Wednesday, 12 July 2017

How to develop employee engagement culture in SME organizations?

Employee engagement culture can be understood by the way all the employees involve themselves on an organizational day to day processes, interaction with each other, to customers and other stakeholders, continuously improving the technical, functional, managerial process and continuously contributing to the organizational objectives like profitability, growth. In an engaged culture, the focus of the organization would be on "solutions" rather than on the problems, fixing people, complaining and firefighting mode of working.

Bringing the people together towards a single goal and working together is a real challenge in most of the small, emerging medium size organizations and it requires the sustained commitment and hard work from the head of the organization as well as from the team.

In some organization, as long as they are small, engagement is positive under the close supervision or interaction of the business head. When the organization grows big, the employee engagement becomes complex as increased size of people, the quantum of interaction and communication, different priorities make the engagement as a challenge.

Even then the employee engagement challenge can be managed with a long-term focus, driven by top management, well-defined process, and consistency in execution.This execution must be visible in day to day management, in the quality of interaction between all the stakeholders.

To bring the employee engagement, business head or leadership team must inculcate the fundamental principles in place as follows

1.Respect the individual and accept the diversity
2. Treating people as ASSETS rather than COMMODITY
3.Differentiate performer and non-performer
4.Learning and development as lifelong process

Factors facilitate the employee engagement

There are many factors affecting the engagement irrespective of product lines, business nature; those factors can be categorized into two factors namely

1.Physical Environment inside the organization

2.Structured Management Process & Consistency in Execution

The importance of physical environment on employee engagement 

Environment triggers the positive or negative behavior in people and in- turn as action.When the environment is conducive, it will trigger positive, learning behavior whereas if the environment is not conducive, it triggers only negative, low-level activity among the people.

For example, when we visit a temple or library, our behaviors to silent are different than when we visit a local vegetable market.The environment triggers our behavior, in turn, our actions.

Similarly, some of the physical environmental factors inside the organization drive positive behavior and actions like

1.Uniform that promotes equality among employees

2. Basic amenities like washrooms, drinking water facilities

3. Good ventilation and lightings

3. Facilities for eating foods

5.Good housekeeping and safety layouts

6.Visuals promoting positive thinking and teamwork

The list looks like soft issues or infrastructure and those are all considered as expenses.However, their presence makes an invisible impact on the behavior and actions of the people as we have witnessed in many organizations.

The importance of structured management process & consistency in execution:

In some organizations, we are witnessing that employee engagement programmes are initiated with great enthusiasm by having inauguration event, motivational lectures, and celebrations, etc. However, over a period, the momentum fades. The reason could be the process of administrating the engagement process, engagement framework, assigning responsibility, consistent recognition methods and events are not being thought out and articulated.

Some of the management process that enables employee engagement in a consistent manner

1. Setting the targets for the organization/ functions/ cells

2. Clear Communication to the team

3. Expectation set and articulated

4. Periodic review forums to see the progress

5. Recognizing the talent and visibility of the improvements 

6. Standard operating procedure with details on communication, engagement process, rewarding and recognizing methodology and people responsibility.

Since the organization consists of people from different educational / work experience and different motivational needs, different engagement programmes must be created to cater to different levels and needs.

The general framework for employee engagement programmes/initiatives for different levels of people inside the organization is given below

As said, Engaging the people towards organizational objectives and working towards solutions and growth requires a long time focus and commitment from senior leadership team and all employees. This is a difficult process, but once you establish and sustain the positive engagement culture, your organization will survive any external challenges.The positive, winning mindset culture will become a competitive edge and can not be copied by anyone.Are you ready to invest your time, energy on the long-term asset building?