Harsha, the internal communications leader of Top Infra, a multinational with over 5000 employees sat in a meeting called by her CEO – Manoj. Top Infra has a very young workforce with an average age of 26 years although they had a mix of all workforce generations. Also present at the briefing were the HR Director, Purva and the key business heads including Jacob of the IT department who has 1/3rd of the workforce under his wing. Here is a transcript of their conversation as they battle dwindling employee engagement.
Jacob: “I don’t know what to make of the employee engagement results. Employees have slammed us really bad. We are below industry average in terms of our numbers. We give them so many benefits and take care of their well-being. We just gave them pay hike. They are walking around looking very low. I can’t afford to lose good people.”
Manoj: (looking worried) “Purva, what do you make of this?”
Purva: “I think we aren’t engaging them enough. The results point to a lack of connection on the work we do, little commitment to furthering our agenda and no interest in promoting our brand. This isn’t what I expected either! This is a communications issue.”
Jacob: “I think so too. Communications needs to do more. We should invest in doing more to engage our employees. “
Harsha: “I disagree that this is only about communications. There is only so much we can do. Based on what I understood from the survey results there is a need for greater connection among managers and staff.”
Jacob: “All managers meet their teams weekly in briefing sessions. They forward the mails which come their way. They have defined objectives. I don’t see a disconnect.”
Harsha: “Meetings are great but does it serve the purpose? Are they meaningful to employees?”
Purva (agitated and standing up): “I think we should focus on raising their morale by doing fun stuff.”
Harsha: “Like what?”
Purva: ”You know like the cool things people love – games and entertainment to pep up their mood. How about conducting an extravaganza and invite their families? They would love it.”
Harsha: ”Mood? Why do we need to be responsible for their mood?”
Jacob: “They need to de-stress and feel like the company supports them. I am all for the family fanfare”.
Harsha: “I am unsure if this will work.”
Manoj: “Look, this sounds like a good idea to me. It will at least in the near term give us some leeway to think more about engagement. You know employees like it when we involve their families. They enjoy entertainment. Why don’t we conduct the event and see how the mood changes?”
Harsha is surprised to hear that the CEO believes an event will solve a deeper engagement concern but is unable to do much with all other leaders backing the ‘idea’.
Harsha: “Let me think this over and come back to the group”
What do you think? Is doing an event involving employees’ families going to move the needle on engagement? How can you help Harsha convince the leadership that this is a misplaced plan? What can be done to truly improve engagement?
Have you registered yet? Sign up today for the Internal Communications 401 Workshop – Brand Building, Inside Out on October 11, 2014 at Bangalore to discuss such topics and more.