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Employee Engagement: No One Way of Doing It Right

By James Cheng, Global Director of Inclusion & Diversity and Talent Acquisition, Gilead Sciences [NASDAQ:GILD]

James Cheng, Global Director of Inclusion & Diversity and Talent Acquisition, Gilead Sciences [NASDAQ:GILD]

As the lifeblood of any organization, an employee’s role is indispensable and extremely significant, as the effort shown by its workforce marks the position of a company in the market. Hence, it is imperative to keep employees happy, satisfied, and engaged for maintaining stability and avoiding frequent turnovers. However, a lot of organizations still struggle with poor employee effort or engagement at the workplace because they often fail to understand that, employees today aspire to pursue a meaningful career, which is interesting and can help them grow in all aspects. Further, with the entrance of a new generation in the workplace, there is a new wave of awakening discourse over employee diversity and inclusion. To match their pace with this, companies are expected to revamp their employee engagement strategies and establish better ones.

Need For a Reformed Leadership

From an employee engagement point of view, a rousingly popular question is ‘do leaders understand inclusive leadership?’ The inclusion of employees from diverse demography in the workplace has proven its effectiveness in maximizing interest of employees, making them feel more engaged and psychologically safe. The role of leaders, at present, is to maintain the equilibrium of ideas and make employees respect the diversity their team members represent. As the director of inclusion, diversity, and talent acquisition, I recognize the need to encourage the management teams to accept employees from varying diversities and strive to become more inclusive because it can drive growth and innovation in the company. It can push companies to newer possibilities and opportunities.

Silver Bullet Approach: A Major Roadblock

One of the most prevalent challenge and trend that I see in today’s approach to employee engagement is the faulty employee value proposition (EVP) offered by companies. Organizations still struggle to crack the mantra of providing a captivating EVP that employees desire, and make them want to continue working with the brand. Most companies tend to follow a cookie-cutter approach to every setback they face in the employee engagement domain, which needs to change; there is no single answer to everything. Leaders in the HR domain need to evolve and opt for more out-of-the-box ideas and strategies, which incorporates continual change rather than a stagnant approach.

Personal Playbook to Success

If one observes the market closely, they will see how inclusion and diversity are the fundamental components that fuel successful employee engagement at the workplace. A leader with the right eye for inclusion and diversity can develop a culture of uninhibited expression of ideas, harmony, and maximized teamwork. An inter-sectional population in a workplace is going to bring perspective into the industry, and that is a unique quality of a brand. Hence, At Gilead Sciences, we thrive by this mantra religiously while hiring and also hold HR-managers accountable for it.

Although the HR is all about people, employee engagement does not concern only the HR department; it is an equal responsibility for the management teams as well to truly understand how to be inclusive as a leader in the space. We need to collectively ensure that people bring their full potential to work, which impacts the organization entirely. Our work is to make the employees love their jobs by keeping them engaged so that they can make a significant contribution to the organization. We also need to educate the industry about the elements that are going to allow employees to contribute in a fully engaged manner, bring their whole selves to work, and gain value from a business perspective.

What’s Next?

I believe the upcoming days for companies are going to be more people-oriented, where the leaders understand that employee engagement cannot follow a silver bullet approach. It needs us to be more agile and accommodating as an entity. Besides, HR will continue to grow with time and gain more perspective over diversity, inclusivity, and intersectionality in the workforce population. And, a more profound understanding of such aspect is going to lead us to success and innovation subsequently.

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