Shawn Crasta, Account Manager for a Bus ticketing company and an IT services company
Noopur Varma, Account Manager for 2 Manufacturing companies
Sanjay Sarvankar, Account Manager for a Reward Management start up company
Puja Aggarwal, Account Manager for a Telecom services company and a Sports website company
Shifa Suresh, Account Manager for a Media company
Instead of interviewing one of our clients as we do usually, this time we thought we would bring to you the thoughts of HR professionals on employee engagement. And so we interviewed some of our colleagues who are account managers of various companies that we manage HR for.
1. How would you define employee engagement?
Shifa: Employee engagement is when an employee is committed to the success of an organisation and walks that extra mile to get a job done.
Puja: When an employee is engaged he/she is able to contribute much more to the organisation than if
he/she was not engaged.
Sanjay: An engaged employee enjoys the work he/she does and takes pride in doing the work.
Noopur: Employees who are engaged are passionate about their work and the organisation and are good ambassadors of the organisation.
Shawn: Well, you guys have covered everything I had to say.
2. What according to you in your experience as an HR professional and as an Account Manager helps create employee engagement in a company?
Shawn: I would say honesty and genuine intent of the management to create employee engagement.
Noopur: Yes I agree being genuine is very important. I also believe that being transparent, having employee friendly policies, sharing the gains and not only the pains and not short charging the employees create employee engagement.
Puja: In my opinion it is the degree of empowerment that an employee enjoys in his job. The more delegated the decision making and the more empowered an employee is, the higher the levels of engagement.
Sanjay: Any working individual spends at least one third of his day at workplace. An employee should feel a sense of belongingness. According to me employee engagement is not a onetime activity, but a continuous process which helps employees get absorbed into the
Shifa: Here we are talking about drivers of employee engagement right? So then apart from intention to engage emloyees, honesty ,transparency, job autonomy, fairness, creating a feeling of community, that you guys mentioned I think clarity of role, direction, a supportive manager, performance feedback and recognition are also important drivers of employee engagement.
3. How is the company (top management, managers etc) you are managing HR for creating employee
Sanjay: At my client place, a start up requiring long hours each day and nearly 7 working days, we bring a lot of fun activities to the workplace. We have just finished FIFA prediction game. All the teams have got prizes and thewinning team members have got a football signed by CEO. Picnics and outbound activities are organized. For every new customer, a champagne bottle is opened. Company throws a cocktail cum dance party every quarter, to celebrate various achievements. Celebrating each person’s birthday on the day it falls instead of end of the month helps each employee feel special.
But it is not just fun you know lot of efforts are made to make employees feel that they are an important part of the organization. At every big or special event, top management talks about the success the company has had so far and praises the contributions made by the whole team. All industry and company updates are shared periodically with employees in an open house session. Employees are encouraged to represent the organization in various formal and informal forums like conferences, training programs, seminars and even the Mumbai Marathon.
Puja: You are right employee engagement is not just about creating fun at the workplace it is about committed, contributing employees, thinking on behalf of company. The approach to employee engagement is different at my client place. We are working with the top management and the 2nd tier to set clear performance expectations and to facilitate more effective feedback sessions between leads and team members. We are also providing opportunities for learning and development. At the other client place, there is a degree of empowerment and flexibility that is already built into the culture which has helped keep engagement levels high.
Shawn: Both my clients believe that the work and job content create employee engagement and hence the jobs are designed in a manner that they fully engage employees.
Noopur: Yes, I agree a challenging job can really engage a person.
Shifa: In my client organization, an MNC, there is an engagement survey conducted every year and action plans are drawn based on the results. Every employee has a company wiki id and can access information and thoughts put up by not only employees and CEO of one’s own location, but of employees and CEOs of all groups companies across the globe.
4. Describe any HR processes in the company that is particularly helping in creating employee engagement in the company
Shawn: Well, Employee referrals, Self nomination for trainings, Self appraisals and Performance review discussions are some of the HR processes which are strengthening employee engagement at my client companies.
Shifa: The process of promoting an employee from within for key positions rather than hiring an outsider and giving an employee increment with an increase in responsibility even if it is the middle of the year without waiting for the increment month would get my vote. The opportunities of advancement that an employee gets at my client place are definitely creating engagement.
Sanjay: I think it would be induction. To put the employee at ease with the organization environment, all employees gather together at a place which is called “Working well”. The new joinee then gives his / her introduction and later has to sing a song or dance or tell a joke. Current employees help him / her open up by singing a song ortelling a joke or two along with the new joinee.
Puja: We too have just developed a 2 day Induction process. It starts with an HR session, then a session with COO to give company overview followed by sessions with individual teams and support groups like Facilities,Finance etc to apprise them of the policies and processes that need to be followed. A SAP session has also been included to give them a brief overview of the Employee Self Service module that they will need to use and which has linkages with other processes. This has helped reduce employee queries and has created greater awareness of company practices and policies.
5. Describe any practices especially any innovative ones that is helping in creating employee engagement in the company
Puja: The Performance Management System is going online in one of my client companies for the first time and we have started the training and communication on it well in advance to create the required awareness around it As of now the feedback is very positive.
Shifa: In my client organisation there are some unique practices to keep everybody focused on performance targets and energised. There is a whiteboard which displays the individual sales targets and achievement till date. Every time a sale is a made the person who made the sale rings a bell placed in the company premises. Everybody then applauds the person’s achievement. There is a monthly Big B (B for Bacchan) award given to an employee who has performed extraordinarily in a month.
Noopur: That’s interesting.
Sanjay: It may not be innovative completely but certainly it is followed very religiously. There is an executive committee that has been formed comprising of all the senior managers and key members and at least one member from each of the team. During the weekly meetings conducted by this committee the top management get connected with the key managers and discuss all the organizational updates and issues. Each team also conducts meeting amongst themselves wherein each and every key issue is highlighted and discussed.