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Guest AuthorJayanth Narayan

Is Employee Engagement in Indian workplaces pathetic?

By Jayanth Narayan

Over the last several years of interacting with several individuals working at various corporates in India, I have often felt that almost all employees were highly disengaged. They were simply checking in and checking out everyday, doing what was required to not get into trouble and collecting their paychecks at the end of the month. Once in a while they would stretch their hand a little bit and do something that gives them a promotion/a big bonus and/or some significant recognition.

Today, I saw an article in the Corporate Dossier (supplement of the Economic Times), where Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup has given an interview. Jim minces no words in saying that the Indian workplace is so low on energy, that if it were a stock, he would short it.

While I clearly don’t like the situation we are in, I would whole-heartedly agree with Jim on his observation about Indian work-places. It’s not that every company in other parts of the world has a highly engaged workplace – but this argument cannot be the reason why companies and their leaders don’t push the envelope around employee engagement. Frankly if something important needs to be fixed, it doesn’t matter if other fix it or not.

Is there a really simple way to find out if employees who work for you are really engaged? Ask yourself if the employees who work for you would relate, respond and interact with you in the same manner if your title was suddenly taken away and you were just an individual. If the answer is “No”, then your people are clearly in the check-in/check-out mode and will only do what is necessary to keep them out of trouble. On the other hand, if the answer is “Yes” or “To some extent” or even “Maybe a few of them would”, then you are on the right track as a manager & leader. Individuals may work for a company, but for them a large part of the company is their manager, whose every action will impact them positively or negatively.

Corporate India – It’s time to make our workplaces a better place for individuals to spend a large part of their time in.

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Jayanth 2I head Rideau Recognition Solutions’ Asia-Pacific division, Rideau India. Rideau is the leader in online recognition solutions to keep employees engaged and productive. I have been involved in the Business Process & IT outsourcing industry for the last 12 years and hold an MBA in HR from XLRI, Jamshedpur and a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from BITS, Pilani. I have an extremely strong interest and passion for the art and science of Employee Recognition and will be taking great pleasure in sharing and exchanging information on how recognition and relationships can impact the workplace, particularly in India and the surrounding regions.

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