Performance and Engagement – Two Sides of the Same Coin

Identifying the productivity gap

An engagement survey conducted at a large auto-equipment manufacturing company revealed that, contrary to the CEO’s belief, close to 19% of the employees were ‘hamsters’ that is ‘people with high personal satisfaction, but minimal contribution to the business’. Further analysis of this quadrant revealed that almost one-fifth of them were in senior management cadres of the company. Overall study findings concluded that close to 20% of the organization was contributing at sub-optimal levels. The HR challenge was to move this large segment of employees from the ‘hamster’ to the ‘engaged’ or ‘almost engaged’ quadrant. The key to achieving this transition was in understanding the ‘productivity challenge’ facing this talent pool – most of them were not clear about their work objectives and the top areas where they could contribute.

The immediate HR strategy was to conduct a three-day visioning exercise with participation from top executives and senior leaders. The program, conducted at an off-site location, asked the leadership team to envision the organization’s next period milestones and business strategy. Towards the end of the program, each division created a ‘strategic modus operandi’ or a detailed operations strategy that chartered their implementation plan for the next 50 days. Marginally contributing executives subscribed themselves to immediate project task forces to make a quick bottom line impact within their respective business units. Within a span of three months, the organization saw a much more strategically aligned and effective leadership at its senior levels. Furthermore, average workforce engagement and productivity moved to the ‘almost engaged’ quadrant, creating daily dividends in employee productivity and project performance.