With business scenario being competitive, firms are looking for new ways to motivate and encourage employees to get engaged with the company. Companies want their employees to be effectively become part of decision making process to help management accomplish goals and objectives. Employee engagement is one of the approaches adopted by firms in order to ensure their employees are highly dedicated to towards their work. By definition, employee engagement refers to the process of engaging employees and the extent to which they feel committed towards their work and put discretely efforts into their work (Arrowsmith & Parker, 2013). This paper examines what is employee engagement, its importance and steps undertaken to improve it in various organizations.
(a) What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is defined as the level to which an employee in an organization is dedicated towards his work. It is a workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are motivated towards organization’s goals and contribute effectively towards taking the company towards success. It also ensures that employees along with contributing towards the success of the company enhance their own sense of well-being. Employees, generally have different attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in terms of engagement. Some employees may not be proud and dedicated towards their work while some employees may be advocates of their company to clients. However, there may be some employees in the company who put extra efforts to finish their work (Crim, 2006). Apart from difference in attitudes and behaviors among employees, there are differences in outcomes also. Outcomes can include low accident rates, high productivity, less conflicts, more innovation and low sickness rate.
Organizations with high level of employee engagement tend to have strong and authentic values. Such organizations have a clear evidence of trust and fairness with employees. In such organizations, two way promises are made between employer and employee and efforts are taken consistently in order to fulfill them. There are some organizations that try to achieve employee engagement by manipulating employees’ emotions and commitment. But this approach can’t help in achieving employee engagement rather turns employees against the management (Crim, 2006). In order to achieve employee engagement, employees have to be left free so that they can put their efforts freely and willingly as part of their daily activities. Some of the characteristics of an engaged employee are:
- He is extremely passionate towards his work.
- He is emotionally attached to his work.
- He is involved in problem solving and look for innovative solutions in spite of focusing on problems.
- He is highly committed to his work and will do whatever it takes to deliver high quality results.
Importance of Employee Engagement
In past, there are plenty of approaches used by management in order to motivate and encourage employees to contribute towards organization’s success. However, most of them failed since those involved manipulating employees. Employee engagement is a modern day approach adopted by employers across globe. Employee engagement is one of the key factors in the high productivity of a company. Figures suggest that UK had an employee engagement deficit i.e. only 27% of workers said in a survey that they were actually engaged with their organization (Dickey, 2007). Hence, organizations in UK also suffered productivity deficit. When reasons for such a low figure engagement and productivity were evaluated, it was observed that these two things are interrelated. As per (Dickey, 2007), an organization with low employee engagement is likely to have low productivity while an organization with high employee engagement is likely to have high productivity.
Fig 1: Relation between Employee Engagement and Productivity
(b) Steps to improve Employee Engagement
Since poor employee engagement in an organization can lead to disappointing productivity figures so there have to be some steps to improve employee engagement in organizations (Markey, 2013). Here are some ways that can help to improve employee engagement effectively:
- Line supervisors should lead the teams: Employees, in most organizations consider it difficult to get engaged with their managers. Hence, line supervisors must lead the teams. Line supervisors can effectively earn the enthusiasm, trust and commitment of employees.
- Supervisors must hold frequent meetings: Every supervisor may not be good at holding meetings and interacting with employees. Hence, supervisors who hold frequent meeting to discuss the problems faced by employees can help to improve employee engagement considerably. Meeting can comprise of candid chats with employees (Shuck, 2011).
- Supervisors can take regular surveys: In order to understand the dynamics of team and observe the behavior of employees, supervisors can carry short surveys weekly or bi-weekly. It can help supervisors know about any issues faced by employees.
- Making employees’ part of decision making: Front line employees such as call agents, sales people know about the buying behavior of customers clearly. Hence, employees must be made part of decision making and asked about strategies to earn better profits. It will develop trust and commitment among employees to put extra efforts in accomplishing goals and objectives (Markey, 2013).
These are some of the steps that can help to improve employee engagement in an organization. Employee engagement has become one of the key reasons of taking an organization towards success. Hence, organizations must take appropriate steps at regular time period to enhance engagement of employees in decision making.
To conclude, it can be said that employee engagement has a direct relation with productivity of an organization. For an organization to attain high productivity figures, it is crucial to maximize employee engagement. Most companies spend plenty of time and resources in addressing issues concerning employee engagement. But outcomes are usually not up to the mark. Hence, managers are required to open up with their employees and turn their current approach upside down. Following this, employees will be able to feel the energy and enthusiasm of their work (Markos, 2010). This paper has effectively analyzed what is employee engagement, its importance in the success of an organization and steps undertaken to enhance employee engagement in organizations.
- Arrowsmith, J. & Parker, J. (2013). “The Meaning of ‘employee engagement’ for the values and roles of the HRM function.”, The International Journal of Human Resource Management. 24(14), 2692–2712.
- Crim, D. (2006). “What engages employees the most.”, Ivey Business Journal, pp. 1-3
- Dickey, C. (2007). “Employee Engagement.”, ABAC ODI Journal, pp. 8
- Markey, R. (2013). “Four steps to better employee engagement, Brw.com.au., pp. 4
- Markos, S. (2010). “Employee Engagement: The Key to Improving Performance.”, International Journal of Business and Management, pp. 4-7
- Shuck, B. (2011). “Four Emerging Perspectives of Employee Engagement: An Integrative Literature Review.”, Human Resource Development Review. 10(3), 304–328.