Enhancing Employee Engagement and Driving Organizational Change Through Agile
The Twin Imperatives of Employee Engagement and Organizational Change
It is no secret that engaged employees are the biggest asset that any firm can have. Indeed, when employees feel energized, motivated, and inspired to give their best, the organizational outcomes are positive.
On the other hand, demoralized and demotivated employees often lower individual productivity and by extension, make organizational productivity atrophied.
This is the reason why organizational behavioral and change management experts point to the need to actualize an engaged workforce as part of the change initiatives undertaken by the leadership.
Apart from this, there is another reason why employee engagement and change initiatives are needed.
This is the imperative of operating in a hyper speed and uber connected world where fast changing external market and internal dynamic forces necessitate organizations to be flexible and adaptable to the same.
As organizational theory states, internal organizational dynamics have to be in sync with the needs of the external imperatives for organizations to outpace their competitors and remain ahead of the curve.
Indeed, in the present Digital Age, it is more than important for organizations to restructure their organizations to make them competitive in the face of breakneck technological change and accelerated market trends.
Embracing Agile Methodologies for Change and Employee Engagement
Thus, the imperatives of actualizing an engaged workforce and driving organizational change are intertwined and a way ahead would be for organizations to embrace Agile Methodologies of working.
Agile is more than a methodology and a framework and some experts opine that it represents an entirely new approach to how organizations need to function in the Digital Age.
When organizations embrace Agile, they are doing so by creating self sustaining and compact and self sufficient teams that are capable of accomplishing the entire end to end value chain of work that is needed.
In other words, Agile methodologies prescribe how organizations no longer operate in silos and instead, each team is equipped to fulfill all the end to end value chain tasks starting with development, testing, release, implementation, and support of the work units.
In this way, Agile lets organizations beat the time lags that are inherent to organizations which have different teams for each of these activities and instead, with each team being a Master Of All Activities, they can reach customers faster as well as take feedback and act on it and roll out the solutions to problems pointed and reported by the customers.
The Need to Overcome Lethargy, Stop Atrophy, and Rise Above Inertia
As organizational behavioral and change management theories state, organizations become lethargic and are afflicted by inertia after a few decades or even years in existence as they become bureaucratic and sclerotic with time.
What better way to shake up and disrupt the Status Quo other than to embrace newer methods of working that are in tune with the demands and needs of the time.
As the Digital Age is all about disruption, Agile represents one such methodology that would rejuvenate and reinvigorate moribund and atrophied organizations.
Moreover, it gives employees a greater say or autonomy in decision making which has positive correlations with employee engagement.
Thus, Agile can be said to Hit Two Birds with One Stone wherein both change and employee engagement is actualized by embracing the same.
Already many leading eCommerce firms such as Amazon and leading entertainment firms such as Netflix have embraced Agile and they report that their organizational outcomes have been greatly enhanced by the same.
Moreover, Agile is also game changing since it follows the New Thinking in terms of flattening organizational structures and removing the artificial barriers that keep them from responding and acting in real time to the external imperatives and trends.
Change is Inevitable, So is Resistance, and Walking the Talk
Having said that, organizations face real obstacles when they move towards an Agile method of working. As resistance to change is natural and inevitable, it is the case that Agile should not be yet another term and instead, business leaders must Walk the Talk and ensure that it does not remain a fancy term and jargon laden alone.
As recent research suggests, while Digital Transformation remains good on paper, most organizations fail to implement it in the real world.
Indeed, the challenge of creating teams that have all kinds of experts instead of having a team for each function means that organizations have to move beyond the normal of silos based thinking.
Moreover, autonomy means that entrenched interest and power centers with their own agendas might stymie the movement towards Agile.
In addition, embracing Agile also upsets the cozy arrangements between the existing functional teams as well as disrupts the lines of communication which were hitherto linear and hierarchical.
Another very important point of resistance would be from the senior managers and leaders themselves who now have to cede their decision making powers to the teams since the latter have to be empowered to take quick decisions and implement them as the external dynamics change.
Agile is Change
As can be seen from the discussion so far, embracing Agile is no longer a necessity but an imperative and the added benefit of employee engagement means that organizations would be better off taking to the same.
Though there would be resistance to change, it is the duty of business leaders to think of the organizational interests and likewise for the employees who now have to adapt to newer ways of working.
Lastly, Agile is no longer a fad that fades away but is here to stay. To conclude, to succeed in the Digital Age, organizations do have to change and Agile is one such approach.
- Employee Engagement Surveys
- Maslows Need Hierarchy
- Zinger Model of Employee Engagement
- Hewitt Employee Engagement Measure
- Hygiene and Motivation Factors
Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)
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