The major challenge faced by companies in these modern times is keeping their employees happier, engaged, and productive at work. Just like parents rear and pamper their kids, employers have to take care of their employees, take good care of them, appreciate them on their achievements, and trust them for their contributions.
A lot of studies have been conducted in this field that confirms a strong connection between employee engagement and performance. Some of the studies conducted also indicate a robust bottom line case that shows a clear connection between the performance of the employees and the way they feel at work. This is a clear conclusion about the fact that the traditional definition of engagement that used to say “the willingness of an employee to put discretionary effort on the job” is insufficient to spur high performance in these modern times when demands are relentlessly increasing. The issue is that the term ‘willing’ is not necessarily ‘able’.
The studies have forced us to ponder how the requirements have changed and what is really required. It indicates that the need of the hour is ‘sustainable engagement.’ As per these studies, the key differentiator is the work environment available to the employees and if it fully energizes employees by ensuring their emotional, physical, and social well-being. Some experts also add spiritual and mental well-being to this list. In a nutshell, the employees must experience a strong sense of purpose.
In light of the findings from the studies conducted in this field, employers are expected to take put efforts into ensuring the wellness of the employees. They must also focus on levying penalties or giving incentives to those who adopt and follow healthy behaviours like good diet, an active lifestyle, and effective management of chronic illness. It is very important to follow these behavioural patterns as it helps employees to sustain energy. Many employers are even ready to walk an extra mile and embrace the principle of workplace energy on a broader aspect. Taking these actions help them achieve staggering results.
Towers Watson analysed 50 global companies and found that the entities with low engagement scores registered an average operating margin below 10 per cent. Conversely, the companies registering high sustainable engagement scores exhibited a 27 per cent average one-year operating margin.
40 per cent respondents that showed low engagement scores indicated leaving their employers in the coming two years as compared with 24 per cent employees with sustainable engagement.
These results bring us to a pertinent question and that is what is energy. If we try to define the term energy, it is the capacity to work. Here capacity and energy, both terms are interchangeable. In terms of organisations, energy is something that brings out employee’s talent and skills to life. If there is a lack of this ‘energy’, skills and talent that is rendered has no relevance. It is impossible to run on empty and many times, employees are asked to do precisely that which dampens their spirit reducing their work performance.
The major problem that is dampening the spirit of the employees is feelings of burnout and overload. The problem is that this situation is not expected to change anytime soon. Fewer resources and higher demand has become almost normal. When it comes to addressing the problems of energizing the workplace or capacity, a lot depends on the willingness of the leaders, individuals, and organisations, each taking complete responsibility for their roles. The time has come for the organisations to realise the need to overcome the challenge of shifting from the traditional focus on getting the most out of their employees to investing in their core needs so that they do not feel shackled, are considerably energized and inspired to add more value to their work in a sustainable way.
After analyzing these studies and the conclusions, it is clear that it is time companies start creating practices and policies making it possible for better workload management, living balanced lives, have more freedom to complete their task in the way they think is fit for the employees. Flexibility must be the focus when creating these policies. Attention must also be paid to remote working as it helps in a more energized workplace. Similarly, there is a need to put boundaries around the meeting lengths and duration. The employees can be expected to respond to the emails within that time band.
Leaders also need to look at themselves in a different light, more like Chief Energy Officers. If they are bustling with energy, they are bound to encourage their employees too as energy is contagious. In a personal employee ecosystem, the manager finds a central place shaping up individual experiences, continually and relentlessly.
As per the studies, 74 per cent of respondents believed that their senior leaders truly were interested in their overall well-being. This belief was shared by only 44 per cent of traditionally engaged employees and 18 per cent disengaged employees. The only behaviour that truly had an impact was the feeling of being valued and appreciated by the supervisors.
Individual employees also need to do their bit and they can take up the challenge of measuring responsibility for their experience. Moreover, they need to put a check on their attitude and do not fall into victim mode. It is quite interesting to see how the same workplace can offer different experiences to two people despite putting up the same set of demands in varied ways. It clearly confirms the findings of the studies.
Employees who are ready to accept more responsibility for the way they manage themselves perform better. Organisations, on the other hand, can invest in a variety of employee engagement activities that encourage and promote employees to feel more energized, happy, and content in their work and at their workplace. These activities are designed in such a way that it delivers way beyond desired results in terms of employee performance and productivity.