Is Entertainment =Employee Engagement?


Jacob and his leadership team at Optic Data -a global analytics firm are concerned about their employee engagement survey results.  The overall scores are well below the industry average and their 10,000+ strong employee strength at 4 locations in the country is dwindling due to high attrition. They gathered employees in a focus group and asked managers what they felt about the results and reasons. They heard that employees wanted to be more connected and engaged.

The young workforce preferred lesser work load and more ‘fun’ in the office. The managers weren’t sure what to do about ‘fun’ and the work load wasn’t going to get any easier considering heightened competition and increased demand from clients. The leadership team spoke with employees directly and they continued to hear that the word ‘fun at the workplace’ come up in most discussions. They gathered to debate the implications of these findings and the subsequent actions to be taken. Reflect on this case study and share what you think must be the way forward for Jacob and team.

Jacob (CEO): “This survey result is a wake-up call for us. It definitely needs addressing. I am unable to fathom what is causing this even though it says that employees are seeking more face time with managers, improved infrastructure, more recognition and increased pay.”

Nina (HR Head): “I am afraid this isn’t a trend in other companies – which means we have a problem on our hands. “

Deepa (IT Director): “In my team I can say for sure the mind-set is different. They aren’t wired to have fun. They want to have better roles and see growth for themselves. I am not sure fun will solve anything.”

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Hari (Process Director): “I disagree. In my team it is about breaking the monotony of daily work. They need to let their hair down and distress. Entertainment might work.”

Jacob: “Curious to know – how many in this room think that entertainment would keen you personally engaged?”

Noticing nervous glances Jacob realized he wasn’t going to get a response. He continues.

“I meant – how many of you came in to this organization expecting the company to be engaging you?”

Tom: (Finance Director) “Not me. I was excited to join, saw the potential for growth and was impressed by the company’s achievements.  My role is of interest and that keeps me going.”

Nina: “Same with me. I heard of this company and with big data the next big wave; this was the place to be!”

Hari: “I suggest we organize some fun and games in the workplace – movies on Fridays, give away ice-creams, put bean bags in the lounge spaces and create a gaming zone.”

Deepa: “Good ideas. We should also consider music shows and theatre in the offices”

Nina: (looking skeptical) “Isn’t that a lot of work to get all these done and won’t it take away focus from what we are supposed to do – deliver the best solutions and services for our customers?”

Tom: “I agree. It will see a productivity drop and our clients may get worried about the results we are supposed to deliver against.”

Jacob: “Is it about making the workplace fun or have fun in the workplace? Can entertainment solve engagement? How do we even know that it will do any good to their morale? I am unsure we are getting anywhere with this. Can I request you to mull over our strategy and come back with a clear decision on what we must actually do?”

All nod their heads, agree to do more thinking about this situation and come back.

What can the group do? What is your point of view? Please share it here.

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