HR Forum

10 secrets to engaging your most valuable asset: Talent

Employee engagement is a pertinent and hot topic for leaders. Research has shown a direct correlation between employee engagement, discretionary effort and company growth.

Organisations which have succeeded in building a positive work environment for employee engagement have reaped the resulting benefits in customer satisfaction, sales growth and increasing profits.

There are two types of engagement initiatives that are used as motivational techniques: extrinsic such as rewards, pay, compliments, recognition etc and intrinsic, which are inherent within the job - sense of accomplishment, purpose and meaning. A research conducted at Harvard Business School clearly showed that intrinsic motivators are far more powerful.

Outlined below are 10 such powerful motivators that not only help to build a great work environment, but also help to unleash the inherent potential of talented employees:

1. Happiness

A great deal of research has been conducted on the science of happiness in recent years. The factors that are most often repeated are:

- gratitude and expressing thanks

- mindfulness or being aware of the present moment

- optimism

- living free of resentfulness

An organisation can build these into its value systems, celebrations and day to day work to create a happy environment.

2. Meaning

Finding meaning is a powerful motivator for most people. Meaning refers to significance, an inner satisfaction. Great organisations answer these questions:

-What is the difference you want to make in this world?

-How do you want to change the world?

3. Purpose

Similar to meaning, defining the larger purpose connects individual effort with organisational goal. People are more engaged when they can identify how they are contributing to the success of the organization. Connecting individual area of work with the vision defines the purpose.

4. Productivity

Less is more. Focus gets results. Less email, meetings and distractions result in better quality of output. Productivity hacks help to beat procrastination, deliver desired results and enhance sense of accomplishment and impact.

Personal productivity techniques and methods - mobile apps, small habits etc are a great way to increase engagement.

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5. Passion

Passion is what we do repeatedly. It is having a great enthusiasm and energy for work. Great modern-day companies provide the avenue and fuel the passion of their employees by providing free time, enabling exploration of personal projects and energising innovation.

6. Balance

A balance between work and life is a powerful engagement lever for the best companies. Factors that go into balance are flexibility, mobile environment, enabling policies and trusting managers.

7. Creativity

Personal creativity has led to many breakthrough ideas and innovations for companies. Progressive organisations realise that it is okay to think out of the box, they encourage diversity and innovation contests where employees freely participate and contribute ideas regardless of levels and organisation structure.

8. Results

Using analytics and measures helps employees to get dynamic and real-time feedback about their performance. In a gamified environment, business activities can be converted into a game where results can be tracked quickly and wins and losses can be measured. This increases the engagement level while at the same time teaching business-critical skills.

9. Hacks

Hacks are alternative and optimised ways of doing things. They may use innovation, or a "how-to" or a shortcut. Hacks are often built on research or psychology or an unusual insight into how the mind works. Hacks engage employees because they solve problems and make things easier. Hacks involve technology, app, a business rule or a simple habit.

10. Bets

Progressive organisations encourage calculated risks. These are called 'bets'. Organisations encourage hiring people who could be game changers, who can help to take the organisation to the next level. Backing such decisions requires investments and risks. However this engages and empowers employees to take really big and game changing actions.

Sharad Verma is the global head of human resources for a financial technology organisation based in India. With over 20 years of human resource experience, his expertise lies within talent retention and development specifically geared toward middle management, and he blogs regularly on these topics. To contact him, email


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