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Driving organisational performance through employee engagement


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It will come as no surprise that 2016 was not an easy ride for many Middle East employers and employees alike. The year-end financial figures might not be pleasing to a large number of shareholders. Additionally, some employees lost their jobs while others are concerned about the consequences of the forecasted cost controls on their employment.

The ability of organisations to successfully manoeuvre through these turbulent periods will boil down to the leaders’ ability to be more engaging of the workforce. So, dear leader, how can you maintain your employees’ engagement levels during these times?

Communicate

  • Connect with people through accessibility, genuine concern and emotional presence
  • Be transparent. Inform the employees about the business direction and ensure they are equipped to handle the tough times
  • Don’t shy away from the tough conversations. Tackle them as and when they arise
  • Articulate to the employees the importance of their role during this period – engaged employees understand the organisation’s objectives and their role
  • Listen
  • Definitely continue running your yearly engagement survey; however, don’t rely solely on it. Move immediately to continuous listening. Run pulse surveys at different intervals; talk to people who are leaving the organisation and understand the reasons behind their decisions; listen to the new joiners and understand what motivated them to join you
  • Align the pulsing strategy with the engagement, HR and business strategy
  • Ask targeted questions
  • Leverage technology advancements to get quicker feedback and aggregated results
  • Take action
  • Keep it simple, focus on quick wins for the short-term and up to three strategic actions that will drive/sustain the overall organisation engagement levels on the mid-term
  • Lay down the different options that could be considered for each situation
  •  Form problem-solving groups to evaluate the different options. Let the employees take part in planning the way forward. Let them feel that their input is even more valued during these rocky times
  • Provide them with additional details regarding how the market/industry/competition is handling the same situation and how you plan to manage it differently
  • Focus on high performers/potentials talent pool
  •  Focus on internal hiring. Don’t stop the promotions; rather, fill in all open positions internally and celebrate these occurrences
  • Tell your high performers/potentials how important they are to the business. Assure them that their jobs are secure. Explain to them how they fit into the company’s short- and long-term strategies
  • With the limited budgets, grow their capabilities through stretched assignments, coaching, mentoring and shadowing opportunities. Let them learn from the expert (you) how to manage the business through the tough times
  • Allocate the limited salary increase and bonus budgets in a manner that is mainly skewed towards high performers/potentials talent pool
  • Demonstrate resilience
  • Step up in the face of the challenging situations and navigate your people through them
  • Stabilise people by staying positive and maintaining composure under pressure
  • Inform the workforce about your vision for the business and how you envisage the growth within a determined period of time
  • Energise people by connecting them to a common purpose
  • Maintaining high employee engagement levels is important at all times; however, it is more critical during the business downturn period. Remain focused, keep the human capital item high on the leadership agenda and consider taking actions when required.

 


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