Aug 30, 2005

Work motivation, engagement & loyalty

Santrupt Misra director, corporate human resources, Aditya Birla Group writes an article in the Financial Express, focusing on whether the Indian employees work motivation can be concluded on some data. I agree with him, but he doesn't give some pointers on one crucial point - How can an organization increase employee engagement and create flow?

Some excerpts:

One of the pointers towards the work motivation levels within the organisation is the attrition rate . E.g., despite the war for talent, techie-specialists working for large software services brands appear to be rather loyal to their employers.

However, if people quit one organisation and join another in the same sector, e.g. BPO, then the attrition rates might not be a pointer to the workforce motivation levels within that organisation, as people normally quit because better compensation is always on offer elsewhere in a sector experiencing rapid growth. A random survey in Bangalore by leading HR consulting firm PeopleOne Consulting, found that the attrition rate in the BPO segment here is around 25-30%.

A Hay Group study says 30% of an organisation’s bottomline is locked in the discretionary effort of an employee. Through this effort, productivity levels can go up to 120% in jobs such as sales. And only engaged employees would put in this effort. While relatively low productivity in Indian firms can be cited as evidence of poor motivation, productivity is not a function of motivation alone. Skill levels and extent of automation too directly impact on productivity.

If the motivation level of employees in Indian firms is relatively low, it has also to be understood from a wider social context. People, in general, are exposed to a range of negative experiences, examples and emotions, e.g. natural calamities, man-made disasters, poverty etc. The general climate of gloom also has an adverse impact on people’s psyche. Yet, many Indian firms win coveted awards such as the Deming Prize. Many evidences indicate that Indian firms not only instill a sense of motivation, but also enhance and reinforce it, in spite of adverse challenges.
It is easy to condemn Indian firms on the ground that they have low levels of motivation, but their achievements are appreciated the world over. It is time we all learn to be proud of our own excellence.