Silence – An evil that lurks in the shadows!

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Silence … with a wee-bit of eerie music is often the precursor to the hideous sight of a blood-drenched zombie or an evil ghost lurking in the corner of the movie screen. For scaredy-cats like me, this is often a trigger to shut my eyes and ears because most of the time, whatever comes next, will be giving me sleepless nights. While some would relate ‘silence’ to feelings associated with peace, calm and serenity, one can also argue that they could further be associated to emotions such as fear, loneliness and disassociation.

In a modern-day work environment, there would always be that one traditionalist who brings up the topic of ‘Silence at Workplace’ being one of the reasons that affect productivity. While silence at work is believed to help generate ideas, increase productivity and improve restraint, it does come with its own baggage. Silence can never come at the cost of effective communication and engagement. It could easily seep through an organization sabotaging motivation, enthusiasm and camaraderie allowing small set-backs snowball to bigger problems.

Many organizations mistake having an open bay policy to that of a vibrant work floor that could possibly defeat a silent office. A healthy work floor is one that encourages productive conversations and promotes challenges among teammates. Being informed of decisions and outcomes will mean that employees would seldom feel left out. Organizations that work towards creating inclusiveness work hard towards providing context to communications made, and focus largely on the impact that org-level occurrences could have on an employee. As the popular saying, hearing from the horses’ mouth, be it through a floor announcement or an official meeting or an annual event, adds a certain degree of inclusiveness to an employee.

If you are in the HR department, and have been agreeing to whatever you’ve read so far, I’m certain that you would also agree that while you could institutionalize steps to increase employee communication and engagement in the office premises that you are physically present in, ensuring the same levels of engagement in a centre where you do not have an HR representation, could be a challenge.

Offices of multinational companies that are present in the long-tail regions are usually characterized with very low employee count are often not staffed with HR personnel. And then there are your remote employees, who do not usually get a regular spot at the lunch table to have a chat about the happenings at their workplace. Failure to have an HR SPOC who could actively monitor employee pulse and who could constantly defeat the deafening silence – could become a challenge in itself! So how do organizations face this scary monster – you may ask. Here are a few concoctions that they could brew within their HR laboratory.

  • Have the right tools – Technology, in all aspects, play an important role in bringing the world together, and an employee, is no different. Distance and connectivity are no longer barriers that render HR engagement impossible but are instead bridged by applications that initiate automated workflows, alerts and notifications across HR modules. As you may agree, such solution implementations could span across other organizational functions/departments as well. Here is the list of foundational HR processes one might look at addressing when having to address their Long-tail employees’ HR tech requirements. Implementing such solutions would lessen employees from having to do the dreaded email follow-ups and focus on other engaging activities.
  • Act on feedback – Nothing disappoints an employee more than his/her voice not being heard. Organizations take pride in collecting feedback, but most fail to take action on them. Feedback received make true meaning, when the actionable items are defined and resolved. NeeyamoWorks offers its proprietary survey solution integrated to the NeeyamoWorks ServiceDesk that allows action items to be defined and tracked, all the while, keeping stakeholders informed of its progress.
  • Recognizing, where it matters – Having a good recognition program, not just in terms of providing monetary benefits, but also that which acknowledges an employee’s contribution is key. Recognition ranks among one of the Top 4 influencers that drive employee engagement according to a survey conducted by Effectory. Creating digital forums where employees can appreciate one another is a way of encouraging public recognition and appreciation.
  • Keep them posted – HR departments are perfectly placed at a position to liaise with departments and structure out communiques about org-wide happenings. An accomplishment by one team could always act as motivation to the other and creating a culture where employees from certain regions do not feel ‘kept in the dark’ will nurture inclusiveness in the organization
  • Training and upskilling – Providing the right learning platforms would reflect on an organization’s intent to invest in an employee and its collective future. Virtual training and assessment programs act as validation to ascertain an employee’s growth not just in his/her career, but also as a window for providing new opportunities to expand horizons, increasing an employee’s self-worth within the organization.

These are few steps that an organization could take to defy silence at their workplace and increase better engagement, especially among long-tail employees.

To learn more about Long-tail HR Operation, click here to access a white-paper titled “Long-Tail HR Operation – Key Challenges and how to overcome them”.

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