Paul Falcone, vice president of MPTF (Motion Picture & Television Fund), and an author of several bestselling HarperCollins Leadership books, works unremittingly for spreading awareness about employee engagement. His writings focus on leadership development, performance management, and effective hiring, processes and four of them have been recognized as “SHRM Great 8” selections. In his writings, he emphasizes “how to do” rather than “what to do” in order to implement relevant HR practices and improve the performance of companies’ workforce. At MPTF, Falcone supervises human resource (HR) activities that include talent management, corporate governance, and SOX compliance. In an interview with CIO Review, speaking on the importance of employee engagement in organizations, Falcone mentions the significance of employee relationship with managers for business growth.
How has the employee engagement landscape evolved in recent years and what are the current market trends in the space?
Today, two leading trends in employee engagement space are soft skills training and employee wellness. Organizations are adopting employee wellness programs to improve their workforce engagement Such initiatives help improve employee morale and result in increased workforce satisfaction and self-motivation. In addition, another prominent trend is the development of soft skills that enhance collaboration between teams. A
f decade ago, soft skills were not considered to be a crucial aspect of leadership development — only a “nice to have” — of late, organizations are realizing that this ability is critical for high performing teams. Especially, decision-makers should inculcate such skills and coach other employees to boost engagement.
What should companies do to promote employee engagement and sharpen soft skills?
To achieve higher employee engagement and improve soft skills within organizations’ workforce, firms require a blend of several practices. Mainly, for creating sustainable revenue, it’s critical for small and medium firms to have dynamic leaders who can create an environment that encourages employees to engage and develop soft skills for their personal growth. However, enterprises have historically failed to realize that their employees are their most valuable assets and instead considered payroll as a variable expense. Often, firms try to reduce the pay of their workforce to compensate for the loss they incur. Instead, they should concentrate on building the potential of leadership for enhancing the workspace culture, which could differentiate them from their competitors. With organizations trying to navigate through the shifting industry landscape, it is difficult for them to retain their employees and maintain workspace culture for stability in the market. While hiring more people and slowing down the pace can bring consistency, not every company succeeds in it. Therefore, they have to improve employee engagement in order to make them feel more committed toward firms’ objectives and stay for an extended period. To successfully achieve those targets, organizations should ensure that employees are accomplishing their professional goals, which reflects on their professional social media platforms, resume, and more. Such a philosophy boosts employees’ self-esteem and unlocks their potential to perform assigned tasks enthusiastically. Today, along with external customer experience, organizations have to focus on the people who are providing that for their clients. By avoiding service providers’ experience, firms can’t expect them to deliver excellent customer experiences.
What are the challenges in the employee landscape and how should they be addressed?
The eminent pain point in this space is the absence of awareness within organizations about their most essential profit levers—employees. Enterprises have to recognize the importance of their workforce and try to bring managers, directors, and frontline supervisors on the same wavelength for better employee engagement. They need selfless leaders who primarily focus on serving people by placing employees’ need ahead of their own and respond accordingly. The bottom line is that people feel engaged and make organizations a better place due to a healthy relationship with managers. However, now firms are decoupling, which has led to the proliferation of independent contractors and freelancers. Although it has several advantages such as people enjoying various opportunities, revenue streams, and more, the truth of the matter is employees do not get health care and pension benefits.
In order to address those challenges, what should be the strategy for adopting the right solutions?
It’s a tedious task to find the best solutions as there are various applications in the market. CIOs try to evaluate different analytics software that are in their infancy stages to scan emails and provide insights about the employees who are disengaged and are likely to leave the organization. Instead, decision-makers should aim at developing or embracing applications that are focused on building employees relationships with their immediate superior. If employees align with their managers, they are committed toward contributing to firms’ success. The adage that employees leave managers and not companies is still valid, as one of the most critical aspects for employee satisfaction is their healthier relationship with frontline leadership. Consequently, along with adopting data intelligence software, they should embrace applications that further improve employee engagement.
"Decision-makers should aim at developing or embracing applications that are focused on building employees’ relationships with their immediate superior"
Would you like to convey any message to startups for staying ahead of the curve in the employee engagement space?
Instead of focusing on motivating their employees with various programs, startups should attempt to shape an environment where people can motivate themselves. Such culture will encourage employees to perform at their best and help organizations reach their business objectives. Startups should embrace technology that could enable employee engagement by building a relationship and in turn build loyalty in their workforce.