Globally the employee-work relationship is changing and businesses are shifting their focus more on engaging employees in order to retain the best and build the best organisations. Across Trinidad and Tobago businesses are experiencing high turnover and loss of productivity as employees particularly the millennial generation operate in a transparent job market where new positions are presented to them via their smartphones, LinkedIn and social networks in the industry. They seek more than a 9 to five and are easily demotivated. Businesses must recognise the increasing importance of developing their leadership skills and focusing more on their human resource function as a key player in changing these attitudes and helping shape employees as creative contributors.
Every employee is important in helping businesses achieve its strategic goals and business objectives. We all know this but kickstarting employee engagement is not a difficult task as some may think. Engaging an employee would require businesses develop strong trusting relationships. This must go in conjunction with mutual respect. They are equal partners and a good view to take is to view employees in a client to client relationship. Managers play an integral role in employee retention and engagement. People leave managers and not necessarily organisations therefore it is important to get them on board. Consistent soft skills training is a key aspect in ensuring it is always in the forefront of departmental goals and by extension overall organisational goals.
The old business thinking of “do as I say and not as I do” must change as it is no longer effective to both parties. Employees become disengaged, fearful of losing their jobs or being victimized based on this culture. Job applicants are increasingly interested in knowing more about company culture before deciding to take an interview appointment. Culture has a direct link to employee relations and by extension employee engagement. The new generation of workers are in fact asking questions about their roles and responsibilities from a social and cultural aspect. From interacting with candidates, one question that is frequently asked is about the culture of the organisation and what social responsibilities that they are involved in. We have also seen an increase in requests by employers asking about personality traits of prospective employees so that it can be linked to retention. Employers are becoming sensitised to their working environment.
Issues of retention and engagement are rising. This is not one sided as employees should also make some commitment to this effort in order to go forward on a positive note. Engagement must come from the top down; it must start at the head of an organisation. From interacting with clients we have seen a need for psychometric testing based on employers seeking to enhance their engagement processes. In order for engagement to be successful businesses should:
- Ensure that they must work with managers to get buy-in on the engagement plans. Businesses are now seeing the importance of buy-in on the engagement plans, whereby they support the development of the employee. We are also seeing the efforts being made by employers in revamping the rewards and recognition programmes, which is a direct bounce off of the engagement process.
- The business must be true to their values and what they believe drives the business. This should be reflected in the day to day behaviour of the entire organisation.
- For employee engagement activities to be a success, it must filter throughout all levels in the business. Getting all business leaders on board in the roll out is not easy but necessary.
- Breathing life into organisational goals is important. It must not be just on paper but be an active part of the day to day life of the organisation. A shift in company culture takes time.
Culture is a shift changer and can make or break any engagement planning process. This all boils down to the commitment of both the employer and the employee. In finding the key strong points of your team and working with them will encourage self-worth and motivation. Engaging employees means that the organisation must guide and nurture their teams. Encourage them to think outside of the box, revamp their roles and responsibilities, and look at new ways to improve their jobs and tasks assigned.
Businesses across Trinidad and Toabgo have to adapt to building an irresistable organisation in order to recruit and retain the best, remain competitive in the marketplace and build a sensitive and socially responsible company.
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By Genelia Lezama
Placement Officer, Eve Anderson Recruitment Limited