Ways and Means to Enhance Employee Engagement

Giovanni A. Abelardo, Director, Employee Engagement & Experience, The Ascott Limited

Giovanni A. Abelardo, Director, Employee Engagement & Experience, The Ascott Limited

Human Resources, as two words adjoined, never piqued my interest; the capabilities, tasks, and expectations of the roles within the function did. Those two words, “Human” & “Resources” sound like its literal function is to resource humans, which can lead one to picture the Matrix human farm, not ideal.

Fortunately, as per the new roles that have appeared in the last decade, e.g. SEO Specialist, App Developer, Influencer, and Zumba Instructor, HR has also evolved. Employee engagement emerged, like Neo and accepted responsibility for a function which was always within its grasp, but never entirely accepted. Possibly due to department names such as Human Resources or Personnel or possibly as the function was too new and developing to know how to handle it. Society became ‘woke’ to work-life blend like, and their engagement and work experience was as necessary as their pay.

The time and effort organizations put into engaging their employees over the last decade have been colossal. Spearheaded by Silicon Valley types, progressive companies across all industries are now adopting this approach, for a good reason. An engaged employee makes for a productive employee / a collaborative employee / an innovative employer / a loyal employee / a happy employee / an employee who will tell other prospective employees how good the company they work for is and so on so forth. This is just the beginning of what an engaged employee can be, where the benefits far outreach the drawbacks, and due to it, the HR space has turned into a minefield of creative thinkers who are not using policy and procedure to dull the landscape, but to brighten it.

We live in an age that only breeds the ability to do what we have never been able to and use it to engage our employees. We can create a website via WordPress or Wix etc. which can be used for internal portals or localized intranets. Create presentations through alternate mediums such as Powtoon or Prezi, engaging employees on necessary items in creative ways, encouraging the viewer to retain and share. Collaborate and innovate together via platforms such as Slack or Asana. Gamify training content to provide easier and dynamic learning, opening the realm and possibilities of mobile learning where flexibility is key. Or simply learn and gain knowledge by asking questions. Google can assist with this, along with understanding how to use the tools mentioned, develop a training program, seek different methods to recruit, find ways on how to engage employees – even ask ‘what roles did not exist ten years ago?’

“Thinking creatively about how annual leave can be maximized and incentivized is a simple way employee engagement can be elevated and set you apart from the rest

This is an age for the creator, and is an essential mindset in the HR space, where all the tools we require are easily accessible; it is up to the individual on how they can pave a new way forward and find alternative ways to keep employees engaged in the work experience.

With this being said, employees have a plethora of options that employers can offer them. Where the battlefield is filled with new progressive ideas and one company attempting to set itself apart from another, due to this, the challenge to keep engagement at medium to high levels is becoming taxing, where like a child with a new toy, it gets old and can lead to some feeling that there is better opportunities and benefits elsewhere. This is where the engagement and culture of a company meet. It is imperative that HR practitioners continue to keep abreast of what is occurring outside of their bubble and seeking what else can be done to improve, where necessary, the employee engagement and experience, ensuring that good, if not great, employees are staying.

Practices companies can employ to assist this regardless of the bankroll dedicated to employee engagement stems from using the resources we all have to begin with. Ingenuity will always have its place amongst those with a bigger cash wad and can be enough in some cases to be a step ahead of competitors. An example, understanding what employees want is the seed of engagement. It has been noted in many studies and surveys that aside from a competitive salary, employees want flexibility, commitment to health & wellbeing and purpose.

Thinking creatively about how annual leave can be maximized and incentivized is a simple way employee engagement can be elevated and set you apart from the rest. For Example, a bushfire charity donation will recoup annual leave hours up to the maximum of one working day. An engagement exercise such as this provides flexibility and purpose to an employee. Staying aware of what employees want from their employer will always provide the basis of any engagement idea worth pursuing.

Knowledge is power is cliché but also essential for success for any budding entrepreneur or industry veteran. Keeping abreast of what is happening in the employee engagement space can be done via obvious mediums, such as the internet, where information is abundant. Networking with industry peers who can share their achievements or initiatives will add depth to assist one to learn, create, redevelop, innovate, and implement. Where to find inspiration is also just as important. Go to seminars, summits, talks, or sit in a park and be away from your office environment. Remove from the norm; go to a space that allows clear and lateral thought, where the stimulus of your surroundings sparks creative thinking and ideas that can bridge the gap of the mundane to the engaging.

Change is forever, and no role that involves employee engagement can be stagnant. Our future as an industry will continue to change in the continuing working revolution, and the adaptability and flexibility of the HR department is important to make the greatest impact—not only for the engaged employee but also for the successful employer.

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