Manoj Agarwal is a passionate entrepreneur who co-founded xoxodaya fintech SaaS company disrupting the space for rewards and incentives.
McKinsey’s Great turnover research stressed that 54% of workers are leaving jobs where they felt undervalued, and 40% are preparing to leave within three to six months. At the same time, Gartner’s Global Talent Monitor report points to the emergence of a post-pandemic disengaged workforce that is swaying under the yoke of organizations that do not provide the right employee value proposition (EPP) to help them advance in their careers.
The disgruntled worker questions the value of a thankless job with substandard pay, zero work-life balance and a degrading regime. This shifting attitude of employees, the thinning cohesion (which arises from remote work patterns) and a general slowness towards work have disrupted companies around the world.
Organizations try to compensate for this with luxurious salary packages, flexible work arrangements, free training, career opportunities and sometimes even four-day work weeks. But has it hindered the outflow of talent? Organizations and leaders need to do more to understand the dynamics of this changing relationship and address the growing employer-employee gap.
Focus on the employee and the rest will follow.
The past two years are over 47.4 million Americans are leaving the workforce (4.5 million layoffs in November 2021 alone) amid a growing consensus that companies “don’t care enough about their employees.” This mass exodus is fueled by the sudden rise of the ‘creator economy’, where ‘influencers’ encourage people to quit their office jobs in favor of a digital nomad life and quick money schemes.
The underlying common thread in this story is the desire for a healthier work-life balance and appropriate recognition in the workplace. So how do you turn the tide in your favor and create a compelling engagement strategy to convert the “restless employee” with a wandering eye into a “substantive employee” who is firmly anchored in your organization and invests in its further growth?
Think like a true people leader. What do employees today want that will move them away from your company and into another company? These may include features such as an inclusive, supportive work environment that emphasizes employee collaboration; internal capabilities for improving skills; an effective employee wellness program that addresses both mental and physical health; and flexible work patterns.
Employee engagement is the solution.
Clinical psychologist, author and business consultant Dr. Noelle Nelson describes the relationship between an employer and employee as a symbiotic relationship: “If employees feel that the company is taking their best interest at heart, then employees will take the company’s best interest at heart.”
David Overton, CEO of The Cheesecake Factory, says, “Treat them as you would treat yourself, always with respect and understanding that you are a family.” The Cheesecake Factory created its Wow Stories program to build an emotional bond and boost employee morale. Shortly after the program’s success, the company’s market share grew, with share prices $50 per share marking!
Moments like these are precious to employees who want to challenge themselves while working in an environment where they feel valued. As an intelligent employer, it’s up to you to build a cohesive, supportive work environment to engage your workforce.
What is the recipe for holistic engagement?
The strategic story for employee engagement has an open end. Multiple cultural, regional and demographic factors make it challenging to create a single master plan to realize this growth. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, here’s a simple guide to achieving holistic engagement.
1. Transparent and timely communication: Enable open communication between colleagues, teams, and leadership to foster cohesion and trust. This is the key to a collaborative work environment.
2. Open conversations to align with your goals and vision: Give your employees a boost and make them invest by clearly articulating the company’s goals and vision and sharing any successes with them.
3. Autonomy to make decisions: Empower your employees to make decisions about their work and express their views. Building a culture of ownership and giving your employees the responsibility to lead makes them feel valued and confident.
4. Proactive Ways to Seek and Give Feedback: Create channels for honest two-way conversations and constructive feedback. Use these insights to close the gaps and gain each other’s trust.
5. Continuous Learning and Performance Feedback: Provide employees with upskilling opportunities, give them the freedom to explore and learn inside and outside their role, and invest in talent development by having conversations about career aspirations.
6. Frequent and Meaningful Recognition: Recognize the efforts of your employees, recognize their contributions, and reward their performance with timely and meaningful appreciation.
7. Financial Wellbeing With Total Rewards: Focus on the emotional, mental, physical, social and financial well-being of your employees, with a total rewards experience.
Ultimately, everyone wants to work for a company that cares about you. An emotionally engaged employee is an asset with huge potential, and it’s up to an intuitive leader to leverage it with the right engagement strategies. To quote a verse from the Bible: “Do to others as you would have others do to you.”