Employee Engagement – The Untapped Powerhouse of your Organization
Mitochondrial Ninjas at your Service
“Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell”
Mitochondria are tiny organelles living inside our cells. Tiny looking, but of massive significance. They are responsible for producing most of the cell’s energy through a chemical process. What would life be without them? Well, scientifically speaking, there wouldn’t be any because without mitochondria, higher animals like us would possibly not exist as our cells would be incapable of producing the oxygenated energy.
So, who are the Mitochondria for organizations?
Engaged and inspired employees.
While knowing that answer may not involve rocket science, knowing how to keep employees engaged and inspired needs a super-normal ability to gauge the pulse of this mitochondria, unique insights basis what the pulse communicates and then the agility to respond and act. The stakeholders uniquely positioned to have all these “superpowers” – the HR leaders – the emerging and timeless heroes.
Engaged Employees- The Mitochondrial Ninjas of Organizations
It is estimated that 80% of the market value of businesses is now accounted for by its “non-physical intangible assets”. When these assets – the people – are engaged at work, they become the powerhouse of any organization.
However, the lens that we adopt for unravelling the problem of why employee engagement practices do not get embedded or create impact in the organization’s ecosystem is that of a 20th century context. The idea of an employee engagement intervention is that of it being a top-down initiative, commanded, controlled and hierarchically distributed among the top leadership alone. The demerit of such an approach lies in its mechanistic view. This results in the change being perceived by people as something that is ‘done to them’ and hence, is resisted.
Most organizations compulsively focus on the culture change itself at the expense of recognizing what, in principle, engages people and creates real value with customers. Employee engagement, more often than not, gets personified as a parent-child relationship, and like a petulant or mischievous toddler, people do not want to play and disengage.
The Future is Here- Enter the Millennial Ninjas
Of course, it is more complex than that. We now have millennials occupying 70 per cent of the workforce. They are demanding more collaborative work-spaces that give them greater autonomy and responsibility. They are looking for work that makes a difference and is linked to larger purpose.
This necessitates us to re-look and re-organize our ways of working that take into consideration how we engage into more adult-to-adult conversations and relationships at our workplace, different organizational cultures and structures, that align with how people really are, rather than what they do.
We need a paradigm shift that recognizes the significance of the mitochondrial ninjas and puts them first. The results of such a shift can be gratifying to the organization’s business results. And it can be done. All it takes is courage and leadership that is transformational.
‘Putting People First’
As early as in the 1980s, British Airways’ chief executive, Sir Colin Marshall, foresaw what is still unrecognized by most. Sir Colin Marshall recognized that the heart of engagement & productivity lies in putting his people first (derived from TMI’s concept of Putting People FirstTM). What followed was unparalleled business results that transformed British Airways from a loss-making state enterprise into the world’s largest and most profitable international airline. (Grugulis and Wilkinson, 2001)
In more recent times, HCL Technologies adopted a similar philosophy to transcend business results. With their ‘Employees first, customer second’ business philosophy, Vineet Nayar, CEO, has turned the traditional management hierarchy upside down.
So how can we move employee engagement from being a mirage to a reality at all times?
Enablers of engagement have researched for decades and are known to all and sustainable engagement is still a mirage. While the volumes of research indicate the drivers of engagement, what they do not consider is that the playing field has changed. Employee engagement can no longer be restricted to being an “annual event”, triggered by a survey and followed by action planning for the rest of the year. The mitochondria of today’s organizations are far more dynamic, they need constant stimulation and what stimulates or engages them is also dynamic.
Therefore, the critical success factors for employee engagement in yester years are no longer relevant.
Engagement and inspiration is almost like a real time ongoing relentless agenda. Annual Surveys are not enough, constant pulse checking – LISTENING to the VOICE of the employee at all times is a must. One time root cause analysis will not work, ongoing ANALYSIS is the need. One time action planning is ineffectual, constant response and ACTIONS are needed
Summed up by Einstein! – “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Learn more about creating your workforce of mitochondrial ninjas by partnering with InspireOne | IBM “Employee VOICE”. Visit http://inspireone.in/employee-engagement-survey to learn how