Today organisations have become lean. That is due to the market conditions and new business processes coming into play. We find the new organisational set up has led to leaving some of the executives over worked. The Pareto principle seems to still stick around - ‘the vital few and trivial many is' plaguing organisations even now.

This means that only 20 per cent of the work force in a company is fully and actively engaged and the rest are in different levels of engagement. Employee engagement remains an area that throws up new challenges to managers. Why does this happen, should be the question every manager must analyse and implement solutions that can bring a turnaround in the mind set of those employees who are not actively engaged.

The reasons for teams and people in them not delivering their best can be many. These reasons may also vary from time to time. So it is necessary that the HR manager monitors teams and individuals by interacting with each team's manager. HR plays a very crucial role in keeping the employees engaged. A survey has revealed that only a meagre four percent of HR senior managers concentrate on employee engagement. But on the other hand 90 per cent of these managers were highly concerned about employee retention. The fact of the matter is that both employee engagement and retention are closely related. And this relationship has an impact on the top revenues and the bottom-line.

Disengaged employees are a disgruntled lot and can become a drag on those who are going full swing at their work.

We have intuitively known for years that an engaged workforce provides many intangible benefits and can be linked to retention. In the past five years quantitative research studies have provided HR with compelling business cases regarding the upsides of an engaged workforce and the downsides of an unengaged workforce, say Katharine Esty, an organisational psychologist and Mindy Gewirt, founder of Collaborative Networks.

Find out: HR managers must strive to push up the motivation levels of employees to perform better and bond with the organisation. Employees when being recruited show high levels of performance potential, but within a few months they simply are not willing to show their capabilities. Reasons for such drastic change in attitude need immediate attention from managers, both line and HR. This change in attitude can happen to new recruits or to employees with good performance record previously.

In the case of new hires they may have been promised a different role or the job description was not what they are facing now. Senior employees may have been ignored on a new project or the promised rewards not given.

HR needs to set in place a mechanism to gauge the levels of employee engagement and keep the motivation levels high. This can be accomplished through periodic surveys, town hall meetings and team huddles.

Surveys should be simple and straightforward which can elicit the honest opinion of employees on various issues ranging from work satisfaction to coffee quality. Trying to hide real issues in the survey will get people to give a not very honest opinion and this will have a negative impact on the future policies that the management wants to implement.

In a top manufacturing organisation, the CEO holds six town hall meetings a year, to listen to the issues that employees have. He also communicates any change in policy and its necessity, so that employees can directly interact with and come with solutions or objections.

When HR succeeds in making the employee see himself as part of the organisation and that his contribution is valuable, is what sets the pace for total employee engagement.

K.V. Rajasekher

faqs@cnkonline.com