Is HR engaged with engagement?

Employees need to feel that they have control over their work and the freedom to make decisions

By Dominic Keogh-Peters

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HR leaders would have to consider a number of things, including authentic and thoughtful leadership engagement and interventions among employees.
HR leaders would have to consider a number of things, including authentic and thoughtful leadership engagement and interventions among employees.

Published: Sun 23 Apr 2023, 12:30 PM

I think it’s a fairly obvious statement that — no business can win without its people and employee engagement is crucial for any organisation’s success. But do HR teams truly understand their potential influence on engaging their teams beyond providing pool tables and jelly beans?

While these things might attract people to the workplace initially, they are not enough to keep them engaged in their work in the long run. So, what are the key initiatives that HR leaders can use to drive engagement in their businesses?

Employee experience plays a vital role in engagement. It encompasses everything from the work environment to the culture of the organisation. Employees who have a positive experience in their workplace tend to be more engaged in their work. A positive work environment includes the basics — things like a comfortable workspace, proper equipment and technology, and a supportive team. Its getting the basics right – (think Maslow/Herzberg)

Clear direction is essential for engagement. Employees need to know where the organisation is headed, what their role is in achieving those goals, and how their work contributes to the overall success of the organisation. When employees understand how their work aligns with the organisation’s objectives, they are more likely to feel invested in the organisation’s success. Think a great induction when people start and goal setting and kick of meetings to align expectations, supported with regular performance check ins.

Autonomy, mastery, and purpose are critical for engagement. Employees need to feel that they have control over their work and the freedom to make decisions. They also need opportunities to develop their skills and expertise, which contributes to their sense of mastery. Finally, employees need to feel that their work has a purpose and contributes to something meaningful. When employees have a sense of purpose, they are more likely to be engaged in their work. Think competent line managers that can delegate, development and career growth and a clearly articulated organisational purpose.

Task identity is essential for engagement. Employees need to feel that they have ownership over their work and that their work is meaningful. When employees have a sense of ownership over their work, they are more likely to take pride in their work and feel engaged. Think regular updates on both comp[any and personal performance.

A two-way voice is crucial for engagement. Employees need to feel that their opinions are valued and that they have a voice in the organisation. When employees feel heard, they are more likely to feel invested in the organisation’s success. Think internal communication platforms, listening groups and regular feedback sessions.

Competent managers are essential for engagement. Managers play a critical role in creating a positive work environment, providing clear direction, and fostering autonomy, mastery, and purpose. When managers are competent, they can create a sense of trust and respect among their team, which contributes to engagement. Think management development programmes to upskill your leadership team.

Fairness and equity are essential for engagement. Employees need to feel that they are being treated fairly and that there is equity in the workplace. When employees feel that there is fairness and equity, they are more likely to feel invested in the organisation’s success. Think clear processes and policies supported with great communication.

Finally, reward the right things and celebrate success. Employees need to feel that their hard work is recognized and rewarded. However, it is important to reward the right things. Recognition and rewards should be tied to performance and contribution to the organisation’s success. Celebrating success also creates a positive work environment and fosters a sense of camaraderie among the team. Think internal reward schemes.

In conclusion, employee engagement goes beyond superficial perks like pool tables and jelly beans. It requires creating a positive work environment, providing clear direction, fostering autonomy, mastery, and purpose, creating a sense of task identity, ensuring a two-way voice, having competent managers, ensuring fairness and equity, rewarding the right things and celebrating success.

When employees are engaged, they are more likely to be productive, committed, and invested in the organisation’s success. No business can win without its people engaged.

The writer is the Group Chief Human Resources Officer of Galadari Brothers . He is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and a graduate of the Wharton CHRO programme. His work on organisational transformation has been showcased by the CIPD in their digital learning series and presented at the CIPD London Festival of Work. In 2023 he was listed in the top 50 most Influential HR leaders in the MENA by the Economic Times.


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