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Creating and maintaining employee engagement is a continuous effort. It is neither off/on nor something that once created shall stay forever. Globoforce reports that 36% businesses see employee engagement as a top challenge. My own experience in several organizations who sincerely wanted to create employee engagement tells that it is a constant effort at multiple levels. We shall discuss the situation in Pakistan separately.

Research and surveys have identified several factors that promote and enhance employee engagement. A snapshot of these is discussed below. The process starts from the time when the employee joins the organization.

53% of HR professionals say that the employee engagement rises when onboarding is improved – SilkRoad

During the time when a person is selected to when she/he joins, good companies are now making effort to provide for all that would be needed. You can observe from the pictures that new joiners post on LinkedIn, that they have a welcome card or folder, an employee card, laptop, and a tea mug etc. already placed there. The new joiner certainly feels welcome and at home immediately. This is happening in fewer organizations at present, but it is a very positive development.

37% of employees consider recognition as most important in boosting their productivity level – Forbes

Every organization has a mix of high performers, average performers, and low performers. It is a corporate issue as to how to differentiate between excellent workers and average workers on an ongoing basis. Recognition is a basic tool for employee motivation/engagement which comes in both material forms like increments, awards, prizes, gifts, and non-material forms like public appreciation, name or photo on the notice board, shields, or certificates. Recognition is a strong motivator that has a more lasting effect as compared to rewards.

Employees who use their strengths, skills, and abilities everyday are six times more likely to be engaged at work, 8% more productive, and 15% less likely to leave their jobs – Gallup

Gallup has been promoting the concepts of strengths and engagements for the last several years. It started with their first book ‘First, Break All the Rules’, published in 1999, and followed by ‘Now, Discover Your Strengths’ in 2001. Their whole thesis revolves around finding and utilizing own strengths. The questionnaire developed by Gallup to gauge engagement comprises of twelve questions, six of which are related to development. It works both ways; if the employees feel they are constantly learning and developing, they stay engaged. Similarly, if they see that their strengths are being utilized, they remain more engaged.

80% of employees feel more engaged when their work is consistent with the core values and mission of their organization – IBM

Vision and Mission come from the top and are shared throughout the organizations. Values are created and lived by the employees, though the corporate gives a guiding framework. If a company claims their value to be ‘sustainability’, and then takes step to develop sustainable models, this shall generate goodwill and commitment among employees. The absence of it will have the opposite effect.

Belief in the senior leadership is the strongest engagement driver, with growth and development as the second – Modern Survey

The senior management underestimates its full impact on the staff; they usually consider the power they have and the resulting respect, heartfelt or forced, which is shown by the staff. The impact goes much deeper. Seniors become a great source of inspiration if they rise to that level. They are also looked up for consistency and integrity. If their actions are consistent with what they say, and in line with the core values, their staff loves to work with them.

83% of employees with opportunities to take on new challenges say they are more likely to stay with the organization – Report Linker

Not all employees look forward to taking on new challenges, but high performers usually do. Every corporate has a smaller core of high-flying people who are always on the lookout for new challenges. They are the ones who drive innovation and fast growth. The bulk of staff in a typical corporate comprises of average who are very important because they ensure that the routine operations keep running. However, with new businesses, such as in digital space, this equation has changed. There are fewer employees, and each one has a critical function to perform.

93% of employees say that they are more likely to stay with an empathetic employer – Businessolver

A colleague of mine once made a comment, “in today’s times, the employees look up to Allah above and the employer below for their needs”. It may not be too far from the reality. Since the employees are putting in their entire effort in the job, they expect to be taken care off. An empathetic employer is cherished, and the engagement increases manifold. It is not about fulfilling needs all the time, but about having the feeling of protection, if needed. Common observation is that most people never ask for any favor, but the feeling of protection keeps them feeling safe.

92% of employees say that having the technology to do their job efficiently affects their work satisfaction – Ultimate Software

Technology is now and integral part of all organizations. However, the kind of technology, its implementation, and its use varies greatly. Good choice of technology and proper implementation make lives of employees easy and increase productivity. Hundreds of softwares are now available internationally and their acquisition and access defy borders and sentiments. It is better to take all stakeholders onboard before choosing an enterprise level software. Observation says that technology is not giving as much benefit as it claims to be.

Sum Up

More could be written under the head of factors that promote engagement, but the sum up is that good environment, empowerment, delegation, development, and recognition are universal factors for creating, enhancing, and maintaining employee engagement.

Next, we shall see factors which reduce and damage engagement.

To be Continued……

Disclaimer. Most pictures in these blogs are taken from Google Images which does not show anyone’s copyright claim. However, if any such claim is presented, we shall remove the image with suitable regrets.

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