Over the past two decades, the global workforce has experienced a major shift in the employer-employee relationship. Gone are the days when work hours were a strict 9-5, and people held on to one job or company for their entire career. Today’s workforce is connected 24*7, demanding job rotation, seeking constant growth and feedback. The biggest challenge this seismic shift has caused, is skewed employee engagement. A 2014 Gallup research shows that only 13% of the global workforce reports feeling engaged. That means a shockingly high number of people are over-whelmed, disinterested and disengaged.
To unpack this debilitating challenge, Deloitte Consulting conducted extensive research, which concluded that “the balance of power has shifted from employer to employee, forcing business leaders to learn how to build an organization that engages employees as sensitive, passionate, creative contributors.” To address this, they introduced a model of building irresistible organizations that creates a whole system of practices to drive engagement, supported by culture.
Here is a brief insight into the five key engagement drivers of irresistible organizations.
- Making work meaningful: The most crucial aspect of employee engagement is the job-person fit. Though organizations are competent in publishing detailed job descriptions, it is a stretch to find someone who fits the bill. Not many recruiters look beyond educational qualifications and relevant experience. But, if hiring were to become person centric to determine culture fit, mission alignment and value embodiment, people would thrive in the roles they fill. They would enjoy their work and bring in ownership.
Another aspect of meaningful work is what psychologist Daniel Pink calls autonomy, mastery, and purpose. People not only need to feel valued, but also be empowered with a range of skills that goes beyond their roles. Like in Costco, where the staff is cross-trained to handle many positions: manage cash registers, plan store layouts, design marketing strategies, and manage teams.
- Extraordinary management: This refers to the regular support and guidance that is provided to employees by their managers. The objective of management is twofold:
- Coaching for high performance by finding people’s strengths, and aligning them to roles where those strengths shine. This is especially true for new managers, who need to find their unique management style. The practice of coaching creates more possibilities of success for employees, and who wouldn’t want that!
- Build leaders within the organization, help them own their impact and grow beyond their dreams. This does not just mean climbing the company’s career ladder. It ties in with making people’s work meaningful.
When investment is directed into the capability of managers to develop talent, the retention and engagement of employees shoots through the roof.
- Establish a flexible, humane, inclusive workplace: This practice addresses the need to have a workplace and work life that accommodates the individual. Whether this means flexible work hours, putting a cap on how much an employee works during the week, providing wellness and recreation services at the workplace, paying for lunches of employees or more opportunities to build community at work, the foundational idea here is to create a work environment that is supportive and inclusive. And that too for a diverse population. There is no way someone would willingly leave a place that is so welcoming! Add to this mix a culture of recognition, appreciation and gratitude across the board, and you’ll have for yourself minimal attrition rate.
- Create ample opportunities for growth: Most engagement research shows that learning opportunities, professional development, and career progression are among the top drivers of employee satisfaction. Engagement and retention rates are known to have increased by 30%, when employees grow. Such growth can be created in two ways:
- Through opportunities that let people learn on the job, take increasingly complex assignments, and find support when they need help. This method can match well with the company’s career progression and promotion mechanisms.
- The second method is to value growth and learning, beyond promotion mechanisms. Whether or not people get promoted every year or two, a great way to ensure this growth is to invite increasing influence with a wide range of tasks, and even mobility to learn new skills altogether.
- Establish vision and purpose in leadership: This is a key area which combines all of the above practices, and piggy backs on the leader’s ability to inspire employees through the mission and purpose of the organization. The investment here comes from the leader to continuously align their people with the vision and show them how they are a part of the bigger picture. It is also important for leaders to be transparent in terms of numbers, struggles and everything else about the organization.
Though the irresistible organization model of Deloitte shares five core practices to keep employees engaged, it rides on one non-negotiable belief: investing in the passion and uniqueness of each individual employee. Are you ready to take on this challenge and make your organization irresistible?