Thoughts about engagement at work
I would like to share my thoughts about the topic „engagement at work“, that was discussed in todays class. We defined engagement, pointed out the positive effects engagement has and how a leader can build engagement at work. I will focus my thoughts on the negative points engagement can have from a company and employee point of view and I will also share my point of view about the attention this topic receives.
From the definition provided by Christian, Garza and Slaugther, 2011 that says engagement at work can be described as a “psychological connection with the performance of word tasks rather than an attitude toward features of the organization or the job”, one can observe that engagement is something that goes beyond pure job or task satisfaction. It goes deeper and leads to better performance, more innovation and very committed people. An outcome every company and every employee wants to have. That said, I would like to bring up my first point. I think pushing this topic and creating awareness to a broader audience leaves to very unrealistic expectations for employees. Of course, engagement has its positive sides for both parties and nowadays work life balance and job satisfaction is important, but I seriously doubt that there are enough meaningful and exciting jobs to expect every single worker to be engaged. It might be even profitable to lower expectations of people on how engaged they can be at work, so employees can be surprised and even more satisfied when their expectations are exceeded and they might be not disappointed if engagement is low, because their expectations were not that high.
Another thing I would like to mention is, that engagement at work should never be seen as the final outcome and it should not be misunderstood by employees. One should always remind itself of the goal of a company, namely, making money. Of course, work engagement makes employees feel happier, more satisfied and very committed. It also increases productivity for the company and hence the employees can contribute to the success of the company. Still, work engagement is the mean that helps an organization to be more successful. Employees should never misinterpret it, the firm is not interest in a persons well being like your family is, it is only a mean to achieve a goal. Also from a companies perspective, it should not loose control of this process and it should not forget what the final goal is. I do not say that this relationship is a bad one, I would only like to shed some light on it, as I think that people often forget what the goal is, from both sides.
My last point on this topic is simply that a company should not overemphasize work engagement. The positive effects it brings, are only there up to a certain point. Over engagement can lead to very happy employees that do not feel the need and urgency to work. Hence processes might be slowed down and the drive for new innovation might be missing. All in all, I think one should have a balance between too much of engagement and none to create a productive working climate.
Is the Taj approach to HR a good one?
In the following blog entry I would like to share my thoughts and doubts about the Taj approach to HR and the class discussion we had about it.
After attending the class about organizational culture and observing the mostly positive reaction to the Taj HR approach, I would like to share some criticism. With no doubt one can find a lot of positive things about the hotels approach to HR. It is very customer centric, the hotel chain helps kids from urban regions to find a proper job and also gives them a chance for a career at the Taj group. Nevertheless, I think that one should not be too positive about the whole approach. Firstly, recruiting people from urban areas, arguing that these people still have values sounds nice, but it is also a fact that you can reduce labor costs when recruiting in this area. The biggest cost factor of almost every company is labor, so I doubt that it is only about the values the Taj group is looking for. One can also put organizational values on people with higher education, otherwise a lot of companies would struggle to survive. The best examples for successful sharing and incorporating company values at their employees is probably Apple and Google. Secondly, the Taj recruiters are looking for people with a special character trait, neediness. While recruiting young people where their family badly needs the money from the job sounds honorable, in my eyes it is the opposite. In my opinion, the hotel then owns the young people, which is not an honorable thing at all. Although it is not written on paper, it is clear that these young people will do everything for the hotel, hence the hotel can also ask for everything they want. The hotel does not engage in charity, it buys the people in order to own them and to literally do whatever it wants to do with them. I do not say that the hotel is actually using its powerful position, but I would like to point out that it could. Especially when talking about values and morale, that is a part where the hotel chain lacks these kind of things. Lastly, I would like to share some serious doubts about the hotels customer centric point of view. I totally understand that especially for a hotel it is very important to be customer centric and to train and educate your staff so that it behaves in the right way. But how far should it go? In the article about the Taj heroes the author mentioned, that the staff would do almost everything for their customers and regarding the terrorist attacks the staff protected the customers and even got shoot to protect their customers. So is it now justified that a business managers life is more important than the life of a staff member? Is it ok to pay a lot of money for a hotel to be protect like this by other human beings that are not soldiers or police officers? For me that all went too far. Of course the staff should have helped their customers to get out, but they should have had the same rights and possibilities to leave the hotel than every guest. In this extreme situation we are not talking anymore about a staff-customer relationship, in such a situation every person is equally important. So it upsets me that the hotel has come up with an organizational culture that treats people so much different and that results in heroes, of course, but dead heroes.
Although I like a lot about the Taj approach to HR and about their organizational culture, I was a bit disappointed after class, because almost no negative point was mentioned. Therefore, I wanted to share some doubts and negative points on this topic.