence: More and more technological breakthroughs, new product markets, fast paced change- what does all of this lead to? Possibly a confused and demotivated workforce which spends most of its time grappling with ever-increasing targets.

How you can handle this trend: Maintain transparency and communicate effectively. Promote benefits and ensure your managers are aligned with your direction. Learn from the past and help your employees develop skills that will better their performance.

Once, you have your individual strategies to deal with these megatrends in place, implementing them in a systematic manner will be a relatively easier task. This is a crucial time, so formulate a plan now. If you want to sustain the success of your organization and take it to new heights, reshaping your engagement strategy must be on the top of your agenda.