My past 5 years have been spent establishing people’s practices in the start-up space. The consistent key challenge faced is the limited cash flow/ budget. Amidst this rat race of success faster the product gets delivered, the greater are the chances for the start-up to stay ahead in the game and generate more profit. Delivering a product takes precedence over building a product company.
The need for employee wellbeing measures often goes unchecked which further leads to some bigger issues like employee disengagement, workplace burnout, employee attrition, and more.
It is then your role of People Manager comes to the light, and let me confess it is not an easy battle to manage unrealistic expectations from both; the business and the employee.
So if you ask me what is employee engagement, my answer would be:
From a business perspective; Employee Engagement to me is a mechanism through which the business –
- Enables establishing a culture
- Provides the comfort and security cementing the company, that ensures to sustain the organizational stability
Employee engagement is far beyond Friday fun activities, making rangolis and pizza parties. In a start-up, employees judge you (the leadership team). Your employees are watching you closely. They are following your lead, so be sure of setting the right example.
Employee engagement activities are crucial in a start-up space. The team size is small. It is dynamic, evolving, growing, and changing constantly. EE activities work as an icebreaker between the team.
If your start-up is in a phase where the work models are in transition, not fixed or evolving. To engage employees, you need to involve them in deciding the business goals.
Engagement starts when the employees get to see integrity, trust, and clarity flowing in the system. Leaders/ first hired employees have to enable that.
Engaging the employees are the crucial step to stabilizing the organization, it helps to let the workflow faster in the predetermined direction.
What to achieve in business from Employee Engagement?
- Collaborative environment to work
- Increased productivity
- Quality contribution
The key outcome from all your endeavor should directly impact Business Results and organization culture.
How does Employee engagement look for the People’s team?
As a people manager to initiate employee engagement activities starts with the understanding of the
- The business goals
- What kind of talent pool do we need in the system
- What kind of productivity we are expecting from them
- Leadership team – how are engaged and productive with the company
For my team, Employee Engagement starts early, TA, onboarding, and induction training. To me, these are not employee experience critical, these touchpoints are engagement per cursors. During induction and training employees form bonding with their co-colleagues and develop a connection to the company.
We manage engagement practices by forming committees made and run by the employee themselves. HR team facilitates and monitors.
Employee engagement is a competitive advantage. Studies have shown that the more friends employees have at work, the more engaged they are. One study found that only 28% of employees with no work friends were engaged, versus 69% with 25 or more friends. Onboarding encourages relationships among employees. (source: Forebs.com, Tiny pulse)
As HR 2 parameters that are reflective of engagement and I have extensively focused on this:
- Employee referral data points.
Engaging employees need not necessarily shoot the company higher on the profit table. Results generated would be in the form of personal or team success when a committed group is assigned a task.
We measure leaders through their participation in revenues but in order to flourish, one must begin holding leaders accountable for building a culture of belongingness. Their performance review should include team attrition, collective performance, enduring culture of belongingness, listening, and empathy.