Productive workplace engagement depends on relationship-building. Engagement comes from your relationship with the work, the co-workers, the culture, and the management. As long as management focuses on command and control hierarchies, it fails to build the employee engagement that translates into quality productivity. That’s something you should build into any business growth strategy, and perhaps your HRIS can help.
Origin of management hierarchy
Management organizes somewhat naturally as any organization takes shape. Some cream will always rise to the top. Unfortunately, enterprises have looked to now archaic structures in military tradition.
Government bureaucracies, organized religions, educational institutions, and other organizations – for-profit and non-profit – tend to move towards top-down hierarchies. Even where collaboration and team-building are organizational values, the teams still largely work in vertical structures. Undoing this mindset is likely impossible – especially in developing economies and businesses.
Continuation of the problem
Organizations appoint managers after they have proven themselves in high performance metrics on the job. Too often, they are promoted without formal training in leadership, even where they may be trained in additional content, such as Human Resources, information technology, agency compliance, and risk management.
Pointedly, they have not been trained in developing people relationships with the intent of securing their best performance. New managers focus, instead, on “leading by example” and remaining “one of the guys.” They would do better to focus on investing the same effort in their subordinates that they put into customer satisfaction.
Solution in engagement
When a business values employee engagement, it must begin with understanding the central role of workers and creating management metrics that include accountability for people development and engagement. This, in turn, requires the organization’s leadership to define “engagement” and map paths to its achievement.
This starts with designing routes to building and sustaining manager-employee relationships. Management leadership must:
- create a culture and environment that is open and enabling.
- enable horizontal and vertical communication without threat.
- require avenues of guidance, mentoring, input, and feedback.
- demonstrably recognize and reward the feedback with shared awareness of its integration in outcomes and revision of operational processes.
- employ technology that attracts and involves users with elements of gamification.
Management doors must remain open – literally and metaphorically – if individual managers expect to lead and develop engagement. In fact, corporate futures depend on the ability of their managers to recognize and engage talent in building future interests. This involves a shift away from executive control of the system and management hands on its buttons to the creation of systems that invite and encourage individual worker participation and self-improvement.
Your HRIS application can play a role in this shift. Most HRIS products have the flexibility to serve more than only data and administrative functions. For example, using color and visual interactivity, the system can appeal to the psychological interest in gaming. It also reaches distance workers, mobile platforms, and multi-site workers, tying them to a core experience. And, it can address individuals and report their specific records, thereby, personalizing their administrative user experience.
Installed as an administrative tool, HRIS can do even more. Depending on your HRIS package, you can use it to inform, train, and interact with users. It can support HR’s drive to engage end-users and provide a vital piece of the solution to management/employee engagement needs.