Contents Page 1. 0 Introduction 1. 1 Define employee engagement 1. 2 Analyse the three principle dimensions of employee engagement (the emotional, the cognitive and the physical) 1. 3 Compare and contrast employee engagement with other related concepts; ‘flow’, organisational commitment, job involvement and job satisfaction 3. 1 Explain why employee engagement is an increasingly vital dimension of HR polices, strategies and practices 3. 2 Evaluate the business benefits likely to accrue from a culture of employee engagement – benefits for the organization, its executives/managers, its workforce and its customers 3. Explain the application of employee engagement through job design, discretionary behavior, role autonomy and organizational citizenship. 4. 1 Analyse the findings of recent research evidence concerning the incidence of employee engagement 4. 2 Assess differences in levels of employee engagement based on gender, demographic and other factors 1. 0Introduction: This assignment has been written to; 1. Define employee engagement and explain how it differs, if at all, from related concepts like organisational commitment, employer involvement and job satisfaction. . Outline the findings of key recent studies on employee engagement in practice including the extent to which gender, demographic and other factors influence levels of engagement. Why is employment engagement a ‘hot topic’ for many organisations? 3. What are the benefits of having an engaged workforce and what steps can an organisation take to create a culture of employee engagement through such as job design, discretionary behaviour, role autonomy, etc.? 1. 1Define employee engagement
Employee engagement is when an employee is committed to the organisation, their colleagues, the job they are doing and their willingness to go the extra mile by exerting discretionary behaviours that cannot be ‘stipulated’ in the employment contract. Where an employee or workforce does not have this rounded combination of commitments employee engagement is not maximised to its fullest potential. (CIPD 2010) Employee engagement is connection – when we become disconnected we disengage. Employee engagement is the art and science of engaging people in authentic and recognized connections to strategy, roles, performance, organization, community, relationship, customers, development, energy, and happiness to leverage, sustain, and transform work into results’. (Zinger, 2010 ) 1. 2 Analyse the three principle dimensions of employee engagement (the emotional, the cognitive and the physical). Kahn (1990) explains that employee engagement requires employees to invest emotional, cognitive and physical energy to fully deploy themselves into a work role or task.
Shirom (2003) refers to these three components as ‘vigor’ and explains that investing in all three areas represents a positive affective response to an employee’s job and work environment. (Bligh, Riggio 2013) Emotional energy could involve the social element at work such as engaging with fellow colleagues, sharing ideas, best practice, and knowledge, working as a team and having good working relationships that foster engagement between the parties.
Creating an environment that encourages this social energy is required to achieve this; if for instance an employer has a no talking policy or discourages general chatting in the office it is highly likely that these social benefits to the organisation will be severely affected or non-existent, affecting engagement levels at an organisational level. Cognitive energy amounts to the intellectual output an employee puts in to the role, project or task. Hence it is important that employers define jobs and tasks to adequately stretch an employee’s cognitive ability and needs.
Autonomy and decision making parameters could be addressed and redefined to encourage greater cognitive input at work. The benefits of such are likely to include efficiencies to working processes and practices, increased job satisfaction and job/work flow. Physical energy relates to the amount of energy the employee places on doing the work. (EHWLC, 2013) The more energy exerted, the better the quality and quantity of work. Where an employee places a low level of physical energy to a task of job the longer it will take the employee to complete and is likely to result in poorer quality of work.
Where an employee is emotionally and cognitively stimulated at work physical energy levels are likely to be higher . David Zinger refers to (Loehr, Schouartz 2003) findings where they say that Physical energy equates to the quantity of energy, emotional equates to quality of energy and mental (cognitive) is the focus of energy. They say that there is a need for lots of high quality energy to provide us with focus and force to achieve results. (Zinger, 2013) 1. 3 Compare and contrast employee engagement with other related concepts; ‘flow’, organisational commitment, job involvement and job satisfaction.
