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Continued from Previous……
In this last part, we talk about the subject which has drawn huge attention in the last several years. It is Employee Engagement, and it is relevant to our discussion as it is among the greatest sources of inspiration.
Employee Engagement may be defined as the state where the employee is physically, mentally and emotionally engaged with the organization. Physical engagement brings hard work, mental engagement brings focused thinking, and emotional engagement brings joy and pride in achievements.
Gallup did an extensive survey several years back which included interviewing about two million working people, including eighty thousand managers. They published the findings in a book titled, ‘First Break All the Rules’. This was followed by another book ‘Now, Discover Your Strengths’.
Highest ranking among engagement parameters is personal development. It even may take precedence over career development. It is not paradoxical. As long as people think they are being developed, they know they have a chance for career growth.
In order to inspire the team, the best a manager can do is to cultivate employee engagement. Following proposals may help.
Align Goals, Expectations and Resources
The commonest flaw in corporate working is that the individual goals and expectations are not aligned with the corporate goals. An individual may be doing an outstanding job and later come to know his work did not matter much for the corporate objectives. The corporate and management need to take responsibility for this. Each individual’s work, job design and goals should be aligned with the corporate objectives.
Expectations from staff should be clearly spelled out. If there is a system of performance management in place, such as KPIs, it will greatly help. Even if it is not formally there, the staff should be encouraged to discuss and set certain targets after discussion with the managers who will do the fine tuning to align individual targets with those of corporate. When the expectations are clearly laid out, the staff works with greater focus and zeal. In my personal experience, I have found this area highly deficient in most organizations. The deficiency is on both sides, but the larger part of blame should be taken by the management cadre.
With alignment of individual targets and expectations with the corporate, it is equally important to provide required resources. It is our national thinking to work with poor resources even when we can afford the better ones. Even large corporates with multi-billion-rupee businesses, insist on using unlicensed softwares, incomplete support, absence of proper data backup, absence of relevant equipment and facilities, and the brazen will to not invest in these areas. The result is wastage of time and energy, unnecessary glitches and continuous heartburn. Sometimes, the data loss may even become extremely serious.
When above factors are taken the care they deserve, an inspiring environment starts building.
Aligning Personal Values with Corporate Values
When individuals feel that their values are in line, or match the corporate values, they feel secure and encouraged. The opposite will cause everyday frustration.
There are two major issues here. One, most corporates do not have defined values. They do have an informal system which is described like, ‘this is how the work is done around here’. A very large majority of private businesses in Pakistan do not have defined values. Two, at the time of hiring, this factor is totally ignored. While there is focus on education and experience and skillset, there is no discussion on values. The result is that the individual comes in and finds that he has to do things which do not match with his/her values. The corporate insists on doing what it considers right.
The conflict between values of individuals and corporates is causing huge loss of talent, productivity and profitability in the organizations.
Provide Opportunities for Development, Growth and Recognition
The greatest drive to work better comes from the desire to get reward and recognition. The more structured this system is, the more diligent the employees are. However, in most corporates, development, reward and recognition remain arbitrary and discretionary. The employees are not sure what they should do at work to move forward. They then divert their efforts to pleasing the bosses, doing things which may be irrelevant but look good, and completely focus on their growth through such means. There is a gradual decline in the overall quality of work which is usually compensated through hiring more such workers.
The other, even greater fallout is the drain of talent. The more capable and talented workers opt to leave and go to other corporates where their talent may be better recognized, honed and used. The mediocre corporates get separated from higher ones and set out on different paths.
It is the right of all individuals that they must get opportunities for development, reward and recognition. Fortunately, it works extremely well for the corporates also, and creates the biggest win-win situation.
We set out with the premise that inspiring is better than motivating and we have explored how an inspiring environment may be created and sustained.
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