So, I was so happen to bring up the topic of employee engagement over dinner just now, and my “interviewees” come from 3 different countries. Everyone has a different definition of employee engagement and what engage them at work. We talked about employee initiated welfare program, a cosy space for recreation, celebration over anything, long service award, camaraderie between colleagues and with managers, and so on.
But of all, there is one common engagement element that all of them (from different background and nationalities) agreed – communication. Be it the communication with colleagues, managers (and General Manager) or HR personnel. There is no doubt that everyone would want their voices to be heard, their views to be appreciated, and will be more than happy to see their ideas coming true if not be involved in realizing them.
I could feel their excitement when they shared how they are involved in such engagement activities. One of them even shared that, “as long as the HR and GM listen to us, we are happy. We may not anticipate any immediate changes but we are glad to be heard”. But at the same time, I could sense there was a little disappointment and sad-envy in another person as he can’t have such “treatment” at his site. Was it bureaucracy that shuts off that kind of interaction in a way or another? Why are those people we are counting on leave us? When will our right “Agony Aunt” appear? For how long more must we wait for him / her?
And how long more can I wait?
These are their silent thoughts that were obvious enough to be heard.
The younger the generation is, the more impatient they are. The faster the world moves, the higher the expectations are. It’s getting tougher and tougher to satisfy everyone, especially in a multinational company, where no one-size-fits-all solution that could address this common problem.
So what we do now?
How about, don’t feed them til they are full (or they will get greedier)? Like the old saying, don’t feed your child, teach him how to fish. Why can’t we teach them how to fish? Teach them what employee engagement is and let them find their own perfect ways to stay engaged.
If they find money is everything to them, fine. Let them work the right way for money. If they want work life balance, fine. Let them manage their own time well. If they want empowerment, fine. Let them influence their managers. If they find values in their work, fine. Let them hold onto their beliefs in these values, don’t ever crush them.
You may argue that the system has to be there in order for them to enjoy these “ways of staying engaged”. True, but the more important thing is to give them all these skill sets to stay engaged in their preferred ways and not spoon-feed them with the system.
Someone ever told me that, “it would be nice to have flexible working hours but it would be even nicer and more beneficial if I can learn how to better manage my time!”
OT pay isn’t the only source of extra income, agree? They could earn even more if they have new skill sets or higher qualification.
“Managers don’t seem to engage us at all.” So be it. How can I make my managers engage me? I don’t know but someone should know and someone can teach us how to influence our boss.
“The work has no value. Day in day out, I’m just passing my days and waiting for my pay.” This is sad. Don’t you feel good if you could help someone to find meaning in his/her work (and life as well)?
Geez, this is so impromptu. Thank you, my dear interviewees. Good night.