They Like You, They Like You Not!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen it comes to hiring talent, organizations tend to look for employees who are dynamic, impressive and will contribute positively to the future of the company. However, as leaders of these organizations, how do you know if these dynamic individuals will be choosing you when they graduate from college?  Are you their first choice? Do students aspire to work for you? Do they like you…or not?

To help you answer these questions, Engage Consulting is in the process of conducting, the Most Preferred Employer Study 2013. This study is specially designed to help organizations understand the employment preferences of graduating students across Pakistan. What do these students want when it comes to finding a job? Who is their most preferred employer, most preferred industry? What benefits are they most interested or attracted to? The aim of the MPE is to focus on student’s first choice preferences, to collect data from Business, IT and Engineering students from the leading universities of the country and to help organizations understand what it takes to be the employer of choice in the talent market.

Working alongside Pakistan’s top universities, while partnering with graduating students to help collect survey responses, Engage Consulting will be helping students by giving them a voice and aiding  future employers understand the deciding factors behind what attracts fresh graduates to their desired organizations. Universities also benefit by partnering with Engage Consulting, as they have an opportunity to improve on their career development services and be recognized as a progressive university in the job market, by supporting our research.

In today’s highly competitive global economy, attracting and retaining talent is the key to success. There is a substantial and rapidly expanding body of evidence that speaks to the strong connection between employee perceptions (the people), organizational functioning (the processes) and the economic results achieved (the performance). Organizations that adopt ‘people centered’ practices can see immediate effects that can be translated into a markedly improved competitive advantage.

What factors do you think make your organization a desired work environment for graduating students? To find out what Engage Consulting uncovers about the leading characteristics that drive students to choose an employer of choice, stay tuned to read the highlights report from our findings.

Written by: Anusha Bawany
This author is the Marketing Coordinator at Engage Consulting

The Engagement Flywheel

Last Friday, Engage Consulting recognized the winners of the Best Place to Work Awards during an intimate lunch at a local restaurant. Winners DHL and Runners up P&G and ICI were all in attendance to receive their awards. When getting leaders together from three companies that are recognized for their ability to create a great place to work, it doesn’t take long for the conversation to turn to their work experiences in engaging people.

While sharing their success stories we learned that all three companies had one thing in common: engaging their people has been the most important factor in the recent success of their businesses.

Asif Malik, VP Life Sciences and HR from ICI, shared that when he was appointed as VP for Life Sciences he had no experience in the Pharma and animal healthcare trading business. He found himself part of a team that was not clear about the future, not connected with each other and had little confidence in their abilities. In his words: “I only focused on getting the team connected, use the expertise in the team to co-create a future strategy together and gave people the freedom to deliver on the commitments that they had made themselves. The results were astonishing as the company has doubled its size over the last few years.

Ahson Nasim, Head of HR at DHL, shared a similar experience. In 2008 when the new CEO of DHL Pakistan, Safaraz Siddiqui, was appointed, he made a commitment to all employees in the company: “if you look after the customer I will look after you”. This was not a hollow statement, as at the end of 2008 DHL Express globally was severely hit by the economic crisis. As a result of the crisis, DHL imposed a freeze, on any salary increase worldwide. However, Safaraz took initiative to fight to get his team in Pakistan the salary increase they deserved. His team had made a significant turnaround and delivered never-before-seen-results’. The salary increase was implemented and as they say, the rest is history. And the result are there for all to see, by 2011 DHL Pakistan rose from rank #207 (out of 220 territories where DHL is present) to #1 in employee engagement.

The biggest question we had to ask was, what comes first? Engaging employees that then drive business results or business results that drive employee engagement? Najia Amin, Head of HR of P&G, was very clear as she says it all starts with your people. Engaged employees drive improved business results, which in return enhance the motivating levels of your employees creating a flywheel that will feed on each other.

The one thing that I have learned from these Best Places to Work organizations is that every leader can create an Engagement Flywheel. It is a combination of an unwavering belief that your business results are all about your people, and translating that belief by consistently and credibly implementing a million small actions that help create a sense of belonging to the company, aligns team members behind the company’s direction and gives employees an opportunity to develop and grow. Business results will follow and when they do and you continue your people agenda and see that your engagement levels will keep on improving.

