Category Archives: Employee Engagement

Deconstructing Employee Engagement

A lot has been written and spoken about employee engagement. Everyone knows how important is this for innovation ,success and growth but not many people are clear, what is takes to create a culture of performance.

Employee Engagement is as complex as a human brain — It has Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology and Social Psychology

Engagement first starts at an individual level, what is that I am too looking for and what is that I am doing, then it moves to a relative state — what others are doing and what do they get… and so on

Behavior’s, attitudes and perception are as volatile as the stock market and at one instance I believe you and at another I do not .

So how to address the problem ?

There is no formula, but if you dig deep you realise it’s not that complicated. If you as an organisation believe in;

  • Transparency — Do what you say and walk the talk
  • Admitting Mistakes — Where you went wrong
  • Communicate , communicate & communicate — Kill the perception or an imaginary devil
  • Show Purpose & Vision — Show where you are headed to and why you are doing what you are
  • Participate — Ensure people participate in the journey, show them the larger picture
  • Involve Employees — In decision-making
  • Don’t kill creativity — There are no SOPs for innovation , encourage people to do creative thinks — Ideas happen when the mind is free
  • Coach — Turn you managers into coaches, respect is earned not commanded

Remember if you ask an employee to dig the earth , they will dig a hole. If you ask them that we are constructing a canal, helping water reach million of thirsty people — they will dig passionately , purposefully , creatively and most importantly timely

What I learned in Asia’s biggest techHR conference

Last week, we at team qilo participated in the Asia biggest techHR event. We got an amazing response for our cloud-based technology solution. But rather than talking more about how it went for us, let me share top 10 learning from techHR -2016.

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  1. Gerry Crispin, one the recruiting industry veteran, shared that “give a good experience while hiring,  and get more candidates. Give a bad experience, and you’re losing candidates before they even apply”.Start treating your prospective employees in a way you will treat your first customer, and you will start attracting awesome talent.
  2. Josh Bersin shared his views on how new age technology tools are changing the way people are managed, assessed, engaged and learn at the job.
  3. More and more business and HR leaders in India are realizing the importance of people focused technology solution and how it can enhance their business success.
  4. Organizations are adopting cloud-based solution more than the in-house solution to reduce the time and cost in implementing the technology.
  5. HR technology 3.0 is on the way and big ERP vendors are not able to invent and innovate at the same speed.
  6. New age solutions need to be employee-centric and should be habit-forming products which enhance day to day professional experience of the employee.Design think is what is missing in all the tools which are today consumed by employees.
  7. Performance management is changing for sure. It has to a continues process, more meaningful , should enable managers to become coaches and enable employees to be more productive.
  8. People analytics solutions are improving at a very fast pace. And rather than just showing vertical bars and pie-charts, technology solutions should throw meaningful data to the leadership of organizations to drive their talent strategies.
  9. Employee engagement needs to move beyond the surveys. It has to be real time and it has to bring impact at the bottom of the pyramid.
  10. Organization who will understand the way people want to work,engaged and deliver will succeed in future.

And by the way, did I mentioned that we got High-fives from Josh Bersin, the guru of HR technology. Josh’s word’s like “this is the kind of solution organizations needs and I am glad that startup’s like you are doing it here in India” was music to our ears.

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Dear HR leader, KRA’s are dead

Over the weekend, I was discussing with my friends how critical it is to define goals in the organization. The discussion became more meaningful as in few organizations where my friends are working , mid- year goal defining exercise has started. And every time goal setting and performance activity come up, this entire exercise seems to be meaningless and wastage of efforts. KRA-KPI-OKROur discussion became more intense when we started seeing specific goals & KRA’s assigned to them in their organization.

One of the friends who is working in one of the top 5 IT MNC highlighted that following KRA’s are assigned to him :-

  1. Help delivery managers in selling services to clients.

  2. Focus on retention of existing clients.

  3. Enhance CSAT score.

  4. Enhance quality of technical solutions.

One of the friends who was working in a software product development company highlighted following KRA’s:-

    1. Deliver excellent quality in deliverables

    2. On time delivery

    3. Contribute in innovation at organization level

Another friend was working with a manufacturing organization has following ones:-

  1. Meet quality targets on monthly basis

  2. Regularly check the physical quality of the raw material

  3. Enhance supplier relationships

And one friend was working in a consulting organization has following KRA’s:-

  1. Develop and inspire people by sharing experience and insights

  2. Enhance operational efficiency by managing timelines and profitability

  3. Contribute in business growth by spending time about industry trends and competitor movements

  4. Achieve high CSAT score by developing new methodologies and processes.

There are 3 major problems with the above defined KRA’s:-

  1. These are NOT KRA’s, but parameters on which employees should be assessed.Throughout the year, employees are involved in different engagements . In the case of ITES, Software product development and consulting organization, they are involved in different projects and consulting assignments.Their actual goal should be those projects and those consulting assignments. And probably when these assignments are over, they should be evaluated on parameters currently defined as KRA’s:-
  • “How much they have contributed in consulter delight”(Rating on the scale of five)
  • “Have they done deliverables in-time, on-time or delayed those”, or
  • “Have they done any innovate in this assignment”
  • “Did she contributed towards process improvements while executing these goals”
  1. For employees, it’s difficult to give data points against above defined goals that how they have performed on these KRA’s.

