More than organizational policies, compensation and recreational activities at work, its leadership at various levels in the organization which engages employees. HR may always strive to come up with great policies, themes for engagement and fancy branding activities. But if there’s one aspect inspire people for superior performance at work is the quality of leadership and mentoring ability of leaders at multiple levels which organization culture facilitates . Some of the great places to work are those which have strong middle management leadership talent and they have always energized and inspired individuals in teams to go for extra mile.
I have seldom come across a disengaged employee in teams which have good leaders. By leaders I do not necessarily means the ones who make so called “strategic moves” at corporate level. For an employee leadership is experienced and exhibited at team level. It need not necessarily be a manager but also peers, and colleagues from different teams.
So does it means leadership development should be a priority for HR function?
This is another debatable issue, can leadership be developed? Yes and No-Well you’ll expect this from an HR guy. I say yes as leadership development can be facilitated by HR interventions but to assume that it can we can develop great leaders in isolation can be a mirage. Leadership development and organizational culture are inter-dependent ; similarly leadership development practices and great organizations have a binding co-relation. Great organisations have a history of developing leaders at all levels.
Employee Engagement is a collaborative effort which requires participation and commitment to the organizations people’s philosophy. Often during my interaction with employees from various organizations and different industries I try and figure out what is it that motivates them keeps them excited about the job they do, some of which are mundane and repetitive at times. More often that not, it’s the immediate leader who is the key to success of an engaged teams and motivated employees. HR as a function can’t actually engage employees in isolation unless the leadership continues to take employee engagement as internal performance metrics for evaluating and rewarding performance.