And who knows… maybe one day your company will be the Best Place to Work!

– Paul Keijzer

Workplace Infidelity

The results of our Pakistan Talent Barometer study are out and some of the findings are striking. More than ever, employees are looking for opportunities outside their own workplace. In 2011 around 52% of all employees were actively looking for other opportunities and this year that percentage has risen to 63%. Look around your office, only 4 out of 10 employees are happy where they are and want to remain your colleague. The other 6 are running for the door…

Loyalty to ones organization has disappeared. The average number of years of service in the US in the 80’s was 23 years, but as of a couple of years ago this has gone down to an average of 2 – 3 years. What’s interesting is that when the researches asked employees why they are leaving, they replied that the company doesn’t invest in them. In return when researchers then asked the companies why they don’t invest in their employees, management stated that employees are leaving so quickly that it is not worth their money. (A classic chicken and egg situation.)

So with loyalty to employers out the window, the most important thing as a leader is to focus on getting the best out of your employee whilst he or she is with you, along with letting them know their value to the organization.

The Talent Barometer findings indicate that the two main reasons people stay with organization are (1) the good name and reputation of the company and (2) that it offers challenging and interesting work. Furthermore we know that company leaders and line managers that are able to create a trustful relationship with their employees and recognize them for their contribution, are more likely to create an environment where people want to go the extra mile and are willing to stay with the organization. In fact, employees with the highest levels of commitment perform 20% better and are 87% less likely to leave the organization, which indicates that engagement is linked to organizational performance.

How do you get the best out of your team? Are your employees being faithful, or are they looking for the next best thing.

– Paul Keijzer

2012 Best Place to Work Highlights

Over the past three years, Engage Consulting has gained a tremendous amount of insight into what makes a company the ‘best place to work’ in Pakistan, and together with research done across the world we know that organizations whose employees are strongly engaged with the organization grow faster, earn more and have higher returns than their counterparts with low engagement levels.

From our 2012 research on Pakistan’s Best Places to Work we know that the best scoring companies have 50% more engaged employees than the bottom ranking companies. The return on investment on engaging employees is for all to see, where in top companies, 83% of employees feel their organization energizes them to go the extra mile, while only 42% of employees in bottom ranking companies feel the same way.

Pakistan’s Best Places to Work are aware that getting people to perform and stay with the organization requires that employees need to feel a sense of pride and belonging with the organization, ensure that all employees are aligned with and are empowered to deliver the organization’s objectives and are given opportunities to grow within the company.

The good news is that as leaders you don’t have to wait for an organization wide engagement drive. One of the highest impact levers in engaging employees is to genuinely care for your team members. 88% of employees in Top ranking companies believe that their leaders care deeply for their employees. As a result, employees are proud to be associated with the company as well as the people they work with. On the other hand, only 44% of employees in the bottom ranking companies have a sense of belonging, respect and pride in their leaders and company.

Direct performance enablers are responsible for 57% in performance improvements, where nearly 9 out of 10 employees in top ranking companies believe that they are strategically aligned with company objectives. They know what the company’s strategic drivers are and are stimulated by their work environment.

Supporting research shows that money is the number one reason (53%) for people to leave and to find ‘better opportunities ‘ whilst ‘challenging and interesting work’ is by far the leading reason why people choose to stay with their company.

Similarly we have found that 60% of employees who are considering leaving their company, do so because of limited career / growth opportunities or have no clarity on their career opportunities in their company. The survey results show that employees always score lowest on growth opportunities. Pakistan’s Best Places to Work out score their lower ranked counterpart with 8 out of 10 employees who believe that top ranking companies have sufficient growth opportunities, rewards and recognition measures (compared to only 5 out of 10 employees in bottom ranking companies).

The insights from our Best Place to Work research shows that investing in engaging your workforce effectively and consistently generates most likely the best return you can get to improve your business results.

– Paul Keijzer

Please visit our website to read the full 2012 Best Place to Work Highlights Report