Employee Engagement: Focus on the right Symbiont.

kwenchBlogBanner_RightSymbiont_I ain’t some dying dog that you can kick /
So f* off /
It’s so easy to fall into that hole /
And you’re the one who cast me in that role / (Social Parasite, Alice in Chains)

We often hear comparisons of organizations with organisms. In his book ‘The Living Company’, Arie De Gues compares companies to living organisms by arguing that just like them, companies learn, evolve and eventually cease to exist. The traditional view point of the contract between an employee and the organization/employer has been that of two principals who are inherently in conflict; but in order to maximize their self-interest they engage in co-operation with each other. Employee-employer relationships have come a long way from the Master-Slave days and so has the implicit contract between them.

Continue reading “Employee Engagement: Focus on the right Symbiont.”

Architecting Strategic Rewards and Recognition to reinforce Organizational Goals

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There’s so many different worlds /
So many different suns /
And we have just one world /
But we live in different ones (Brothers in Arms, Dire Straits)

One of the biggest challenges faced by HR professionals is to design Rewards and Recognition programs that help align individual goals with that of the organization. A well designed program helps to align individual tasks and achievements with the overall business strategy of the organization and also reinforces organizational values in everyday activities. Companies can thus gain competitive advantage in the market place if their Rewards and Recognition programs are architected correctly through a complete understanding of business goals, organization structure, organizational culture and tailored to meet individual psychology. Continue reading “Architecting Strategic Rewards and Recognition to reinforce Organizational Goals”

FLIPping VUCA through Strategic Employee Recognition

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Livin’ on the edge / You can’t stop yourself from fallin’/ Tell me what you think about your situation/ Complication, aggravation is getting to you

If chicken little tells you that the sky is fallin’/ Even if it wasn’t would you still come crawlin’ back again/ I bet you would my friend  

(Living on the Edge, Aerosmith)

It has become nearly impossible to access a news site off late without coming across a report or opinion piece on how layoffs are imminent in the Indian IT/ITeS sector. Experts, who understand this sector much better than I do, seem to attribute the negative sentiment among companies in the sector to rising protectionist sentiments in traditional markets, impending rise of AI and ML and subsequent loss of jobs to automation. Some even feel that the entire sector was ‘lazy’ and that the loss of jobs was a foregone conclusion. And all those share buy-back offers by IT majors? Now that simply has to be the ultimate proof that things aren’t going well at all!

If all this fearmongering makes you want to scream out loud, join the line. As Aerosmith put it so well – it feels a bit like ‘Living on the Edge’! Continue reading “FLIPping VUCA through Strategic Employee Recognition”

5 Employee Engagement tips from the Baahubali Saga

5 Employee Engagement tips from the Baahubali Saga

 

 

 

 

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion has been making waves at the box office. Everyone wanted to know why Kattappa killed Amarendra Baahubali. A story of intrigue, ambition, greed, love, loyalty and everything in between.

Like all good stories, there are nuggets of wisdom embedded in there that leaders can put to good use. So here are five employee engagement tips from the story. (Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the movie, and are planning on seeing it, you might want to skip this post for now and come back later once you have seen the visual treat) Continue reading “5 Employee Engagement tips from the Baahubali Saga”

3 tips to ‘power-up’ timely recognition at the workplace.

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Employee recognition is an extremely effective way to empower your best workers. Whether you recognize an employee with a raise or just a quick email, it’s important to let employees know when they’re doing well. However, recognition alone isn’t enough. Continue reading “3 tips to ‘power-up’ timely recognition at the workplace.”

[Video] The Lying Org-Chart

We have a new video up on the kwenchEngage! YouTube channel called “The Lying Org-Chart”.  Take a look.

A quick introduction to the power of Social Networks within organizations and how it can be unleashed to achieve better collaboration and also increase employee engagement.

References for content used in the video:

“How Org Charts Lie”, HBS Working Knowledge Series, “The Hidden Power of Social Networks: Understanding how  work really gets done in organizations”, HBS Press Book.

Time, Love and Tenderness at the workplace.

TLT_So you say that you can’t go on / Love Work left you cryin’/ And you say all your hope is gone/And what’s the use in tryin’/What you need is to have some faith/Shake off those sad blues/Get yourself a new view (Time,Love and Tenderness; Michael Bolton)

I took some liberties with Bolton’s lyrics and plugged work instead of love in there, but it would seem he knew much more about employee engagement, that one would have given him credit for.

Sigal Barsade, a professor at Wharton, believes that “compassionate love” at the workplace is key factor to boosting employee morale, teamwork and customer satisfaction.

So what exactly is compassionate love you ask? According to professor Barsade, it is when “Colleagues who are together day in and day out, ask and care about each other’s work and even non-work issues. They are careful of each other’s feelings. They show compassion when things don’t go well. And they also show affection and caring — and that can be about bringing somebody a cup of coffee when you go get your own, or just listening when a co-worker needs to talk.”

The first data collection that Barsade and her co-author Olivia O’Neill did was through a 16 month longitudinal study at a long-term health care facility covering 185 employees, 108 patients and 42 of the patient’s family members. The aim of the study was to, measure the effect of compassionate love on:

  • the emotional and behavioural outcomes of employees
  • the health of the patients
  • the satisfaction of the family members.

A very significant finding was that a culture of compassion reduces employees’ withdrawal from work. To further check if the findings held good in other industries, they performed another study – this one involving over 3000 employees in seven different industries. The results again showed a positive correlation of compassionate love with job satisfaction, commitment to the company and accountability for performance.

So what are the potential benefits from creating a culture that supports ‘compassionate love’?

(1)  Decreased Absenteeism (and Presenteeism):  When executives and management focus on creating a culture where employees are encouraged to listen to their co-workers and show empathy to problems the other person is facing (at work or maybe an illness in the family which is in turn affecting work performance) they create a workplace, which employees look forward to. When employees feel more comfortable and appreciated, they tend to give their best to the task on hand.

(2)  Decreased Stress levels: An additional study by O’Neill and Nancy Rothbard of Wharton involved fire-fighters. It turns out that the high stress of their job results in higher levels of work-family conflict and the study determined that compassionate love helps to buffer the effect of  job stress on other outcomes.

(3)   Increased Customer Satisfaction: The last thing a customer wants to hear is “I have passed this on to XYZ team, they will look into it” – and this is typically the response that a stressed out employee who couldn’t care less about what happens to the customer or his employer, would give. A vast majority of customer problems require coordination between employees to solve quickly and effectively. In a culture buttressed by compassionate love that coordination will happen easier than it would in a stressful, competitive or angry one.

The research does raise some points for management to think about. As Barsade puts it

“Management can do something about this. They should be thinking about the emotional culture. It starts with how they are treating their own employees when they see them. Are they showing these kinds of emotions? And it informs what kind of policies they put into place. This is something that can definitely be very purposeful — not just something that rises organically.”

References and Acknowledgements:

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

(a) Why Fostering a Culture of Compassion in the Workplace Matters, Knowledge@Wharton