Written by: Irfarina Ahmad Nazli & Aris Abdul Rahman
Employee engagement is vital in today’s organisation. If members of a team are engaged and feel appreciated, they are less inclined to look for other employment opportunities. Fostering a culture of employee engagement can be the key to reducing turnover rates and boosting employee retention. If employees feel needed and wanted when they go to work each day, the connections they form with the company and their other coworkers are not easily eroded. By cultivating and maintaining these relationships, you reduce the risk that your employees will quit.
In order to understand what is comprised in employee engagement, an interview was conducted with the Operation Director at Les’ Copaque, a well-known animation company. Onn has been with the company for 4 years and manages 183 employees. He has vast experience in human resource management especially in managing personnel.
MANAGEMENT SKILL IN LES’ COPAQUE
Managing personnel is an essential skill in ensuring coordination through individual efforts. Emphasis should be on action, compared to lengthy plans and work methods. Similarly, communication and rationale personnel policies in managing personnel will direct the organisation and its people towards success.
Questions on managerial practices in Les’ Copaque were posed in the context of the many duties managers hold to different stakeholders of their profession, namely colleagues, subordinates, the organisation, and even themselves. His explanations matter as it allows us to understand and explore current engagement practices in a media organisation. Such disclosure may then lead to an improved framework in managing human capital, especially on how to meet employees’ psychological needs. As we know, content employees are more likely committed to their work.
For an employee, motivation, job satisfaction, appraisals, incentives, training and development are all determinants of personnel performance. This is the ethical view for human’s basic needs in respect to profession.
Being in the creative industry, Les’ Copaque not only focuses on technical skill, but also looks at individuals’ human and conceptual skills whereby ability to work in teams is combined with the ability to solve problems through an understanding of relationships among the elements. It aims to be great and at the same time, aims to help personnel develop their potential to the fullest.
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT PRACTICED IN LES’ COPAQUE
Employee engagement is practiced in Les’ Copaque to ensure employees are satisfied and feel motivated to work. The approach taken by this animation company has resulted in employees giving their best each day, committed to this organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being. Employee engagement in Les’ Copaque is based on trust, integrity and two-way communication between the managerial position and the subordinates.
Orientation in Les’ Copaque lays a foundation for new employees, a vital step in adapting to new work place, environment, and people surrounding them. First impression plays an important role when starting a new career in this animation company. Without it, new employees may feel uncomfortable in their new position and takes a longer time to reach their full potential.
Orientation programmes help employees gain an understanding of what is expected of them. Les’ Copaque has its own set of rules and policies regarding areas such as dress code, attendance and conduct, and the orientation process makes what is, and what is not acceptable, clear. A new employee in this company should also get a sense of the organisational culture during orientation, to have a better understanding of what they need to do to fit in more quickly. They are encouraged to socialize with people from different departments in Les’ Copaque, such as human resource and animation departments to build work relationships. By having orientation for new employees, it will indefinitely enhance employees’ engagement, making them feel like they’re a productive part of the organisation.
Les’ Copaque emphasizes on employee motivation, or employee’s intrinsic enthusiasm in accomplishing activities related to work. All Board of Directors are called uncle and aunty. This somehow makes the de facto of authority less felt, therefore promoting an open-door culture where anyone can approach anyone, like a family would.
Futhermore, due to the nature of animation work, most of Les’ Copaque’s employees are glued to computer screens and long periods of sitting position every day. To release stress, the management frequently organises events with all departments. Recently, a futsal tournament was held, and prizes were given to outstanding teams. Besides sports, occasions such as ‘Family Day’ and Hari Raya celebrations are conducted yearly to familiarize employees with one another, or one’s family. These events are open to all family members of the employee.
Flexible working hours too is one way to motivate personnel. Though employees at Les’ Copaque are required to complete 8 hours of work daily, working time arrangements depend on the individual itself. He/she can come to work at any time before 10 a.m. This helps them maintain a work/life balance and shoulder family responsibilities better.
Performance review or appraisal means employees are evaluated on a yearly basis in terms of their achievement and opportunities for career development. It is a documented evaluation, where strengths and weaknesses of an employee is addressed.
At Les’ Copaque, the Board of Directors measure personnel performance using Key Performance Indicator (KPI). Their KPI is based on punctuality, attitude towards work and members of the organisation, and their contribution to the department. While overtime is not an encouraged business practice in Les’ Copaque, any employee that performs will receive a bonus.
The Internet era has revolutionized the hiring process at Les’ Copaque. Based on the information of the interview, everything is done online. Les’ Copaque posts job vacancies through its Facebook pages; Les’ Copaque Production Sdn. Bhd. and Les’ Copaque Animation Academy, and through its YouTube channel; Les’ Copaque Production. Alternatively, an outsource company such as www.jobcari.com will also be used as a medium to advertise their job vacancy. Part of the skill required is for the candidates to have experience using Maya Autodesk, an animation software widely used in Les’ Copaque’s animation company.
As for voice over talents, individuals are recruited through Instagram. People who are interested to apply as a voice over artist need to display their creativity and talent through the social media site. From there, the Board of Directors at Les’ Copaque will sit together to evaluate and select potential applicants. Once the shortlisted list is ready, then only will the company call these applicants for an interview. This method saves the animation company a lot of money, time, and manpower needed in dealing with the hiring process.
It is good business practice to create a workplace that encourages all employees to express ideas and efficient ways of doing things. Effectively managing this process will prevent future damaging conflicts between employees. According to the interviewee, if there are complaints regarding their work load, personnel members will need to refer to an immediate chain of command, such as a supervisor, or according to the order of authority of the company. If the immediate supervisor could not solve this dispute, then only will the case be escalated to someone of a higher managerial position. This chain of command promotes the idea of respect and trust towards their supervisor.