By Drashti Wani Nov 6, 2020
According to Global Workplace Report, only 15 % of employees globally are actively engaged.
One of the core goals of organisational management and success is Employee Engagement. So far, ensuring the active engagement of employees has been the domain of the company leaders, managers and HR professionals. It is by default, perceived as a responsibility of the employers.
Consequently, there is no dearth in the availability and use of conventional means to seek the active involvement of an employee. For instance, recruiting the right person for the said job role, providing adequate and effective training to the employees, checking in upon the employees frequently, noting down their concerns, feedback and attempting to act on those, etc. are the most commonly used tactics in this regard.
Despite the surging relevance of employee engagement in a company's success, the numbers show otherwise.
Ideally, these efforts should help in increasing engagement, but unfortunately, even today, only 15% of the employees globally are actively engaged (according to recent Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace Report). Gallup’s research also shows that employee disengagement has cost the U.S. up to $550 billion in lost productivity. This data highlights the delicate functionality with which a majority of the organizations operate, even today.
Kevin Kruse, founder & CEO of LEADx in his article, What is Employee Engagement, says, employee engagement is not the same as employee happiness or employee satisfaction. It is instead, the emotional commitment the employee has towards his organization and its goals. In other words, it is the psychological contract that binds your employee to you and your work goals.
No. Workplace engagement does not deviate much from the commonly accepted understanding of employee engagement. What is different, however, is the connotations these terms behold. Employee Engagement bears an inherent employer bias in its meaning and comprehension where it is assumed to be the responsibility of the employer only.
In our opinion, workplace engagement, on the other hand, removes this bias and conveys engagement as greater, generic responsibility of the employer and the employee alike. It brings preference to the workplace, its values, goals and desired outcomes.
The focus is no longer on the employer and the manager. In today’s highly competitive world, the greater responsibility of ensuring your optimal engagement and productivity lies with you. As an employee, what are your responsibilities towards your organization? How can you contribute effectively in creating a conducive, growth-oriented space for yourself at work?
With changing paradigms of working patterns and large scale adoption of remote working owing to COVID19, the challenges to organizational success have thickened. Cutthroat competition and lack of jobs have compelled most of us to succumb to organizational pressure and thrive under it. Think of it, do you have the ability to complain about the structural flaws in your organization? If you do not like your current workspace and environment, are you privileged enough to let go of the current one and seek a better one? Well, most of us are not.
The real challenge and its key solution lie in adapting to the situation and making the most of it. When employees overtake the organizational and employer goals such as workplace engagement as their own, they can effectively tackle the recurrent frictions in the status quo and work their way to optimal performance. It is for this reason, that we prefer to use the term ‘workplace engagement’ as opposed to ‘employee engagement’.
Give yourself some time to introspect and think about how you can enhance your work productivity. Increased productivity allows you to remain engaged with your work and boosts your motivation to perform better. If you are working remotely, how can you restrict working hours from stretching or how can you effectively use a planner to organize your work? Read more on improving work productivity in our article ‘Enhancing productivity at work’.
Be it your boss or your colleagues, keep asking them about how you can improve your performance, or how you are currently doing and what needs to change. Take the initiative to ask, listen and take the comments in good faith. Try to implement the suggestions, recommendations and alterations in your work.
During work hours, we come across several instances where we feel undervalued or unappreciated. Sometimes you may also decide to stop covering for your colleague who keeps missing deadlines. At times, you may feel that your boss is being partial in favour of others and unfair to you. Or, you may feel that you are underpaid and over-burdened. Use such opportunities to speak up and voice out your concerns. Make sure your troubles are listened to carefully and acted upon or clarified.
Maintaining cordial relations with the people at work is necessary to build trust, rapport and support. Engage in frequent interaction with your colleagues and get to know their preferences. Do not hesitate to extend social niceties to nurture understanding among your peers. Many times, you can leverage your interpersonal skills and social relations to address some of the work-related concerns.
At times, your organization may fail to provide you with the necessary resources needed for better work efficiency. It may be due to budget constraints, especially in start-ups or it may also be due to negligence on part of your provider. In such cases, you must ensure that your needs are known or you should work to negotiate with what you need for the fulfillment of your requirements. If a lack of resources is impacting the work negatively, bring it to the attention of your leaders and managers and inform them of the dire requirements.
As employees, we may like or dislike taking the extra effort and initiative to realize our goal of active engagement at the workplace. It can be exhausting and not always encouraging. Efforts do not come with a guarantee of immediate success. However, these efforts mark the difference between an average employee and an engaged employee. It’s time we understand that workplace engagement is just as important to employees as it is to employers and take action to implement change.
We would love for you to share your thoughts on employee engagement in the comment section below. If you are an employer, a leader or a manager, how do you see the shift in perspective from employee engagement to workplace engagement?