Charles Swindoll once said that life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of what you make of it. And there’s no better phrase that does justice to the market uncertainties encountered in the project management space. While it may not seem so on the surface, project management is a field that’s repeatedly subjected to change, which in turn decides the fate of workforce relevance. After all, as opportunities evolve in line with advancements in product and service innovation, today’s competencies risk getting the boot unless relevant reskilling measures are taken in advance. And engaging the best minds is the first of several steps to a work-ready workforce.
Employee engagement recognizes and rewards stellar performances, thus leading to a organizational asset, i.e. robust workforce efficiency. The right engagement strategies encourage and motivate the entire resource pool to go the extra mile without suffering a burnout in the process. What’s more, it ensures current commitments stay the course while revitalizing abandoned or halted projects with the much-needed momentum.
Employee engagement falls predominantly under human resource recruitment and talent acquisition activities. But the recent growth spurt towards high-maturity has seen small and large businesses alike participating more actively in setting the tone of the company’s work culture. After all, attracting and hiring the right minds is the halfway point in the race,with the finish line being your ability to retain them for the long haul. Let’s get right to the employee engagement measures that will win your teams over and enable them to self-test their longevity and strategic fit with your firm –
- Enterprise-wide visibility to sync projects, people and processes
The first and foremost step in planning employee engagement is to have unconditional visibility into previous, inflight and upcoming work. A resource management tool that syncs work schedules to the project calendar generates instant insights on how your workforce fares across business-wide activities. Once you aggregate milestones reached against the project’s live status, you’ll have an overview of the diverse skills that contributed to the overall work as well as as those available hours that matched the effort bandwidth invested.
This step lets you check ongoing and future commitments prior to planning and implementing employee engagement activities that require concerned project teams. You can consequently reward high-performing staff while giving project teams something to look forward to post service delivery. It also lets you gauge the portion of unutilized time between one project ending and another beginning so that no single resource is left out of future team-building initiatives.
- Clarify business goals to manage expectations and timelines
Quantum workforce’s findings on the high cost of employee turnover suggested that nearly 59% of employees felt that their individual strengths weren’t sufficiently utilized. Before deciding how to go about engaging your employees, it’s important to set out business goals that apply specifically to your enterprise. Only then can relevant and existing competencies be utilized on projects that align strategically with these objectives.
This move prevents you from assigning your staff irrelevant and extra workloads filled with information outside of their immediate understanding, while ensuring timelines within constrained projects are adhered to. Considering the risk of overworked employees disengaging from the company’s activities, giving your staff the platform and/or forum to document their professional interests lets you collate and deploy the right resource profiles against suitable project areas. It lets you position your workforce scientifically with role and experience-based assignments, thus keeping your employees optimally challenged.
- 3. Make the time and effort for facetime interactions
With the ever-increasing popularity of working remotely, the number of facetime hours is dwindling away. Granted, remote work reduces the time spent commuting back and forth and lets individual members negotiate flexibility into their working hours. But a balance between facetime and remote work serves to keep your staff engaged, productive and above all, informed of changed governance, project progress, upcoming deadlines and lessons learned, all at once.
Besides bringing everybody on to the same page, an effective meeting is one that captures your team’s sentiments, and offers them the opportunity to air concerns and suggestions for improvement. Considering that facetime interactions can be arranged against actual availability, making the time and effort to facilitate group and personal conversations give you a glimpse of the team dynamics, which in turn lets you gauge which employees work well together or conversely, those ones that risk introducing a productivity lapse to the overall team.
- Recognize and Incentivize Exemplary Work
It’s an unwritten rule that exceptional performance must be recognized and rewarded in a manner befitting the employee’s role and association with the organization. The logical step to do so is to curate a robust capacity plan that comprises of both project and resource profiles.
Besides generating insights concerning the allocation, deployment and eventual utilization of both experience and skills, a capacity report brings up relevant skills that helped task-based milestones reach the mark and utilized the right people from the very beginning.
Pay raises, revised salary structures and elevated roles and responsibilities aside, smaller measures such as a trophy, gift voucher and even a wall of fame gives deserving employees due credit. It serves the dual purpose of ensuring quality of work while motivating remaining team members to emulate a favorable stance, taking inspiration from their peers who were awarded on merit.
- 5. Support Training Investments
Employee stagnation stems from the inability to upskill and retrain with relevant business and technical advancements. After all, skills relevance pivot professional interests. You then risk losing out on true potential even as bench-times and labor costs rise drastically.
The step-wise approach to ensuring you’re investing in the right training schemes is to collect resource data from entrance and exit interviews detailing what an employee feels is in place and what gaps need to be filled. This information can then be aligned against your project team’s primary and secondary knowledge areas. Additionally, outdated and unneeded skills can be weeded out such that the workforce is reshaped for a work-ready economy. This way, a part of the resourcing spend can be released towards job-based and e-learning schemes that let concerned employees obtain BAU-specific recertifications.
As the Business Transformation Consultant at Saviom Software, Aakash Gupta has several publications on workforce planning, resource management and project portfolio management to his credit. To know more, follow him here .