Employee Engagement

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What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement describes individuals who are socially, physically and mentally immersed in their work and who report higher levels of job satisfactionOpens in new window, organizational commitmentOpens in new window, and even organizational citizenship behaviorOpens in new window.

Employee engagement, therefore, refers to the level of enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment employees feel towards their work and their place of employment.

The Engage for SuccessOpens in new window website (2010) defines employee engagement as a workplace approach resulting in the right condition for all members of an organization to give off their best each day, committed to their organization’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organizational success, with an enhanced sense of their own wellbeing.

An engaged employee is defined as one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about his or her work and so takes positive action to further the organization’s reputation and interests. Engaged employees are more likely to be productive, innovative, and committed to the success of the company. They are also more likely to go above and beyond their basic job responsibilities.

Benefits of Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a crucial aspect of organizational success, as it has been linked to a wide range of positive outcomes, including:

  1. Increased productivity: Engaged employees are more likely to be productive and efficient in their work.
  2. Improved quality: Engaged employees are more likely to take pride in their work and produce high-quality results.
  3. Reduced absenteeism and turnover: Engaged employees are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and less likely to leave the organization.
  4. Enhanced innovation: Engaged employees are more likely to be creative and come up with new ideas.
  5. Improved customer service: Engaged employees are more likely to be motivated to provide excellent customer service.
  6. Stronger organizational culture: Engaged employees are more likely to be committed to the organization's goals and values, which can help to create a strong and positive organizational culture.

Employee engagement relates to the holistic expression of a person’s preferred self in a work role. It consists in dedicating ones cognitive, affective and physical energy to work. Money is not the only reason for an employee to be engaged. Kruse (2012) ratified this point, stating that

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. The emotional engagement means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t just work for a pay-check or for the next promotion.

Employee engagement means being positively present during the performance of work by willingly contributing intellectual effort, experiencing positive emotions and meaningful connection to others. Again, this relates to a positive, fulfilling, work related state of mind that is characterized by vigor, dedication and absorption, (CIPD 2010).

  • Vigor is characterized by high levels of energy and mental resilience while working,
  • dedication refers to being strongly involved in ones work and experiencing a sense of significance, enthusiasm, inspiration and pride
  • while absorption is characterized by being fully concentrated and happily engrossed in ones work.

Strategies to Improve Employees Engagement

There are a number of things that organizations can do to improve employee engagement. Some of the most effective strategies include:

  1. Providing opportunities for growth and development: Employees who feel that they are learning and growing are more likely to be engaged in their work.
  2. Recognizing and rewarding employee contributions: Employees who feel that their work is valued are more likely to be engaged.
  3. Creating a positive and supportive work environment: Employees who feel supported by their colleagues and managers are more likely to be engaged.
  4. Giving employees a sense of ownership and responsibility: Employees who feel like they have a say in how their work is done are more likely to be engaged.
  5. Encouraging open communication and feedback: Employees who feel that their voices are heard are more likely to be engaged.

The greater an employee’s engagement, the more likely he or she is to “go the extra mile” and deliver excellent on-the-job performance. In addition, engaged employees may be more likely to commit to staying with their current organization.

Behavior and attitude in the engagement context is characterized by belief in the organization, desire to work, giving respect, being helpful to colleagues and the willingness to go that extra mile.

Purcell (2010) believes that engagement is a combination of attitude and behavior where attitude is the commitment and behavior is going the extra mile.

Employee Engagement vs Employee Involvement>

  • Employee involvement is the strong desire to be part of the value an organization creates. It is an environment in which workers are encouraged to, and can directly impact, the decisions and activities in their work environment.
  • Employee engagement is the result of passive acceptance of company value and objectives whereas involvement is the active pursuit to these objectives.

There is an approach for human capital practices designed to engage and involve employees. Bridger 2015 cites an approach that involves three essential elements, as briefly described below.

  1. AutonomyOpens in new window, which involves the desire to direct our own lives;
  2. Mastery, which consists in the urge to get better and better at something that matters; and
  3. Purpose, concerned with earnest yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

Improving employee engagement is an ongoing process that requires a commitment from all levels of the organization. However, the benefits of a highly engaged workforce are well worth the investment.

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  • References
    • Managing Employee Attitudes and Behaviors in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry (Theoretical Development of the Concept of Organization Citizenship Behavior Pg 248-253) By Salih Kusluva
    • Organizational Psychology: A Scientist-Practitioner Approach (Organizational Citizenship Behavior Pg 105) By Steve M. Jex

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