Engagement and Happiness are two different things

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Adani Group is a global integrated infrastructure player with interests in Resources, Logistics, Energy & Agri Business. We recently interviewed Mr. Vikas Joshi (Joint President-Human Resources), Adani Group of Companies to know his views on employee engagement and discuss the best HR practices. All the views expressed here are personal views of Mr.Vikas Joshi

Who is an engaged worker according to you? Are all engaged workers happy? 

Mr. Joshi-  Any person who has got passion for his work is an engaged professional according to me. Every morning when you get up to go for work, if you feel passionate then you are engaged. Happiness on the other hand is a very personal matter. A person can be unhappy due to personal life issues but this should not stop him/her from being engaged at work. Moreover, people can find a lot of reasons to be unhappy but it is still possible for them to be engaged. The way you do your work, speaks a lot about you.

So according to you engagement means commitment to work?

Mr. Joshi: Yes, according to me engagement is a commitment to excel at work. It is a matter of attitude and work ethics. Imagine, if it is the last working day of a worker at an organization, will he/she continue to work till the last hour on that day ? Only an engaged professional can do that because most of the people barely work during their notice period.

What should  HR function focus on?

Mr. Joshi-

  1. The first responsibility of HR is to identify what the company management wants from the HR. You cannot come to play a cricket match with a pre-meditated shot. Have discussions with the leadership on the kind of culture they envision for the organization- people driven, performance driven, target driven or a balance of all of them.
  2. The second role of HR is Talent Management which includes attraction, engagement and retention.
  3. Build a positive culture- The workplace culture really matters a lot for people and sometimes it acts as one of the biggest retention tools. If people love the people they work with then they like spending more time at workplace. Culture is created by finding a balance between the organizational mandate and what people do individually.

Once the basic needs of the people have been satisfied, what do professionals look for?

Mr. Joshi- Follow the 3 R approach and most of the workplace problems will automatically get sorted.

  1. Recognize human dignity
  2. Reward the desired behavior
  3. Remunerate as per the market standards

What are employees looking for?

Mr. Joshi- According to me, professionals are looking for:

  1. Growth Opportunity- Create a career path for your people. Career path depends upon the growth potential of the organization. Only a growing company can provide a well-defined career path to its people. If people do not know where they are going and how are they growing in an organization, they do not like to work there.
  2. Meritocracy- Reward the right behavior and promote the best practices within the organization
  3. Transparency- Be fair and honest with your people with regards to business goals, targets, policies, appraisals and performance. If people do not know why they are being appreciated or rebuked then it breeds resentment in their minds.

What are the special things your organization does for people engagement?

Mr. Joshi- We measure the engagement of our workforce after every two years:

  1. Adani group is a growing enterprise and the best thing we can do for our people is to provide them growth opportunities. When people know they can grow within an organization, they do not look out and give their best.
  2. Our culture is informal and there is no bureaucracy at work. Decision making is quick and efficient. Ideas are judged on the basis of merit and we prefer speed over 100% perfection. If a business idea seems 90% right, we give it a shot.
  3. Despite being a huge organization we have sustained the entrepreneurial spirit. Management is all about de-risking while entrepreneurship is all about responsible risk taking. At Adani, we really value our entrepreneurial spirit.

What are your views on effective learning and development programs?

Mr. Joshi- I believe that classroom type training programs do not produce the desired impact and has its own limitations.

  • On the job training, works the best
  • Bosses coaching can make a huge difference

Having said that, we do send people for management development programs at various institutes in India and abroad.

Should an organization active chase the goal of total employee engagement?

Mr. Joshi- It is very difficult to establish a direct co-relation between engagement and profitability. However, total engagement is always a desirable goal to strive for. We at Adani group measure the engagement quotient of our people after every two years, with the help of surveys.

  1. My advice to the company’s HR is not to chase engagement as a mechanical exercise. Make sure you believe in what you are trying to do for your people and company
  2. Discover, design and develop the best HR practices that could be implemented in your organization to enhance engagement

Even if there is no cause and effect relationship between engagement and profitability, we must strive to create good causes. If a company treats its people well, they become more loyal to the organization

Your 3 advises to the young generation of professionals to make a successful career?

Mr. Joshi- I think anyone who is looking for a good career must:

  1. Get clarity on what you want- The most important thing is to get clarity on what you want personally and professionally. If you do not know what you want, then nobody can do anything for you.
  2. Do not play a victim- Understand what you can change and accept what you cannot change
  3. Give your best- If get stuck in wrong professional stint, keep giving your best. It is my observation that bosses identify good people. Moreover, even if somebody in your current organization does not value you, you work ethics will surely fetch you better opportunities outside. Make a commitment to yourself to give your best.
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