As a HR learner, I only keep on re-stating the fact that good engagement is just not about the cosmetics of some HR function initiatives – yes those initiatives do help to increase or better EE.
That said, unless the style of leadership is one that is intent on fostering a great workplace for the team, then no amount of other initiatives can save the day in bettering EE at that workplace.
This is also re-iterated in the article on building a sustainable engagement strategy by good friend Abhishek Mittal of Towers Watson, Singapore.
Two key takeaways from this work from the HR/EE perspective are enablement and energy. From a personal view point I would rate energy as the number one priority, and enablement later.
While what HR folks commonly call as a great work environment is a combination of numerous factors within the organisational framework, the crucial software in this whole application is the ‘leadership’ disk!
Keep all the other facilities which HR assiduously puts in place, but just remove the software of good leadership – the carefully cooked EE pie will crumble.
Energy and enablement are the direct results of a great leader for the different groups within the organisation.
This is easily evident, yet most of our organisations lack the HR framework to address this important people issue – in fact it goes to the extent of some of us assuming that – where there is the lack of an enabling and energizing leader, other elements in canvas – like compensation, additional responsibilities, better role, career path etc – will catalyze EE.
This is not true; and yet it seems to be least realised in our efforts of building a holistic EE program.
Energize and enablement are just a direct fallout of the leaders at different levels within the organisation. Not an inch more.
Its HR’s responsibility to make sure that necessary training and re-training initiatives are built in to make sure that a majority of the leaders can energize and enable. Sans this, all other investments in a robust EE program will just be an exercise in vain.
The question really is – how many of us in HR are willing to accept this, and work hard on making better leaders out of our people?!
(A note of thanks to Abhiskek Mittal for his insights).