Employee Engagement: The great psychological connection
“Do you think that these employees will stay here for long time by celebrating such birthdays? There are lot of IT companies who do such things, still their attrition is more than 20%.” The traditional HR Manager asked me when I started my career as Management Trainee. I didn’t give up. The budget for cake was not approved; but I started to publish a simple notice wishing employees on their birthdays. Employees appreciated this small gesture.
Employee engagement is always a hot topic for the discussion. Every HR manager has to struggle to control attrition. Unfortunately line managers are not held responsible for employee engagement. There are positive indications on this in professional companies. But still we have to go a long way on engagement issues.
Compensation, work culture, relations with superior, career opportunities, learning opportunities etc are those factors which are considered vital in engaging talent. True, absolutely right. But don’t you think that there is another emotional dimension to the engagement? I have seen companies where all above engaging factors are available, but still the attrition is high! The main factor which is always ignored is treatment given to employees; the way seniors interact with their guys and the way they treat them.
Theoretically, we define employee engagement as “psychological connection with the boss, department and organization.” The question is what efforts we take to connect psychologically? Lot of employee engagement activities are conducted in organizations. But most of the times these are rituals. The reason is, only HR professional are made accountable for this; where is the involvement of other employees and their line managers?
I was working with one Media Company, responsible for almost 3000 employees. Company had lot of expansion plans in other verticals like TV, Web, and Multimedia. Lot of priorities, urgencies was on the table. On one Sunday, I had to call urgent meeting with my 7 team members. I decided to take the team outside. Team was reluctant coming on Sunday, but they had no option. Suddenly one Idea sparked in my mind. I asked office boy to buy 7 flower Bouquets and put the note with it “I am extremely sorry for taking your husband away from you on weekly off. I have done this due to extreme conditions but I know that your husband is successful in the organization due to your support only. Thank you very much.” Bouquets were delivered at home once husbands left their home.
Our meeting was fruitful and team members were very happy. Somehow, their wives must have called them to report this. Afterwards, I enjoyed working with this team and we achieved lot there. I had not done anything different. That was a small gesture towards their support. This small gesture helps me a lot while working with the team. They supported me in everything what I did there.
I personally think that at organizational level lot of activities can be done however it should not be done mechanically. HR practices at macro level like fair compensation, benefits, insurance coverage, fair performance management system, training and culture building helps a lot. But at micro level lot of initiatives can be taken and these initiatives should be taken on individual level.
When somebody achieves something in the organization, I send the letter with snap of the function to the spouse or parent mentioning details of achievement and requesting continues support. This initiative also helps lot in connecting employees with the organization. I received lot of response letter from family members thanking me and the organization.
By doing all this, still employees will not stay with you for a long time; they have lot of opportunities in the market. But wherever they are, they will die for you. It is up to you how you build the repport with them and exhibit how you care them.