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Happier Employees Are Likely To Perform With 9 Times Better Intensity: David Litteken, VP-Asia Pacific,BI WORLDWIDE

David Litteken, Vice President-Asia Pacific Region for BI WORLDWIDE talks to BW Businessworld around engagement solutions, importance of feedback and challenges for HR leaders. Edited excerpts:

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BI WORLDWIDE is a US headquartered, global employee engagement and recognition services provider, along with loyalty marketing and channel incentives services company with presence across the globe.

David Litteken, Vice President-Asia Pacific Region for BI WORLDWIDE talks to BW Businessworld around engagement solutions, importance of feedback and challenges for HR leaders. Edited excerpts:   

What can help bridge the gap between the company and the employees? What are the engagement solutions? 

Before jumping into solutions and tactics, start with a strategic, tailored approach by creating an Employee Value proposition (EVP) that helps attract and retain employees, while supporting their growth. Employees, who are the right fit for an organisation work harder, contribute more and are more likely to stay. According to a study by LinkedIn Business Solutions, a strong EVP can increase retention by 25 percent. Understanding the employee’s point of view and deriving insights on the organisation’s culture, mission and goals is a formula we use in creating a unique EVP. Engagement cannot be the same at all organisations. It is a unique framework custom created for the organisation keeping in mind their employee profile, culture, values etc. Once the framework is created, we build the engagement plan throughout the employee lifecycle. There are numerous touch points right from when the organisation’s recruitment strategy to the employee’s tenure with the organisation and retirement. Employees need to feel engaged and valued every step of the way. Our ‘Make every moment Count’ framework ensures there is a robust and comprehensive engagement plan for the organisation.

What are the engagement trends across the globe? What business strategies can help in achieving win-win strategy for both employees and employers?

Some of the strongest drivers are transparent and invigorating leadership, engaging managers, finding meaning in your work, and being recognised for the contributions made to the organisation. Let’s face it, managers make the difference. Here’s a telling statistic: 28-36 percent of employees claim they work for leaders whose approach is dysfunctional. And nearly half the employees leave a job to escape a bad manager. Our research shows that 91 percent of employees, whose managers understand them, are happy with their job and nine times more likely to perform their job with greater intensity. That’s why it is crucial to empower managers with tools to effectively motivate and reward their teams. Our engagement solutions not only address the importance of manager training but also the criticality of recognising good managers. 

Employee engagement tops poll as the biggest human resource challenge for 2018. Your comments. 

Engagement is beyond annual outings and health plans. Engagement needs to happen at every touch point in the employee lifecycle. Our research also shows that employee engagement remains the single largest HR challenge. It will remain so until companies shift their focus to driving employee happiness. And this happiness is three dimensional: (1) my employer is trying to make me happy, (2) my manager makes decisions with my best interests in mind, and (3) my organisation is actively helping me reach my long-term financial goals. Happiness is all about finding the right fit with your manager and organisation, finding meaning in your work, and being recognised for it. From here, comes engagement. So far organisations have created an EVP in parts. In 2018 we will see many organisations take a more holistic view at why an employee should join, why an employee should stay, and how an employee can be engaged in the organisation.

How important is feedback and transparency in terms of engagement?

Millennials have cited transparency as a top motivator in the workplace. They want to know, understand and relate to the overall organisation mission, vision and corporate strategies. The younger workforce demands to know what the senior leadership is planning and why. They want to be involved in the process. Feedback too is now becoming a hygiene factor when it comes to engaging the younger workforce. Annual reviews are necessary, but so is constant and consistent feedback on the employee’s daily tasks, projects, ideas and initiatives. The more transparent a manager is with corporate plans and strategy, and the more forthcoming theyare with feedback, the more likely the younger workforce is engaged with the organisation, and motivated to perform better.

How can organisations start using workforce data to create a culture of engagement?

Today’s technologies have a powerful impact on a company’s culture. The combination of human interaction with virtual-assistant technology not only provides valuable insights on employee and manager behavior, but can also influence and guide it. Use the data to track engagement and effectiveness. A recent study conducted by BI WORLDWIDE found that turnover is 17.7% lower among employees who received at least one recognition when compared to those who did not. The study also showed that employees who received recognition within their first 60 days predict significantly increased giving and receiving rates throughout their next year of tenure. Data such as this can be used to consistently refine your EVP strategies and practices. Data can show you areas of improvement and potential to improve engagement and employee satisfaction. Quick polls and questionnaires also help in understanding the pulse of the organisation on a regular basis, combined with annual ESAT surveys. We work with organisations’ data and employee insights in refining, improving and executing their EVP strategy.