Author: Monika Srivastava, Founder, Brainseekers- an HR and Training Consultancy Organization

I am an active participant in the Learning and Development discussion forum where interesting and intriguing topics come up for discussion regularly. In one of the recent discussions, the topic was Employee Engagement. I have captured below a summary of this discussion.

Employee Engagement has become a crucial activity for Corporates today. It’s no more looked upon as just another activity to engage employees for few hours or a day. It has become a critical and thought provoking task to ensure employee retention for years. Companies are spending on employee motivation, team building and fun activities to have better employee engagement. But recent gallop study says globally only 13{8ead27c4518c0b10559874054ae3fda4d54ed4b9784c4144c679fdb93c45d0af} of employees feel they are engaged. The rest feel they are disengaged. We need to explore the new engagement mantra. Consequentially we need to reverse the trend.


  • Corporates treat engagement as a routine activity just to allure employees for sometime from their work and act as an eye-wash by management.
  • Leaders treat this just as a hygiene factor than a mode of long term job satisfaction.
  • Organizations are finding it difficult to retain Young Generation employees.
  • Basic needs (as per Maslow’s’ Theory) say of, competitive salary packages and job security are not being considered leading to demotivation.
  • Very low percentage of members continue in the job, irrespective of Salary package due to fear of job security in competitive environment.
  • Extra care given only to top performers and neglect of major portion of mediocre performers overall are resulting in high attrition of workforce.
  • Organizational mindset of considering employees more of high revenue and low cost generating tools than long term assets is sabotaging employee engagement initiatives.
  • As per Rousseau, Absence of Transactional engagement (i.e., economical aspect – basic needs) and Emotional engagement (overall career growth and development – long term goals) is a major cause of employee disengagement.
  • Focus is to fill the HR Requisition instead capabilities, skills or experience is leading to misfits, poor performers and finally attrition.
  • Blindly replicating what other organizations are doing instead of brainstorming, own companies’ vision and mission approach is causing problems.
  • Lack of synergies between HR, Training, Operations and projects teams is a major concern.
  • Lack of decision making power or Accountability at Middle management level is hurting organizations and teams.
  • HR defines training need based on budget and not based on skill gaps to perform better.
  • Bottoms-up approach mostly fails because of the cost of trainings and engagement programs.


By now you may have a good understanding of the challenges faced by organizations with regard to employee engagement. Now let’s shift our focus from the problem to the solution. What can corporates do differently to effectively deal with employee engagement? Below is a quick summary of what members felt are key measures organizations can take:

  • Best compensation as per market.
  • Empowering Managers and employee thereby setting Accountability.
  • Job security for performers.
  • Learning as a driver.
  • Creating unique and skill- based experiences that can create value.
  • Autonomy to do and realize what any individual wants to do.
  • Defined Roles n Responsibilities and periodical review of the same.
  • Being in a ROLE and flowing with a ROLL can bring a shift human understanding. (the last alphabet E & L) replacing L=Love to E =Ego.
  • Ideation center to exist to encourage new ideas. Subsequently Incentivize creativity.
  • Create a hall of fame wall.
  • Engagement should be INVOLVEMENT – Inspire managers by assigning full decision making process and people.
  • Need approach to surpass Greed approach.


Few companies like TCS, Google, Intel, have high retention rate as they are the best pay masters in the market.  However, Employees are engaged for their reasons and not the organization. Organizations can only facilitate engagement and can’t own it. Today a manager is only a ‘manager’ name tag. In simple terms a manager is as equal to a broker. A Manager with a stake in a company will become more than a processor or broker.

L&D teams can play a crucial role in employee engagement. Especially, a trainer can and should push the engagement game making the employees feel and believe that they are a part of the company and they need to contribute.

The employee engagement by Gallup is based on something known as Q12. To summarise Q12 process:

  • HR to ensure that the immediate supervisor completes Q12 – which asks “There’s someone at work who cares for me”.
  • Once a supervisor know Q12, and does them in balance, they would have surely engaged and energized employees.
  • After few months, activity called, “Strength finder” should be laid down for the supervisors to know which of the Q12 they are good at naturally and which ones they need to hone further.
  • Unfortunately, for the engagement sake, HR does things which are not aligned at all to the science of Q12.
  • Doing some and missing others, or skipping levels would be futile. We need to start at the bottom and go up.

In NUTSHELL most of members would definitely follow a combination of above mentioned measures and align them with business Goals & Objectives. Engagement is defining a concrete career path and providing flexibility of work (e.g., No fixed work desk) rather than conduct superficial time-pass activity for the sake of engagement.

On the contrary, few others concluded that nothing else can define engagement. Whatever the supervisor does for his team which can improve the productivity of the team is engagement. All Corporate and/or HR activities are tangential and more generic. One size does not fit all.