Key to Employee Engagement

employee-engagement-ladder2Immense efforts are put in by companies today to hire and retain talent. The benefits of these efforts are immense. Silicon Valley is famous for creating new standards of pampering their staff to retain employees. However, it may not always be the best option for all the companies to copy these benefits blindly. A free spa and massage in the Google model will be highly misplaced in companies which do not provide high value services. Does it mean that companies should not look for unique and innovative methods of hiring and retaining employees? By all means they should and many are already doing it.

So what do companies seek to achieve by rolling out these perks and benefits to employees?

If we take a peek in the past, there are a few common elements of employee engagement. Organizations are like a huge family and treating their people fairly can be the most effective engagement model. Best innovations did not happen in the best of the places, but in the most challenging environments. Organizations empowering their employees and providing a clear path and vision, for the employees to walk upon, coupled with good leadership, will do the same wonders a leading company can achieve by spending several times the resources.

Most employee’s today are looking for a mentor to guide them and advise them on how to traverse the professional ladder. Keeping the door open for a conversation goes a long way in building a valuable bond between the employees and the organization.

Few things employees always look for are job stability, growth, quality of life, brand they work for and finally the money. Good managers and leaders add to this party. However, whenever employee retention is talked about, most of it boils down to hard benefits like money, spa, facilities which will be expensive for employees to avail outside. Such things will certainly do the trick, but will cease to sustain its lure for long.

Soft and humane elements like building great relationships, transparency and empowering employees would be more impactful.

So those companies who cannot afford the hard benefits beyond a reasonable limit, should embark upon the softer part of employee engagement. It will certainly have a great and lasting effect on employee happiness and stickiness.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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2 Responses

  1. Kesavan says:

    Good post. Certainly money is not in the top when it comes to employee engagement. Continuously engaging with honest conversations and caring for their growth will go a long way in happy and long serving employees.

  2. Hi Alok.

    Your blog on employee engagement is very well on target.
    As you have mentioned, organizations especially HR units are working on a lot of initiatives for employee engagement that include perks and benefits. An important aspect to it is the communication of these initiatives to the employees and getting their feedback.
    Employees also want to see that the employer cares about their health and safety. Employers should have effective solutions in place to inform employees of a safety hazard and reach out to them if they are in trouble. This is more important in countries like India, where there is a lack of infrastructure when it comes to safety and security. Ultimately, It is the employees that are the biggest assets in an industry like ours.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts.


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