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In response to an ever-evolving economic environment, companies undergoing institutional change look to leverage the power of employee engagement. However, true employee engagement cannot be imposed, and HR professionals must establish an internal policy of valuing employees before asking them to serve the company’s interests. According to a 2018 CXP survey (1), HR professionals are facing many additional challenges in their role, such as HR quality of service, data reliability, regulatory compliance and administrative productivity. In fact, HR professionals need to have a reliable HR service before tackling the commitment to business transformation through engagement. This is paradoxical in a rapidly changing world, where it is necessary to be agile and where employee engagement is the key to success. This may come as a surprise, the notion of engagement appeared a while back in the 1980s, when companies understood that employee engagement provided a definite competitive advantage (2); yet a lot of work is still to be done to achieve that ultimate goal.

Engagement from a Motivation Perspective

It is not easy to engage employees to serve the interests of their respective organizations. They must first motivate them. Since motivation is intrinsic to each individual and is correlated to their own values and personality, to grow a business, managers need to consider each team’s culture as a unique set of personalities and motivations. It is only by doing so that they can foster engagement and allow the organizational change to happen (3).

Engaging People During Times of Change

Engaging individuals requires a clear definition of the change expected for the working teams, a simple explanation of intent and a convincing argument for change. Managers must also give some elements on the behavior expected of teams and a reasonable timetable. Engagement depends heavily on the relationships between managers and their teams, during times of change it’s important for managers to focus on these relationships to achieve desired results. In doing so, it’s necessary to revisit management methods. For success it’s found that managers must be able to listen, be empathetic, honest and transparent towards their teams (4).

Becoming Human Centric

Companies are increasingly focusing on the individual’s place in the collective and are developing “symmetry of care,” i.e. they are making the quality of the relationship with their employees equal to the one they maintain with their customers. This concept, which appeared in 2007 in the book “Du management au marketing des services” by Benoît Meyronin and Charles Ditandy, is one of the levers of any transformation process. Vineet Nayar’s global success book “People First, Customers Second” goes further by putting employees before customers and is a global success. He advocates management through trust, because according to him, operational employees carry the value of a company. In the front line with customers, they are the ones who bring the real added value because they are willing to create tailor-made services or products capable of meeting the needs or challenges of the market.

In short, the agile transformation of a company takes its momentum from the revolution in managerial methods and leads to cultural changes that value the entire social body.

Sources:

  1. Infographie RH 2018 | Conseil et analyse en solutions logicielles pour l’entreprise et ses métiers, CXP, 2018.
  2. Employee Engagement and Change Management 1,Dr. C. Swarnalatha , 2,T.S. Prasanna,1,Professor & Head, Department of Management Studies, ANNA UNIVERSITY, 2013.
  3. Eight best practices of change : engagement, John Quereto, Expresswork,, August 8th, 2017.
  4. Employee Engagement and Organizational Change, Stavros Georgiades, Frederick University, January 2015.