How do you think successful organizations achieve their business objectives? What leads to effective corporate sustainability? What defines the Future of Work? The one-word answer to all these questions is people.
It is an organization's workforce on which the entire business is dependent and it is the employees who drive plans to fruition. For this reason, every effort and strategy need to be focused on enriching the worker experience, fostering healthy employee engagement and consistently responding to demands of the workforce.
Of the trending interviews on efficient workforce involvement, we bring to you the top 10 employee engagement thought leaders, who focus on one key aspect each on employee participation and ‘ENGAGEMENT’, which in turn contributes to delivering a healthy employee experience.
The top 10 employee engagement thought leaders -
E - Employee feedback: Saahil Mehta, Decluttering Coach at Path of Ahimsa
N - Non-judgemental attitude: Shona Elliott, Executive Management and Leadership Consultant
G - Goal alignment - Jill Christensen, Employee Engagement (EE) Expert at Jill Christensen International, LLC
A - Age of technology - Rahul Sethi, Founder and CEO of Pro Touch
G - Growth - Steve Cadigan, Keynote Speaker, Talent Hacker and Advisor at Cadigan Talent Ventures
E - Empathy: Jason Lauritsen, Keynote Speaker, Author Advisor and Leadership Trainer
M - Making a conversation - Ramesh Srinivasan, Chief Executive Officer of i.e., A Consulting Organization
E - Execution - Mary Faulkner, Senior Advisor at IA
N - Need for intentional diversity - Harsh Kumar, Executive and Leadership Coach at Independent Consultant
T - Transformational engagement - Lopamudra Priyadarshini, Assistant Director HR at Acuity Knowledge Partners
E - Employee feedback : Saahil Mehta
“It is important to not live life as if your glass is half full and you know everything that is needed. Instead, you should always be like a sponge where you absorb everything that life throws at you. It is then that you start seeing positive results and learn to improve yourself in the process.”
Employee feedback plays a crucial role in ensuring that workers are aligned with their goals. Two-way communication is absolutely key to successful employee engagement at the workplace. Saahil, who is a part of the top 10 employee engagement thought leaders believes that in the evaluation process, effective use of body language and active listening on the part of both employer and employee would foster better interpersonal connection. Another of the latest trends in employee engagement is where employers make workers feel valued and heard by appreciating and recognizing their contribution whilst having a conversation on how performance can be improved. This activity of feed-forward brings the two parties on the same page, thus fostering better engagement.
N - Non-judgemental attitude : Shona Elliott
“The more that leaders and employees develop the skill of being self-aware and non-judgemental, the more they will be in a better position to interact harmoniously with one another at the workplace.”
According to Shona, trust and respect are a give-and-take between employees and they are the qualities that will stand them in good stead to build and strengthen long-term relationships. In addition to having a non-judgemental attitude, being accepting of diverse opinions and staying neutral while interacting with employees coming from different backgrounds, it is also essential for leaders and organizations to foster a culture that empowers the employee voice so that it would lead to more open and transparent communication and interaction between teams at work.
G - Goal alignment : Jill Christensen
“It is important for organizations and leaders to make employees feel connected to something bigger than themselves, like the organization’s goal and to inspire them in the process.”
It is important for employees to align with the leader’s and organization’s objective. Every worker needs to know where exactly the organization is heading and needs to be proactively involved to get clarity on how individual contribution in the micro level makes a difference in the macro level. They need to be connected to all their colleagues and not be by themselves like an island. Jill is of the opinion that leaders can also foster employee engagement at the workplace by ensuring employees march forward in the same direction, do what really matters and add value by achieving the company's goals.
A - Age of technology : Rahul Sethi
“Limitless opportunities are possible at work with a focus on employee well-being by making people more technologically capable and advanced. At the same time, emotional strength i.e. the core trait of what makes us human needs to be cultivated. This would bring about a sufficient blend of both man and machine.”
At the workplace, many-a-times we experience minor arguments due to lack of clarity on what needs to be done on a task, insufficient coordination with the rest of the team and miscommunication. As one among the top 10 employee engagement thought leaders, Rahul believes that during such times, effective employee engagement strategies play a vital role in smoothening processes and restoring normalcy to corporate functioning. In other words, uncertainty must be replaced with understanding, complexity must be replaced with clarity and ambiguity must be replaced by adaptability.
