Innovating Business to Drive Employee Engagement and Performance

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 866 , Published on 02 June 2015

"Innovation is creativity with a job to do" - John Emmerling

In today's business world it is a necessity to innovate. It is either staying away from the competition (Blue Ocean strategy) or staying ahead of it (Red Ocean Strategy). For long, innovation had been confined to products and services, but soon global corporations recognized the potential in human resource and hence we moved to concepts like employee engagement. And sooner than later the need to innovate in these streams started becoming evident. Innovating business to keep employees engaged has become a necessity in today's world of knowledge workers.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is a positive psychological state characterized by high levels of energy, enthusiasm, passion and involvement in one’s work that lead to superior individual and organizational performance.

How to achieve employee engagement and drive performance?

Employee engagement needs and levers for performance can be highly subjective and differ from employee to employee. However, the key lies in identifying a common framework based on the environment, target audience and cultural constructs of the organization. The basic steps in achieving it are:

1. Identify the needs of the organization

2. Examine the current framework (if any)

3. Identify the GAPs and design interventions

4. Implement and obtain feedback

Gallup enlists best practices in employee engagement and enhancing productivity as using the right kind of surveys, identifying and placing the right managers as the key drivers, coaching and mentoring them along with setting accountability through realistic and short term goals. It has been observed in practice that the process may even lead to reexamining business strategy and bottom up outward alignment of goals; as such an organization fosters an innovation in an open culture.

How can we innovate?

Innovation in employee engagement and increasing productivity is a key function of the managerial staff. The managers innovate within a defined framework to fulfill their engagement goals and the needs of individual employees. And also provide inputs to overall business strategy. The key areas of innovation lie in:

• Identifying organizational needs. Defining metrics and using the right kind of surveys is critical to employee engagement. We can use instruments like key drivers analysis to assess organizational needs.

• Doing work differently and positioning one’s self in the community through CSR activities is also a way of ensuring that employees achieve greater job satisfaction and hence are engaged in all activities.

• With the advent of mobile apps and Cloud, communication solutions that involve employees are also a key opportunity area.

• HR analytics helps us in identifying needs and planning interventions. It is a powerful tool in analyzing levels of employee satisfaction and engagement.

• Gamification has also revolutionized the employee engagement and performance economy. It provides HR managers with an opportunity to monitor performance real time and stimulate employees to perform better.

A concluding remark

Innovation practices are unique to the organization and leaders need to think what suits them the best. When we evaluate an egalitarian culture at Egon Zehnder versus a highly competitive environment at Venus Jewels, a small diamond processing unit in Gujarat, we realize that innovation in business not only lies in the creation, but also the execution. The world of today is focused on Employee Engagement and driving performance and it is the way going forward for attaining the sustainable competitive advantage. It is imperative that organizations innovate in this sphere or be left behind.

This article has been authored by Varnika Tewari and Tarun Kaushal from XIMB


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