Rethinking employee engagement for the next-gen workforce


By Sowmya Santhosh

The modern workplace has changed dramatically over the last few years. Employee aspirations, once limited to having a stable career in a credible organisation with decent pay, have now taken a different shape altogether. Employees today are much more aware and responsive to organisational traits such as culture, fairness, recognition, work-life balance, learning opportunities and rapid professional growth. The new set of expectations from a skilled, performance-driven and demanding workforce has put employee engagement up front and centre of Human Resource priorities. This is where knowledge-driven organisations like CitiusTech are taking the lead in rethinking traditional employee engagement approaches. We view employee engagement a strategic driver of organisational growth, and a critical component in managing the aspirations of a talented and informed workforce.

Today, with a more socially connected employee that values peer validation above organisational badges, peer-driven initiatives can play a strong role in employee motivation. An example of effective peer-driven engagement is an appreciation program called ‘iAppreciate’ that has been running at CitiusTech for the last 7 years. This program lets employees appreciate each other either through a simple card called an ‘iAppreciate’ card or can also share their appreciations on our internal social platform – Yammer. We see employees who have received iAppreciate cards proudly display them within their workspaces.

Another major organisational challenge that confounds HR teams is how organisational values can be effectively communicated and internalised across a workforce in times of rapid employee churn. At CitiusTech, we now understand that simply sharing values as a formal document or training module does not cut ice with most employees. This led us to use gamification to drive home our five core values of passion, respect, openness, unity and depth of knowledge. Games and contests are organised through the year that focus on one or more of our five values and how they are apply in real-life scenarios. We also have specific awards like ‘CitiusTech Value Champion’ for employees that have been exemplary in upholding our values in their day-to-day interactions with clients, partners or other employees.

Finally, personal connect matters immensely to the modern workforce. Employees are human beings at the end of the day. HR teams need to work towards building a culture of appreciation for employees’ personal passions and interests. This often leads to a strong and immediate connect. At CitiusTech, we actively drive initiatives like the ‘Do Something Awesome’ campaign which recognises personal passions, ‘CT Got Talent’, a platform to exhibit talents at work and ‘Teach a Skill, Learn a Skill’ which lets people share skills such as origami, Karate and classical music, with other employees.

As organisations build their employee engagement strategies, their biggest hurdle will be to rethink traditional approaches of formal communication. They will need to view employee engagement as a continuously evolving relationship, much like relationships in real life. HR teams will need to take big strides towards creating a fluid, peer-driven engagement model that connects at a truly personal level, internalises organisational values and creates real emotional equity in the mind of the employee.

The author is the Sr. Vice President & Head – HR at CitiusTech



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