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Why employee engagement is so important and what to do about it

Having an engaged employee does wonders for businesses - needless to say, when an employee is positively engaged and motivated for work, they will put in their best efforts to drive the organisation forward.

This was affirmed during a panel session at the 10th Annual Global DWEN Summit yesterday, attended by Human Resources Online, where panellists discussed the need for engaging employees the right way, and how employers and HR leaders can do so.

Panellists (pictured above from L-R):

  • Moderator: Meghan E. Butler, Contributing Writer
  • Mandy Gilbert, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Creative Niche, Inc.
  • Tiffany See, Head of Human Resources, Asia, BHP
  • Dorothy Yiu, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, EngageRocket

Snippets of the discussion below:

Measuring employee engagement is becoming more agile

According to Dorothy Yiu, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, EngageRocket, employee engagement is defined in two ways - first, intrinsic motivation of employees, and second, the measure of productivity.

Further, with workplace transformation moving rapidly, organisations are switching up the way they measure employee engagement.

For instance, Yiu said, an analysis on companies found even in the most advanced companies like Facebook, employers find surveys to be the most effective forms of measurement. In fact, organisations are moving towards more agile pulse surveys today.

Thus, it is important that HR leaders and employers in-charge of measuring employee engagement cascade the resulting data down to the respective line managers at the soonest, as this would prove more useful than data that is two to three months old (as currently used). Yiu stressed: "It is better to equip line managers with day-to-day data that they can work on instead."

Organisations need to focus on building a positive culture

As Tiffany See, Head of Human Resources, Asia, BHP was quick to point out:

Culture is like the secret sauce - it differentiates the good from the bad in the company.

In building a strong culture that would engage and retain talent, See highlights three things to note:

  • First, HR and employers should think about the values that are important to them and the company.
  • Second, she says: "Define what those values are, what they look like and what they don't look like. Once you've got clarity on them, think about how you want to see them played out."
  • Third, the leadership team should decide how people are going to be role models of those values. See adds: "When you have reinforcement everyday, you become more aware of what the values you desire are."

Further, Mandy Gilbert, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Creative Niche, Inc., added that transparency in communication is key, whereby employers should be clear from the start in letting employees know what the organisation is all about. How? She says: "The experience sharing of leaders, and being 'vulnerable'. It also helps in learning from other people's mistakes."

Moderator Meghan E. Butler, Contributing Writer, added: "Be clear on what you want to achieve; if you have a spirit of transparency and it means a lot to you, talk about it. Let the team know why you started the business.

"When onboarding someone, give them a history of your company, what it's about, have a schedule for their first two weeks here. Incorporate your company's values in onboarding so there's nothing else for them to learn (about the company) down the road."

In addition, Meghan shared that creating a sense of belonging is crucial to having a conducive team and overall workplace culture.

The most disruptive trend: A multigenerational workforce

Citing a survey conducted on HR leaders, which asked them what they expected to see as the most disruptive trend in the workforce, Yiu noted that "surprisingly", the most common reply was a multigenerational workforce.

It was also found that while Millennials wanted recognition and autonomy, the older generation wanted stability.

To this, See stressed the importance of managers making a point to "understand generational differences" by having conversations with them to find out what is important, what is needed, and how to shape them.

Photo / Journalist's own

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