Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why an Organization Fails to Engage its Employees

Organizations generally fail to engage their employees, in the true sense of the word engagement at least. The efforts spent towards increasing employee engagement don't seem to yield into actual returns for an organization. This is what most employees generally think - forget about the fancy HR presentations which may claim otherwise. Why is that so?

Why is Employee Engagement So Important

The whole idea behind engaging employees is to ensure greater business success for the organization. Engaged employees tend to stay beyond the normal working hours, are more motivated and supposedly more productive. Despite an over-emphasis on employee satisfaction measures for higher engagement with the organizational vision and goals, engagement still remains the biggest challenge for the business leaders and the HR folks in any organization.

Organization's Perspective  - Reasons for Employee Engagement Measures to Fail

The primary reason is organizational selfishness. Institutions tend to be self-centered and assume an identity much bigger than the individuals who establish them in the first place. And not only that, institutions tend to downplay and dominate individual aspirations leading to frustrations amongst the individuals who are a part of the institution. Employees are 'hired' and 'fired' as dictated by the organization's business needs.

One would often read about the entire senior management team getting laid off in the wake of an acquisition. Another example of this is the massive lay-offs and job cuts carried out by almost all companies during the great recession of 2008-2009. Interestingly many of such companies reported higher profit margins and awarded huge bonus and swanky cars to the so-called 'top performers' and its 'visionary and effective' leadership which steered it successfully through the liquidity storm which had engulfed the world economy.

Employee's Perspective - Reasons for Employees Not to Feel Engaged

In light of above, employees can't be anything but selfish in respect of their individual vision and goals. For most employees, working with an organization is incidental to making a successful career. And successful career means everything - money, material comfort, good lifestyle for the family, respectable position in the social pecking order, etc. Whether the organization succeeds or fails is important to the extent it impacts an employee's career.

Striking the Balance

From the society's perspective, a fair balance between an organization's selfishness and its employees' selfishness is crucial for the larger benefit of mankind. Organizations hire and fire employees, employees join and leave organizations but what transpires when they are together is crucial for the world economy and the society at large.

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