How well do you really know your employees? Are they the same bright, talented and charged up individuals you hired a year ago? Or better still, are you the same manager you were a year ago? No! Right? Then how can you look at what worked last year and simply run the same engagement program at a 10% budget increase?
Employee Engagement as we know is evolving faster than we can image. In fact, it already has. It’s no longer about seeing if someone is actively disengaged or passively engaged. But rather, are they really happy about coming to work? Wait! Happy? Why?
Happiness is the new metric
Research shows that happier people work harder, stick around longer and are more productive. But then, is this not true of an actively engaged audience as well? Not really. With an ever evolving workforce and increasing competition, measuring engagement levels alone may no longer be adequate.
In fact, engagement should be looked at as a part of Workplace Happyness. Since different things matter to different individuals across gender, age groups and seniority levels, measuring overall happyness levels and understanding professional choices can give organizations a more accurate picture of what really drives their employees.
This in turn means better decision making, more accurate initiative launches and bringing in a degree of accountability and measurability to areas that may earlier seem subjective.
Organizations Don’t Take Decisions
The story does not end here. While you re-orient the way you look at Employee Engagement, the other thing you also need to re-align is your decision making team. You see, organizations don’t take decisions. It’s the people assigned to the decision making posts that do. Simple.
Often, engagement programs are known to have been launched based on ‘what is normally done’ and/or what has worked in the past. This, in hindsight does more damage than you can imagine. Then, there is the fallacy of what has worked for my competitor will work for me. Wrong. Despite being in the same sector, know that there is no real guarantee this will ever happen. Even if you have poached half your sales force from your competitor. Plus, there is also the challenge of implementing a ‘one size fits all’ program for employees across age groups. Why can’t you figure out what works for each department and then plan something for them? Yes. Centrally driven initiatives do work. Only if they are tracked and implemented to the last dot. We all know the challenges in that especially if you are located across geographies.
What then happens is that programs are rolled out for the ‘greater good’ or for the ‘majority’ while ignoring a small but significant chunk of loyalists who then move to the ‘unhappy’ zone. What’s the solution? Get your teams to realign their thinking. In fact, think for the organization but know and act for the department.
No more Work-Life Balance
Let’s face it. There is no such thing as work-life balance. In the 21st century when half of the world is checking their phones before they brush their teeth and responding to emails on the go, how exactly are you expecting work-life balance to kick in? Instead, look at measuring work and life blend or re-alignment. Something that measures the extent to which an individual is able blend one’s personal and professional/work commitments. Therein, lies the magic.
It is important to understand where the employee’s priorities lie. Measuring blend is also dependent on the extent to which the person works overtime. Spending too much time ‘mentally and /or physically’ at work is bound to affect work-life blend and in turn the level of happyness for the individual.
While focusing on priorities and managing a schedule are important, understanding how a person manages while taking a break from work is equally pertinent. With the use of technology that makes it difficult for a person to be really ‘away’ from work, the need to draw a clear boundary becomes urgent. Being able to spend time with family and not carry forward work on a vacation indicates an ability to blend work and life. That is the fact.
If you truly want to measure happyness levels, think about digging deeper. Go beyond engagement and see what really drives employees. Not just motivation but key drivers that are deep rooted in personal and professional choices. Instead of having engaged employees strive for ‘happy employees’. After all, it is only by figuring out what truly drives their workforce can organizations build strategies that help them stay ahead of the curve.
Engagement has indeed evolved. Are you ready?