Employee-engagement activities come in many forms, including team-building events, training programmes, recognition initiatives and wellness programmes.
Engaged employees are more productive, committed and likely to contribute positively to the company’s bottom line. It is to foster this engagement that organisations invest in various employee- engagement activities. However, the effectiveness of these activities can vary widely, and it’s essential to assess their impact. While these activities can yield positive outcomes, their impact may not always be evident or consistent.
Sharad Sharma, CHRO, Pramerica Life, says that the concept of employee engagement is undergoing a transformation. It’s no longer solely about recreational events but about providing real value to employees, addressing their unique needs and fostering a sense of purpose in their work.
Today’s employees seek activities that provide genuine value, such as knowledge-sharing sessions, wellness programmes and resources to address personal issues such as health and anxiety. The focus is on how organisations can truly enrich the lives of their workforce by promoting active participation and listening.
“A tier-wise approach is essential to bridge geographical gaps, where local managers drive daily engagement, which is consolidated at the zonal level, with regional and national gatherings celebrating achievements”
Sriharsha Achar, CHRO, Star Health & Allied Insurance
Sriharsha Achar, CHRO, Star Health & Allied Insurance believes that maximising employee engagement is vital for a productive and positive workplace, but it comes with challenges. It goes beyond rewards, necessitating the nurturing of commitment, motivation, loyalty and trust through regular communication and feedback.
He further adds that in today’s globalised organisations, maintaining consistent engagement across distances is tricky, making the role of local managers pivotal in daily engagement efforts.
Employee-engagement activities are a critical component in fostering a motivated and productive workforce, but they often face common challenges that can hinder their success.
Jacob Jacob, G-CHRO, Malabar Gold, explains that employee engagement isn’t just about occasional team-building or sports activities; it needs a deeper connection to the enterprise’s growth and a more profound purpose. Today, we’re witnessing a decline in commitment and ownership within organisations, partly because many employees prioritise their careers over just products or services.
Employees seek meaningful employers who offer career growth, learning opportunities and a voice in decision-making. “Engaging activities are enjoyable but don’t necessarily increase commitment. What truly matters is aligning these activities with a larger employer-value proposition that connects to the company’s growth and purpose. Additionally, unhappy employees are more likely to leave when better opportunities arise, emphasising the importance of a positive company culture and employee satisfaction. Employee engagement should correlate with organisational growth, have a clear purpose, and be tailored to different workforce segments,” shares Jacob.
For instance, he shares that strategies for a workforce will differ from those for retail, manufacturing, or other sectors, but they should all aim to instil a sense of ownership, commitment and value among employees, ultimately fostering a more engaged and dedicated workforce.
“Engaging activities are enjoyable but don’t necessarily increase commitment. What truly matters is aligning these activities with a larger employer-value proposition that connects to the company’s growth and purpose”
Jacob Jacob, G-CHRO, Malabar Gold
One of the primary issues organisations encounter is the difficulty in measuring the impact of these activities. Clear success metrics are often elusive, making it challenging to assess their effectiveness. To overcome this, organisations should establish specific, measurable and achievable goals for engagement initiatives and consistently collect data and feedback to track progress.
Another challenge is the short-term nature of the benefits these activities offer. While they may yield immediate results, sustaining these effects over the long term can be challenging. To address this, organisations must integrate engagement efforts into their company culture and day-to-day operations, ensuring that the positive effects endure.
The ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is another pitfall, as different teams and individuals may have unique engagement needs. Tailoring engagement strategies by conducting surveys and feedback sessions to understand these preferences can help organisations address this problem.
Leadership support is crucial for the success of engagement activities. Without visible support and participation from leadership, these initiatives may struggle to gain traction. Encouraging leaders to actively engage in and promote these activities sends a powerful message about their importance.
Effective communication also plays a pivotal role, as organisations often struggle to convey the purpose and benefits of engagement activities. Developing a clear communication plan that explains objectives, expected outcomes, and how employees can participate along with regular updates, can help bridge this gap.
Overloading employees with too many engagement activities can lead to burnout, negating the intended benefits. Striking a balance between engagement activities and daily workloads is essential. These initiatives should be viewed as opportunities for personal and professional growth rather than additional tasks.
Lastly, organisations must acknowledge that employee needs and preferences evolve over time. Engagement activities that were once effective may lose their impact. To remain relevant and beneficial, organisations should continuously assess and adapt their engagement strategies based on employee feedback and changing dynamics within the organisation.
The effectiveness of engagement activities varies across different sectors as well as departments within organisations. While functions with subject-matter experts or knowledge-intensive roles may not require forced engagement activities, those dealing with routine operational tasks or a younger workforce often benefit the most. For instance, research, technology and similar functions may not need traditional engagement activities, but tailored initiatives can enhance their specific work experiences.
“The concept of employee engagement is undergoing a transformation. It’s no longer solely about recreational events but about providing real value to employees, addressing their unique needs and fostering a sense of purpose in their work”
Sharad Sharma, CHRO, Pramerica Life
Achar suggests, “A tier-wise approach is essential to bridge geographical gaps, where local managers drive daily engagement, which is consolidated at the zonal level, with regional and national gatherings celebrating achievements.”
He admits that there is no doubt that effective engagement activities yield results, such as enhanced collaboration and higher satisfaction scores. However, it’s crucial to recognise that engagement is an ongoing journey, not a destination. By addressing these challenges and embracing a tiered approach, organisations can create thriving workplaces where success naturally follows.
Employee-engagement activities are a crucial part of creating a positive work environment and fostering a motivated workforce. However, their effectiveness can be challenging to measure and maintain. Organisations must adopt a proactive approach to identify problem areas, set clear goals and adapt their strategies as needed. By addressing these challenges, organisations can create more evident and sustainable employee-engagement activities that benefit both the company and its employees.