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Employee engagement has become one of the most important concepts in modern HR management because it is closely related to individual and organizational performance. First, it reflects the degree of employees’ satisfaction with their work and their willingness to help the management.
Secondly, employee engagement is a significant factor that affects turnover rate in a company and influences its financial performance and customer relations. Furthermore, this concept has far-reaching implications for business administrators because the degree of employees’ engagement impacts their motivation, attention to workplace duties, and their willingness to support the initiatives of a manager.
This is why this concept has attracted attention of researchers, managers, and corporate executives. The paper will provide a definition of employee engagement. More importantly, it will examine empirical evidence that illustrates implications of employee engagement for workers, managers, and organizations. Finally, it will show how management should act in order to increase employee engagement.
Definition of employee engagement
It is possible to provide varying explanations of employee engagement. For example, Simon Albrecht (2010, 351) defines it as the degree of employees’ motivation and their willingness to contribute to the success of the organization.
Therefore, one can argue that employee engagement is an indicator that reflects people’s attitude toward their job, professional growth, and the organizations in which they work. Yet, such researchers as Sange and Srivasatava believe that it can be interpreted as “a positive attitude held by the employee toward the organization and its values” (2012, 38).
Other researchers such as Solomon Markos and Sandhya Sridevi (2010, 90) also believe that this concept can be identified as involvement and enthusiasm for work. Overall, the second definition suggests that this term has positive connotations.
Thus, the existing interpretations of this notion can be grouped in two categories: 1) the definitions that describe engagement as an indicator or a measurement of a person’s attitude and 2) the definitions that view engagement as a positive mindset.
Nevertheless, in both cases, scholars attach importance to such elements as employee’s attitude toward the job, their company, or its organizational goals. Moreover, one can speak about such components of engagement as enthusiasm, loyalty to the company, job satisfaction, and willingness to take extra effort in order to help the company succeed.
Overall, the study of this concept goes in two directions. First, the researchers attempt to determine how employee engagement impacts the performance of individuals and companies (Sange and Srivasatava, 2012).
Yet, much attention is also paid to those factors that determine the extent of employee engagement, for instance, organizational culture, compensation, or empowerment (Anand and Banu, 2011). This paper will explain why engagement is important for organizational and individual performance. Yet, it will also discuss the strategies of improving employee engagement.
Critical literature review
The researchers, who examine the implications of employee engagement, pay special attention to organizational performance which includes retention, productivity, and customer relations. For example, the meta-analysis done by Sange and Srivasatava (2012, 40) indicates that the companies which invest in employee orientation programs have higher rates of employee engagement.
Most importantly, they have a lower turnover rate (Sange and Srivasatava, 40). One has to bear in mind that reduced turnover can be the key to the company’s success because as a rule, organizations can perform more productively provided that their employees know each other very well and are able to work in a team.
Admittedly, the rate of turnover can also be determined by the compensation policies of a company. This is an important variable that should not be overlooked. However, the research carried out by Paul Fairlie (2011, 513) shows that workers may attach great importance to professional growth, self-actualization, and empowerment.
These factors are determinants of employee engagement and they are reflected in the retention rates of organizations. Therefore, these studies indicate that there is a significant relationship between turnover rate and engagement.
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Furthermore, it should be noted that employee engagement is believed to be crucial for establishing good relations with customers (Sange and Srivasatava, 2012, 40). In particular, the companies or business units where employees’ engagement is higher usually receive better evaluations from customers, in particular, they had “86 % higher success rate” (Sange and Srivasatava, 2012, 40).
Again it is possible to say that customer satisfaction is a very good indicator of a company’s performance. Admittedly, the exact relationship between these variables needs further examination. The thing is that customer satisfaction may be shaped by other organizational variables such as bonuses that the company provides, its after-sale services, or quality control.
One cannot say that employee engagement is always the most powerful driver of a company’s relations with its clients. Nevertheless, even well-crafted policies can fail provided that workers do not have the stimuli to attend to the needs of clients.
The second aspect of employee engagement is related primarily to the individual behavior of workers. The thing is that the employees, who had a higher engagement rate, were more likely to accept those tasks that were not within the scope of their responsibilities (Anand and Banu, 2011, 119).
In contrast those people, whose engagement rates were lower, focuses only on those tasks that were directly related to their duties (Anand and Banu, 2011, 119). As a rule, such people do not like to take initiatives. Therefore, managers cannot always find an effective approach to them.
The problem is that such people want to stay within certain boundaries or comfort zone. Additionally, employee engagement enables a manager or a leader to motivate workers and inspire them. Without engagement, it will be very difficult for a company to achieve its long-term objective or achieve any growth.
In part, lack of motivation can be explained by individual characteristics of a person. However, such problems can also be attributed to managers’ inefficiency because it is one of their duties to enhance employee engagement. These people have to understand the factors that make employees engaged or disengaged.
To better understand the importance of employee engagement, one has to understand how disengaged workers usually behave in an organizational setting. For example, the research carried out by Markos and Sridevid (2010, 92) shows that such individuals usually have higher annual absence rate.
