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Employee Engagement: The Key Role of Strategic Human Resource Advisors

Employee engagement is crucial to the success and productivity of any organization. Particularly in more difficult periods, engagement can be one of the most influential factors differentiating a thriving organization from an organization in survival mode. Beyond job satisfaction, employee engagement also covers employees’ willingness to perform their duties and to help the organization fulfil its objectives and strategies. It also means that employees see themselves as a key component of the organization’s success, not just another cog in the wheel. Engaged employees aim for excellence and take great pride in both their work and their belonging to the organization.

Philippe Longpré et Stéphanie MélançonTo learn more about the best practices to foster employee engagement, we sat down with psychologist and certified coach Manuela Pires Martins. After guiding senior management teams through organizational development and coaching initiatives, helping them adopt motivational approaches for their staff (among other goals), she knows exactly what we’re talking about here! She took the time to share with us her knowledge, her experience and some of her strategies and tactics for maximizing engagement. Above all, she explained the key role played by strategic human resource advisors in attaining the level of engagement that our organizations aim for.

Sylvie Auger (SA): In your opinion, what are the key factors in engagement?

Manuela Pires (MP): Many studies have helped identify the key factors in engagement. Among the most common and the most powerful are:

To be successful, it is important to establish an integrated HR strategy focused on engagement right from the hiring process. This can be done by assessing and linking applicants’ needs and those of the organization; welcoming and integrating new hires; implementing a performance management program; establishing a career management program that offers opportunities for development and support through coaching, mentoring and formal and informal learning; planning ahead for the next generation; and instituting a program of recognition and healthy management practices as part of the organization’s everyday life.

SA: What would you say that human resource advisors bring to an organization?

MP: At every step in this process of developing employee engagement and motivation, HRAs can act as key strategic partners, whether from inside or outside the organization, by supporting senior management, helping set up programs and initiatives to increase the feeling of belonging and to acknowledge contributions, and providing proactive, one-off advice and recommendations for managers.

SA: What are the major themes that a human resource advisor should address with executives and managers?

MP: At the executive level, the identification of a clear mission statement and vision, supported by organizational values, is essential in order to positively influence the staff regarding the main orientations and the reasons underlying corporate positions. Next, it is vital for managers to implement behaviours in practice, acknowledging collective contributions and showing that they recognize and have confidence in their staff. To achieve this, a human resource advisor will need to initiate, guide and orient the actions of executives and managers, promoting the value of these relationships and two-way interactions. The goal is to institute dynamic communications mechanisms to maintain these trust-based relationships between all of the organization’s members.

Sylvie Auger Over the course of various assignments, EPSI and Manuela Pires Martins have employed different tools for starting discussions and also for helping to select employees and supervisory personnel who are in line with the organization’s values and expected competency profiles. To learn more about the use of assessment tools like the Organizational Values Test (OVT), the Work Approach and Behaviour Test (WABT), and the various skills tests available to evaluate competencies, please contact EPSI’s expert advisors.

Sylvie Auger, BAA, Certified Human Resource Advisor
Assessment and Evaluation Consultant

Manuela Pires Martins, MEd,
Psychologist and Certified Coach