Personalization of engagement was critical to meeting demands of different generations of employees, a speaker said Keka HR Conclave in Bengaluru.
“What matters to one generation may not matter to another,” said Richa Sethi, vice president of HR at First Source. “HR teams need to understand their employees and business well. Data analytics can come handy here.”
As for engagement hacks, Ms. Sethi, who was part of a panel discussion, pointed to work flexibility and finding the right balance among aspects of it like shift timings, work-from-home and the hybrid work format.
Keka, an HR technology leader, organized the conclave in Bengaluru. The day-long event, which travelled to several Indian cities, brought together best minds in the sector. This was the 13th chapter of the conclave.
The gathering also featured a knowledge hub where attendees accessed practical HR use cases, case studies and books on HR management.
“The world is changing in a way that the willingness to engage is selective,” explained Viraaj Arora, Head of Culture and Talent at Headout Technologies. “You can’t just force people to the wall of engagement. The key here is to acknowledge there will be people who don’t wish to engage yet are productive and meet goals.”
The biggest engagement hack, he believes, is decentralization of engagement.
He suggested that team leaders or reporting managers must engage more with team members. “As a company grows, creating larger influence using a single team or a person becomes difficult,” he pointed out.
He further explained, “Leaders must be respectful of the level of engagement people in teams are comfortable with.”
However, he cautioned that decentralization of engagement didn’t mean isolating the engagement process.
“It’s about decentralizing the responsibility of integration and your role of influence. You divide the responsibility of engagement in a way that managers influence, excite and inspire their team members. You couple this with organizational engagement activities,” he said.
Treat employees as humans
In addition, Director of Talent Development at Omega Healthcare Management Services Karthik Mulakaluri stated employees must be treated as humans first. “This acknowledgement is more urgent now given there are multiple generations at workplace today,” he added.
Today, many people quit organizations for being treated as commodities and as not humans, he said. “They don’t feel a sense of belonging with organizations.”
Pointing to the need for fostering team behavior, Ms. Sethi said organizations must build digital communities for it.
Next, it’s essential to nurture an environment which humanizes employees. “It shouldn’t be about KPIs and KRAs only. it’s also about humanizing people through conversations and building rapport with them. A humanizing culture is a stepping stone to building a community,” added Mr. Arora.
As regards measuring employee engagement, Mr. Mulakaluri suggested two aspects: formal and informal.
The informal means went beyond surveys, he explained. “It’s about having small, non-work-related interactions, knowing the passions and interests of your workforce,” he added.
Whereas, Ms. Sethi advised HR professionals to conduct regular check-ins and set milestones to gauge engagement at regular intervals.
Explain ‘why’ of decisions
Apart from the panel discussion, the gathering featured an HR-centric fireside chat with CEOs.
Answering a query on ways to align workforce around organizational values, co-founder of Chai Point Nikunj Gupta alluded to a quote by co-founder of Infosys Nandan Nilekani that companies were built in informal meetings, corridors and pantries.
“When people in an organization get to know each other, they develop a common way of working. This forms culture,” he said.
In addition, Kartik Mandaville, CEO of Springworks, believes explaining the ‘why’ of decisions was important for especially newer generations of employees.
“The younger generation wants to know rationale behind decisions,” he said, stressing the need for transparency to make decisions acceptable.
Keka also released the ‘HRs as Change Agents, 2023’ report at the conclave. The report, based on the responses of 1,969 business professionals, covers HR trends and future priorities in the areas of ‘Technology’, ‘Strategic HR’ and ‘Workplace’. It seeks to aid HRs in becoming change enablers for their organizations.
Download the report for free here.