Table 1. HR ConceptSimilarities to employee engagementDifferences to employee engagement FlowImmersed in the job or a particular element of the role, task or project. Loses track of time and demonstrates a high level of engagement to the given activity. Use of cognitive and physical energy. Not engaged in the whole picture, loves the job/part of, but doesn’t connect with the rest of the role/organisation. No indication of emotional engagement/communication. Organisational CommitmentAttracted to the company Brand and values.
Very emotionally involved, enjoys the social aspects of work. An ambassador of the organisationNot necessarily engaged with the job, physical and cognitive energies surrounding the job may be low of absent. Job InvolvementA great commitment to the job or position, exercises discretionary effort (physical and cognitive energy to the role) losses oneself in the role (absorbsion) similar to ‘flow’. Not engaged with the organisation as a whole, could lack in emotional engagement, and may not be interested in the organisations values/brand.
Job SatisfactionTotally satisfied in the role and environment. Job meets intellectual needs (cognitive) Is happy with work life balance, level of responsibility and reward. Doesn’t mean that the employee is exercising discretionary effort in the role. Personal happiness, however may not be meeting the needs or requirements of the role or the organisation. Potentially missing the emotional and physical elements required for employee engagement. As you will see from the above table it is important to address all areas if an organisation wants to achieve employee engagement.
One successful concept alone may provide some basis for engagement, but unless combined organisations will not experience the benefit of an engaged workforce and fundamental issues will affect the performance of the organisation. Some example of the possible impacts follow; ‘Flow’ would be where sales man (A) enjoys meeting with new prospective clients and achieves lots of face to face meetings that are really effective at opening up opportunities for a sale, but is disengaged with the admin side of his role and fails to follow up with a quotation or other information.
The sale would not progress into new business, thus failing to meet the purpose of his role. Similarly sales person (B) loves the company brand and values has great (organisational commitment) and is always very positive about the company when speaking with management and other colleagues but hates meeting new people and therefore puts all his energies into preparation and admin and fails to get the sales process off the ground. 3. 1 Explain why employee engagement is an increasingly vital dimension of HR polices, strategies and practices.
Employee engagement is a hot topic at present largely due to the economic downturn. (Personnel today, 2009) Eric Michels thinks that company leaders are looking to ‘sweeten up their staff’ following the ‘ruthless cost-cutting, knee-jerk decisions and general short-term panic during a difficult economic downturn’ to prevent employees leaving the organisation when the recession ends. Redundancies are rife and businesses are struggling to make ends meet and these challenging times are taking their toll on employees.
Organisations that fail to communicate openly and honestly with their employees are creating an environment of insecurity and disengagement. Pre 2008 before the onset of the recession, employees had more confidence in leaving an organisation to start a new job if and when they felt the time was right, however since the recession the number of people out of work and struggling to get back into employment has risen significantly which is broadcasted all over the media has left people reluctant to leave their employment even when they are totally disengaged. Zinger, 2010) comments that people may often leave organisations when they feel disengaged, however he says that it could be even worse if they didn’t. A disengaged employee is likely to make mistakes that can often be costly, dips in service level and productivity which can be detrimental to the bottom line not to mention damaging to the company’s reputation and brand. It is therefore becoming increasingly vital for HR to implement policies, strategies and practices that prompt employee engagement. David Zinger comments that ‘employee engagement is vital in recruitment, retention, and satisfaction. Employee engagement cannot be bought, but can be influenced by organizations. Although employees are responsible for their own engagement, we are all accountable for everyone’s engagement. (Zinger, 2010 ) 3. 2 Evaluate the business benefits likely to accrue from a culture of employee engagement – benefits for the organization, its executives/managers, its workforce and its customers. (People Management, 2011) report on the Nampak Plastics culture change programme which transformed staff engagement.
The Key HR initiatives introduced at Nampak to improve employee engagement were initiated by Eric Collins, Managing Director. Collins had devised and circulated an employee attitude survey which had highlighted the extent of how dis-engaged the work force actually were. Collins then made himself available to the staff by holding ‘Challenge Collins’ sessions where he heard employees grievances face to face. Following this Nampak also ran focus groups to find out what employees felt would make Nampak a better place to work.
