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June - 2010 - issue > Management
Fostering-Productivity-and--Organizational-Effectiveness-Via--Employee-Engagement
Nanda Ramanujam
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Measuring knowledge worker productivity and in turn finding out how it contributes to an organization’s overall effectiveness is a difficult proposition, though it is not impossible. The rewards of doing so are twofold. Measurement allows the executive management to help an organization to guide and direct its valuable human capital towards the goals that have been identified and set. In turn, the ability to better manage knowledge workers opens the door to new and innovative ways to foster their loyalty, creativity, and productivity.

So, What is Organization Effectiveness?

This isn’t limited to just productivity, though it certainly encompasses it. Productivity is defined narrowly as the amount of physical output for each unit of productive input, which has been a human concern for centuries. The problem comes in defining output for non-manufacturing, service activities commonly termed as ‘knowledge work’, these include IT services and products, transportation, retail and Logistics, and finance and Insurance related services rendered to individuals and businesses.

Who Contributes to Organization
Effectiveness?


Each and every employee contributes to organization effectiveness. Taking into account the skills, experience, and rank some play a bigger role than others. Establishing a successful and sustainable organization takes more than management expertise. It requires genuine leadership – the ability to guide individuals and teams to their highest level of collaboration, innovation, and effectiveness. Today’s leaders play many roles: visionary, role model, architect, defender of values, team builder, coach, change agent, strategist, economist, and advocate for excellence. While productivity and economics are always an issue, today’s leaders also understand the importance of creating a values-driven vision that becomes the benchmark for individual and organizational decision making. Leaders seek best practices that produce integrity, adaptability, sustainability, and execution.

What is your organization’s ‘creativity quotient?’ – A hands-on practicum for enhancing creativity and critical thinking in the workplace that fosters new perspectives and habits of thinking.

Employee Engagement

Engagement is much more than attraction, retention, or commitment. Engaged employees are passionate about their work, proud of their organization, and are generally enthusiastic about coming to work each day. Engaged employees are emotionally connected to their work, and are willing to ‘go the extra mile’ to bring success to the organization. A highly engaged and motivated workforce can reflect the company’s core values, which ultimately strengthens the overall company brand.

Aspects of Employee Engagement

There are three basic aspects of employee engagement according to the global studies:

* The employees and their own unique psychological makeup and experience

* The employers and their ability to create the conditions that promote employee engagement

* Interaction between employees at all levels

Thus it is largely the organization’s responsibility to create an environment and culture conducive to this partnership, and a win-win equation.

Employees are most effective at work when their strongest personal traits are engaged. They also need to discover their most favorable ways of functioning at workplace. Another critical factor, subordinate-supervisor relationship, is also linked to employee development. Ability to effectively cope with stress is another important factor. There are some assessments that can help managers to understand the abilities of their employees, their preferred work style, and how to motivate and how to develop their potentials. The ultimate benefit to individuals completing the assessment as well as the managers is learning the ways to be more effective, efficient, and fulfilled at work. Employees become more engaged when expectations between employees and employers are aligned, this balance is often found through the creation of an employee value proposition. An employee value proposition is the mutual expectations and promises that are agreed on from both the sides.

How to Improve Employee Engagement

Engaged employees are not naturally born, but can be developed by organizational support and best practices. It is important to have engagement methods aligned with employee value propositions. Organizations that believe in increasing employee engagement levels focus on:

Culture: It consists of a foundation of leadership, vision, values, effective communication, a strategic plan, and HR policies that are focused on the employee.

Continuous Reinforcement of People-Focused Policies: Continuous reinforcement exists when senior management provides the staff with the budgets and resources to accomplish their work and empowers them.

Organizational Performance: It ultimately leads to high levels of trust, pride, satisfaction, success, and believe it or not, fun.

Increasing Employee engagement

* Provide a variety of challenging opportunities that stimulate the employees’ creative quotient: Tedious, repetitive, mundane tasks can cause burn out and boredom over time. If the job requires repetitive tasks, look for ways to introduce variety by rotating duties, areas of responsibility, delivery of service, and so on.

* Conduct periodic meetings with employees to communicate good news, challenges, and easy-to-understand company financial information. Managers and supervisors should be comfortable communicating with their staff, and able to give and receive constructive feedback.

* Indulge in employee re-deployment if he feels he is not on the right job. Provide an open environment.

* Communicate openly and clearly about what’s expected of employees at every level - your vision, priorities, success measures.

* Get to know the employees’ interests, goals, their stress factors, show an interest in their well-being, and do what it takes to enable them to feel more fulfilled and better balanced in work and life.

* Celebrate individual, team, and organizational successes. Catch the employees doing something right, and say ‘thank you’.

* Be consistent in your support for engagement initiatives. If you start one and then drop it, your efforts may backfire. There’s a strong connection between the employees’ commitment to an initiative and the management’s commitment to supporting it.

Footnote

Worker effectiveness measurements are based on human behavior, these metrics are intangibles and measure issues such as fostering innovation, enhancing communication, encouraging learning, improving work process, expediting decision making, understanding and addressing the needs of employees, and attracting and retaining talented workforce. An organization’s capacity to manage employee engagement is closely related to its ability to achieve high performance levels and superior business results.
Some of the advantages of engaged employees are

* Engaged employees will stay with the company, be advocates of the company and its products and services, and contribute to bottomline business success.

* They will normally perform better and are more motivated.

* They form an emotional connection with the company. This impacts their attitude towards the company’s clients and thereby improves customer satisfaction and service levels

* It builds passion, commitment, and alignment with the organization’s strategies and goals

* Increases employees’ trust in the organization

* Creates a sense of loyalty in a competitive environment

* Provides a high energy working environment

* Boosts business growth

* Makes the employees effective brand ambassadors of the company

The author is Sr. Project Manager, Axentis Software

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