Moreover, they do not attach great importance to the company’s relations with its customers, and this attitude can result in the loss of competitive advantage. So, the significance of employee engagement can be made more evident when it is absent. Certainly, absenteeism and low productivity can be explained by other factors such as family conflicts, health, or emotional problems.
Secondly, inattention toward duties can be attributed to the lack of company rules or regulations that distinguish proper and improper behavior in the workplace. Therefore, organizational structure and policies can also be important variables that shape people’s attitude toward their work.
However, this possibility does not eliminate the premise that employee engagement can influence individual performance. It can be related with absenteeism but, this relation should be examined more closely.
Overall, the discussion of this concept must disregard those studies which examine those factors that determine the degree of employee engagement. Researchers distinguish several important predictors of engagement, in particular, performance appraisal methods, availability of training, ability to receive a feedback from a manager (Saradha and Patrick, 2011, 81).
Furthermore, one can mention such factors as employee compensation, opportunity for promotion, and ability to achieve professional growth (Fairlie, 2011, 513). The survey conducted by Paul Fairlie (2011, 513) shows that there are several opportunities that engaged employee have, in particular, self-actualizing work, autonomy, task variety, creativity, managerial recognition, and efficient policies within a company.
The findings of this survey indicate that compensation definitely affects the level of engagement, but employees tend to attach more importance to professional growth, task clarity, and feeling of personal accomplishment (Fairlie, 2011, 513).
Moreover, the scholars believe that the sense of being valued by the management is also a powerful driver of engagement (Sahadra and Patrick, 2011, 78). These are the main drivers of employee’s motivation, enthusiasm, and attitude toward work.
HR managers and corporate executives have to take these results into account while developing the policies of their organizations because increased employee engagement can become the cornerstone of a company’s long-term growth.
Overall, the scholars, who examine the role of engagement, have to ensure that their research takes into account every variable that affects organizational performance, such as its structure, policies, products, or HR practices. These variables are significant determinants of performance.
Nevertheless, engaged workforce is also a powerful contributing factor that may impact the performance of a company and its competitive position. Moreover, it is necessary to better understand the drivers of employee engagement, in particular, performance appraisal, opportunities for professional growth, or empowerment. Despite these challenges and limitations, there is sufficient evidence supporting premise the premise that engagement is instrumental for better work of a company, regardless of its size, structure, or business goals.
Admittedly, there is a necessity to further examine the influences of employee engagement. Those factors that affect employees’ attitudes should also be studied in more detail. However, at this point, one can say that employee engagement is related to better motivation of workers, increased productivity and improved organizational performance.
In this regard, the main task of managers is to develop a set of strategies that positively affect the degree of engagement. First, they should focus on the development of employee orientation and training programs. New hires have to see that the company wants to help them.
Mentorship and orientation programs positively affect employee engagement, these strategies can help companies recruit and retain talented candidates (Sange and Srivasatava 2012, 37). Moreover, these people must see that work in a company enables them to achieve some degree of professional growth. Therefore, the development of training programs has to be one of the topmost priorities for the management. These are the first steps that HR practitioners and managers need to take.
Secondly, they need to ensure that the company’s compensation system adequately assesses the individual contribution of a worker. Managers have to document the tasks that were successfully completed by an employee or the initiatives that he or she took. Without such recognition, a person will be more likely to lack motivation to perform better. As it has been said before, recognition can be the key to increased motivation and engagement.
Furthermore, they should focus on allocation of work responsibilities. Employees must have a chance to display and develop their knowledge, skills, and creativity; otherwise, it is unlikely that these people will become engaged.
The task of managers is to avoid such pitfalls as work or information overload because they often result in role confusion or inability of a worker to understand his or her major tasks. These are the main recommendations that one can make to people who are responsible for managing employees. These strategies may not yield short-term results, but they can contribute to long-term development of any organizations.
Overall, various studies of employee engagement indicates that it is closely linked with organizational and individual successes. As it has been noted before, it influences retention rates within a company and its relation with its clients.
Secondly, the degree of employee engagement is a good indicator of an employee’s attitude toward the goals of the company, its competitive position, and products or services. It also influences a person’s attitude toward work responsibilities and job tasks.
These findings have significant implications for modern businesses since they should adopt strategies and policies that ensure the engagement of the personnel. The task of managers is to create an environment in which a worker feels that his or her contribution is recognized, appreciated, and compensated.
Overall, this assignment has shown to me how employees’ attitudes can shape organizational behavior. While writing this paper, I learned more about those things which can affects people’s engagement and their willingness to stay with the company. This information is also important, because it shows how business administrators should act. Overall, this paper has been of great use to me.
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Markos, Solomon, and M. Sandhya Sridevi. 2010. “Employee Engagement: The Key to Improving Performance.” International Journal Of Business & Management, 5, 12: 89-96.
Sange, Rabiya, and Shri Srivasatava. 2012. “Employee Engagement and Mentoring: An Empirical Study of Sales Professionals.” Synergy 10 (1): 37-50.
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