Think from employee perspective that if you have to enter details about what you have done throughout the years to achieve these goals, what all points you will enter? And will you be able to collect all those data points which will justify that you have performed well in achieving those ? This is precisely the reason employees give them highest scale when putting data against their achievement against goals which are not defined properly.

     3. For manager, it doesn’t enable them to evaluate and give feedback to employees properly .

Consider this, as an employee if I have worked on two assignment through the year, I will keep mentioning same points in above KRA’s. Will this give enough data points to the manager about how his team member has performed with respect to that KRA. Will it give manager enough data on which things she should recognize the employee or coach the employee on for her better performance. Again employee will be evaluated on the basis on perceptions and not on actual data.

Every problem has a solution. Here’s what I think few solutions for the above problems:-

  1. Define KRA’s and KPI’s which employees are able to correlated with their day to day work. Or why can’t the KRA’s be same as project or assignments which employees get involved in. These KRA’s should push employees to aim high. When aiming high, even failed goals tend to result in substantial advancements.
  2. Left the exercise of defining KRA between manager and employee. As an HR leader, you should focus on enabling the team on defining the relevant KRA’s. Off course, you need to keep an eye on whether KRA defined are relevant or not from organization respective and within defined boundaries or not. Leaving these exercise between manager and employee will also enhance the employee engagement.
  3. Use a proper tool to automate the entire process of defining KRA,KPI. And monitor the progress on those in real time basis.

Goal setting and defining KRA impacts talent engagement the highest level, as it impact how employees should perform their jobs and are evaluated. Making KRA more meaningful will NOT only help engage employees but will impact overall organization growth.

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Building your employer brand

In today’s business environment it’s imperative for businesses to build a high performance based work culture. To do so, you need a powerful EVP – a free-flowing connector between the brand, the business and people. A powerful EVP enables organisations to attract the right people to deliver the right values in the right way.

Everything starts with the brand.

The idea is to create a performance based culture that not only asks of but allows people to ‘live the brand’.This is done through attracting the right talent, constantly engaging with them and eventually making them the evangelists for the brand.

Attraction: Signaling the change, creating awareness and drawing attention and interest for the brand. Building on the motivators and differentiators

Engagement: Forming an emotional or rational attachment between talent and brand.

Advocacy: Ensuring an experience, which builds positive cognitive and emotional affirmation that in turn encourages word of mouth advocacy.

Measurement of an engaged talent force, has to be on a continuous basis. A robust and scientific Culture Audit is one of the key tools , to evaluate employee engagement levels with brand. Employer Brand Perception is also a great way to measure how engaged the current talent is and how potential talent perceives the brand.

Fostering an engaged culture in the workplace is not a one-time effort. Companies whose engagement statistics improve after a particular effort aren’t done with the task. Rather, it’s important to measure engagement periodically.

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Demystifying Culture

An organization is like a tribe, with a clan leader deciding who should be part of his tribe and what values should each tribe member live everyday.

Cultures are all about alignment of each and every member, to the vision of the clan leader and build a robust ecosystem. Where each member contributes, his or her role in the tribe to the best of potential.

Survive and compete with other tribes is one of the biggest challenge for the clan leader, he ensures that he has a team of agile, strong and smart army. So the tribe invests in development !

A good tribe thrives on collaboration; roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and each and every tribe member has to contribute.

Clan leader has to ensure that, each member is happy, motivated and taken care of. Tribes create their own rituals, to bond and celebrate every occasion. Rituals is in fact an inevitable component of culture

Conflict resolution – everything escalates to the clan leader for resolution and the final decision is, accepted by all in the right spirit.

Historically tribes, which have excelled well, have had great clan leaders with clear vision and ensuring alignment of each and every member with the vision, roles and responsibilities.

Well, tribes today have been replaced by organizations, but fundamentals of survival and growth remains the same.

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Trust – The fundamental block of talent brand

Relationships are built on trust. Every organization today, is focusing on building the employer brand. But do organization have “ Trust ” as key dimension to their employer brand.

Simply putting, do we trust our employees and most importantly, do employees trust organization. And can a brand establish itself, if there is lack of trust? Let’s look at examples across employee life cycle.

Lack of trust starts at hiring

  • Employer believes, the information given by candidate is not right.
  • For employee – moment of truth happens post joining – “I was not told about this at the time of hiring.”

Trust starts diminishing in first 30 days …

Big Corporate Black box

  • The clichéd, we cannot share this info with employees (Even if the world knows about it) . An India IT company was about to be taken over by a giant, and for over 6 months, everyone “knew” about it .. just before the acquisition CEO writes a mail .. Focus on work … nothing is happening. ET publishes the story next day and announces… there goes the trust ..
  • Blame it on HR, the best thing business can do – Line manager promises increment, but HR did not give (lack of trust)
  • Restrict info access, because employees will share info with competition and market.
  • And to top it all the governance committees etc.

All this adds up to one thing,

  • Organization – Dear employee I don’t trust you.
  • Employee – I don’t trust you either!

So, what’s the solution?

We talk about building transparency at work; need to walk the talk, and build a culture of trust and commitment. It starts from the top.

All we need to do is, say right and stay committed to what we say.

“Build trust” and you’ll be the best employer

Well is it that simple?