09/06/2015

By Prithvi Shergill, Chief Human Resources Officer at HCL Technologies


Following a recent global Deloitte study revealing HR challenges, 87% of HR business leaders consider employee engagement as a major issue. With today's mobile environment blurring the physical space between the employer and the employee, tele commuting is increasingly being adopted by businesses. This growing trend creates challenges to engage with employees so that they are aligned with the corporate culture and invested in achieving business goals.

Employee engagement means different things to different people, but what can be agreed is that empowered and enabled employees have the potential to make a real difference. As employees work in teams, it is important to multiply the impact of the collective network and increase the 'discretionary effort at work'.

Employee engagement is seen as a key driver for countries, organisations and teams seeking to boost productivity to keep pace with rapid changes in the global economy. In an age where industries and markets are facing an acute shortage of talent, it is essential that companies invest in their relationship with employees. This means ensuring employees are in the right roles, with the right skills and are rewarded appropriately.

So what can HR departments do?

Working across lines of business puts HR departments in a unique position to advocate and drive enterprise-wide change. HR professionals have the opportunity and responsibility to shape and steward corporate culture, developing ways of working, which give employees autonomy, build masteries and contribute with a sense of purpose.

An engaged employee is a significantly more productive worker, and the links between job satisfaction and surpassing business objectives have been empirically proved. The challenge for HR departments is to devise policies, programmes and practices that invert the pyramid to make leaders responsible to engage, enable and empower individuals.

Creating the desired culture has seen many HR initiatives span beyond the office and into team building exercises and even the fabled 'company away day.' Social collaboration has significant influence to connect people and the use of social media online leads to other options to build this at the workplace.

As many email inboxes are coming under increasing pressure, an internal social media tool acts as a forum that encourages creativity and fosters an entrepreneurial culture, promoting innovation throughout the business. This facet enables engagement across cultures and creates a diverse mix of initiatives that are run around the globe. Social media platforms are becoming the preferred choice to enable career management as well as provide information on performance, learning, reward and talent management programmes. Employee engagement should be defined as the process of connecting an employee's professional and personal passions with the place of work.

The success of engaging, enabling and empowering people varies from business to business but behind all this is the belief and will of leadership to create an atmosphere of trust, transparency and flexibility. Businesses will always, and rightly be judged by how they help employees meet their aspirations. In a society where ambitions have shifted from achieving the corner office, to working from home three days a week, companies are embracing new ways to promote platforms to engage with the ever-mobile employee.