Employee Engagement Strategies

Employee Engagement Strategies

1. Introduction

Consequently, employee engagement can often be seen as a consequence of the employees’ motivation towards the organization and its goals. Due to the pervasive nature of the concept, engagement is an alternative construct for job involvement which has often received attention in research and consultancy both from a methodological viewpoint and in relation to its effects on performance and other organizational outcomes. Kahn’s depiction of personal engagement as well as theoretical commonalities between engagement and job involvement would suggest that the two constructs could in essence be the same. Kahn (1990) labeled the first of three conditions to his theory as ‘psychological availability’ suggesting that an employee who is available in a role involving their true selves would be showing signs of employee engagement. This is in line with the aforementioned idea that an engaged employee is one who is expressing their work-based self in a manner that is indicative of their true nature. The second condition to Kahn’s theory was ‘expression of self in work role’; this is relatively straightforward and suggestive that an engaged employee will employ themselves cognitively, emotionally, and physically in the role. The final condition is ‘personal fulfillment’ suggesting that employee engagement is a state that is affective in its properties and an employee will gauge personal fulfillment from an engaging role. This could be viewed as a potential antecedent to possible effects of employee engagement; however, this paper takes the stance that the effects of engagement on various outcomes are valuable to academics and practitioners looking to facilitate engaging work conditions.

One of the many developmental challenges facing the modern organization is the increasing correlation between employee skills and business investments. This is summarized by The Right Honorable David Blunket MP, when he stated, “From an Investors in People perspective, to make a reality of the evening and the training to develop individuals skills and the learning organization is crucial to success.” The relationship between learning and employee engagement will be a theme running through this paper. Employee engagement could be regarded as an explanation and extension of the term ‘motivation’. Kahn (1990) has suggested ‘personal engagement’ is the harnessing of organization members’ selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances. It is clear from this definition that there is an all-encompassing prevalence between motivation and the level to which employees are engaged in their day-to-day tasks.

1.1 Importance of Employee Engagement

Three things characterize engaged organizations: they value people, are good places to work, and produce top performance. Thus, through employee engagement, we are ensuring we can achieve these things within our own organization. We have to remember that in today’s economic climate, these are tough times for organizations and their people. We have to ensure the continued alignment of employee and employer and continue to create environments where the best people want to stay. The employee relationship is changing. Organizations are switching from contracts with long-term guarantees to the development of reciprocal relationships and promises of employability. This will entail flexibility and the continual learning and development of new skills, which employee engagement can bring to an organization. This is why at all levels, employee engagement has implications in the organization. Whether it be the front-line employee seeking the optimization of their own individual role or the executive trying to maintain a clear leadership direction during a difficult time. This is a long-term change for all parties involved and requires a fresh approach.

Most commonly, it is mistakenly understood as “employee happiness,” which is hardly the case. Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a paycheck or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization’s goals. When employees care—when they are engaged—they use discretionary effort. This means the engaged employee will invest extra effort, often that which is not asked for, in order to see the organization succeed. This effort leads to an increase in the success of the organization, thus providing individual and personal benefit to the employee. This is something that aligns the goals of the organization with those of the employee and is the reason why engagement often leads to increased job satisfaction.

1.2 Benefits of Employee Engagement Strategies

Employee engagement strategies also offer ways to move the current disengaged employees up the satisfaction ladder. Increased employee engagement means the disengaged employees will start to act more like their satisfied counterparts, who outnumber them. The engaged employees’ behaviors are driven by emotional commitment to their company, its goals, and values. This behavior is important to maintain during tough economic times. Disengaged employees may revert to satisficing and just producing enough to keep their jobs during adverse conditions. If employee engagement is not maintained, the default for employees is to revert to a disengaged state, and it is harder to move a disengaged employee than a satisfied one.

The engaged employee works with passion and feels a profound connection to their company. Their disengaged counterparts, who make up the majority of the workforce, aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. These employees undermine what their engaged co-workers accomplish. This chronic employee disengagement isn’t just a morale issue, it greatly affects the financial performance of the company. Employee disengagement can result in a large turnover of valuable employees who take with them institutional knowledge and experience. This intellectual attrition can be devastating because there are no shortcuts; it takes time to grow replacements. A disengaged employee costs organizations between 20 and 40 percent of their salary.

A workplace with active employee engagement policies will see improved job satisfaction among its employees. Satisfied employees are the ones who are always making small advances, coming up with new and better ways to perform their respective tasks. It has been proved beyond doubt that satisfied employees are more productive. This will indirectly lead to improving the quality of goods and services, and ultimately it will result in customer satisfaction. In the end, increased customer satisfaction derived from higher quality of goods and services will result in higher revenues. Higher revenues will create a positive cycle in which a company will be able to reinvest in itself and its employees. All these achievements are the results of satisfied employees who were engaged in their work. Thus, employee engagement strategies offer an easy way to help the organization improve everything from customer satisfaction to employee morale.

Engaged employees feel an emotional connection to the organization and its goals, rather than simply working to earn a living. An effective employee engagement strategy leads to a positive attitude of the employees towards the organization and their own duties. It ultimately makes the employees passionate about their work. Thus, employee engagement strategies increase retention rates. Various researches have shown that a fully engaged employee is willing to put in a full discretionary effort, whereas a disengaged employee may only do the work necessary to keep their job. It has been estimated that replacing an employee costs an organization between 50 and 150 percent of his or her annual salary. Thus, it is very cost-effective to take steps to keep the current employees engaged and satisfied.

2. Creating a Positive Work Environment

2.1 Encouraging Open Communication

2.2 Promoting Work-Life Balance

2.3 Recognizing and Rewarding Employees

3. Building Strong Leadership

3.1 Providing Leadership Development Programs

3.2 Empowering Managers to Support Employee Engagement

4. Fostering Employee Growth and Development

4.1 Offering Training and Development Opportunities

4.2 Providing Mentoring and Coaching Programs

4.3 Supporting Career Advancement

5. Enhancing Employee Well-being

5.1 Prioritizing Work-Life Balance

5.2 Promoting Health and Wellness Initiatives

5.3 Addressing Work-related Stress

6. Implementing Effective Communication Strategies

6.1 Establishing Transparent Communication Channels

6.2 Conducting Regular Employee Feedback Surveys

6.3 Encouraging Two-Way Communication

7. Promoting Teamwork and Collaboration

7.1 Encouraging Cross-functional Collaboration

7.2 Facilitating Team-building Activities

7.3 Creating a Supportive Team Culture

8. Recognizing and Rewarding Employee Contributions

8.1 Implementing Employee Recognition Programs

8.2 Providing Incentives and Rewards

8.3 Celebrating Milestones and Achievements

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