G - Growth : Steve Cadigan
“HR is ever-evolving. Whatever skills we are learning today, we know that they need to be different in the next five years. So in a world that's constantly changing and adapting, it is not important to recruit talent based on what they know. Instead, it is important to recruit them based on what they ‘can' know and what they ‘can' learn with efficient engagement with others in the years to come.”
Pushing employees to constantly improve on their tasks and to be a better version of themselves is employee motivation, which forms a vital component of employee engagement and well-being. It is crucial for companies to be a learning organization where employees are encouraged to upskill themselves and to be on the path of learning and growth. In Steve’s opinion, businesses that truly unlock employees’ potential by pushing them out of their comfort zone, raising their curiosity and making them question and seek answers to their own queries are the ones that have leveraged employee engagement to the fullest.
E - Empathy : Jason Lauritsen
“What is the need of the hour is how you are caring for your employees and empathizing with their concerns and issues, especially at a time when a crisis has struck and when not many have assumed the care-giving role of a leader before.”
It is the employee experience that ultimately attracts and retains an employee. Taking care of people and making them feel wanted at such a trying time is paramount. As per Jason, employees are going to expect leaders to be sensitive to each one’s subjectivities and it is when they see this unfolding that they assume accountability and show commitment in doing their bit for the business. In reality, employees want the same things from work that they want from any other important relationship in their lives. Of the current HRD trends in 2021, the most important is that employees crave healthy and sustainable human relationships.
M - Making a conversation : Ramesh Srinivasan
“Not a lot of managers are happy or comfortable or trained to have conversations with their employees on what they expect from the organization and whether the goals of the two align. There needs to be training for managers to have a heart to heart 'purpose chat' with their team in order to ensure better engagement.”
Ramesh, who is a noteworthy professional and a part of the top 10 employee engagement thought leaders firmly believes that it is imperative for leaders and organizations to engage in conversations with workers in order to discover what employees really want to do, irrespective of whether the employees’ objectives are aligned with the company’s purpose. Leaders in other words, need to ensure that they are accomplishing the business' purpose as well as responding positively to the employee’s sub-purpose. This could be in the form of employees upskilling themselves or trying on a different role at work. And the first step in this endeavour is to have a dialogue with employees to know where they really stand and how they can better themselves professionally.
E - Execution : Mary Faulkner
“Irrespective of whether you’re a top-down organization or a bottom-up one, the factor that stays constant is that businesses work and engage with people for setting, executing and achieving company goals. For this reason, leaders need to narrow their attention to ensure that employees are engaged and motivated enough to function optimally."
Setting goals for employees is easy and is frequently carried out by most businesses. What is not done often by organizations in Mary’s opinion is the process of executing those goals. Execution requires working towards achieving a goal that is ambitious and challenging, yet feasible. And the easiest and most successful execution strategy is one where managers trust and support their employees in goal accomplishment.
N - Need for intentional diversity : Harsh Kumar Johari
“Employee engagement is all about having a culture that embraces differences in opinions of employees and encouraging active interaction and participation from each one on the subject.”
The difference in thoughts and ideas when accepted and encouraged without any judgement passed and without bias is when employee engagement is promoted at the workplace. As one of the top 10 employee engagement thought leaders, Harsh strongly opines that employee engagement through diversity is more intentional than an investment. When the urge to foster such a diverse workforce participation happens from within, it ceases to be another chore which is forcefully incorporated at work in order to be a part of the bandwagon. Thus, intentional diversity is a win-win for the organization, since it grows with a multitude of perspectives and for employees since they get to interact and engage with diverse-minded individuals.
T - Transformational engagement : Lopamudra Priyadarshini
“We cannot deliver old wine in a new bottle when it comes to employee involvement. It is extremely crucial to present it through a different and creative lens.”
In Lopamudra Priyadarshini’s opinion, one of the popular employee engagement influencers, a creative approach to employee engagement is when leaders and organizations focus their attention on moving people from a transactional to a transformational engagement pattern. It is in the transformational technique that pushes people to start taking up ownership for their work, to make them identify with and start living the values of the brand that is built and contribute in working towards the common vision or goal that the business aspires to achieve.
In essence, it is the people who are and will always continue to be an organization's biggest asset to be leveraged. The more employees engage with each other and with the C-suite, the more they are abreast with company dynamics and are in a position to steer a positive change on their front for sustainable business development. These ten strategies have reaped successful benefits for companies worldwide and will continue to serve as the roadmap to success!