After identifying the key areas of change which were; Communication about what was going on in the business/training and development opportunities and feedback on their performance, Nampak introduced a country wide performance management system that promoted personal development, training for the managers to conduct the appraisals and feedback to staff amongst other various training programmes. Nampak also instigated a Corporate Social Responsibility programme which engaged staff though making connections with local schools to introduce Nampak as a good place to work to the students.
Some of the students were children of the employees at Nampak; this was seen as one of the key and most successful employee engagement initiatives implemented at Nampak. The benefits that Nampak took from the three year transformation were; an increase in the Gallup satisfaction rating from 2. 7 out of 5 to 3. 05 which resulted in an improvement to the overhead costs, these decreased by 6. 7 per cent per million bottles made without having to make any cuts or closures. There was also a significant reduction in customer complaints which benefitted both the business and the customer.
The business benefitted through customer satisfaction and retention whilst the customers were in receipt of a better product and overall service. The executives who are often target driven saw a decrease in overhead costs which increaseshelped them achieve their targets and over and above that I am sure that future change initiatives will receive a lot more ‘buy in’ from the workforce making it easier to administer change. Further benefits that might be seen by Nampak managers are an increase in discretionary effort applied by the workforce.
Not forgetting the huge benefits the workforce will have enjoyed such as personal development and greater overall job satisfaction. The CSR seemed to encourage pride in the employee’s workplace which will have encouraged organizational citizenship. All in all, a healthy combination of employee engagement initiatives that contributed to some fantastic results . 3. 3 Explain the application of employee engagement through job design, discretionary behavior, role autonomy and organizational citizenship.
Employee engagement comes from many different contributing and complimentary factors. Some of these are through job design, discretionary behavior, role autonomy and organizational citizenship. Therefore it is important to look at each of these to see how/when employee engagement is applied in these ways. Job design – If the job is stretching, challenging, achievable and requires team working and autonomy employees are likely to engage better in their role as all of these encompass the three principle dimensions of employee engagement as defined in 1. above. If the role is not meeting these dimensions then the job design should be addressed to see if the level of responsibility/autonomy or skill required can be increased to make the role more challenging. Where the job is unachievable due to a lack of training or skill, mentoring or formal training could be given. The difficulties arise when people are resistant to change, budgets do not allow for training, or increases to remuneration where added responsibility is taken on.
Some organizations have a very hierarchical decision making process which could cause a barrier when addressing the level of autonomy or decision making in job design. Employee engagement is applied through organizational citizenship. This encompasses things such as well-being and work life balance policies and cultures. Work life balance is a relatively new concept following the implementation of the ‘Flexible working request’ on the 06th April 2003 allowing parents to request flexible working to help with childcare responsibilities.
Since then flexible working and work life balance has been a hot topic and is constantly evolving as it is now recognized as being mutually beneficial to both employers and employees. The Work life balance culture and employee engagement survey conducted in 2007 reported that there was not a clear relationship between work-life balance and discretionary effort. (see below discretionary effort by work life balance), ‘while those who strongly agreed that they had good work-life balance were most likely to say they would go the extra mile if needed (73%), this was not markedly ahead of those who did not have good work-life balance (66%).
And those with poor work-life balance were more likely to go the extra mile than those who just agreed, rather than strongly agreed, that their work-life balance was good (52%). ’ However eemployee engagement and was high across the board with a high combined agreement score and that this was associated with good work-life balance (see employee engagement by work life balance). (Equal Opportunities Trust, 2007 ). Recognised benefits for introducing work-life balance policies for employers include: •reduced staff turnover rates lower recruitment and training costs, associated with reduced turnover •becoming a good employer or an employer of choice •increased return on investment in training as employees stay longer •reduced absenteeism •reduced use of sick leave •reductions in workers stress levels •improved morale or satisfaction •greater staff loyalty and commitment •improved productivity (Queensland Government, 2012) 4. 1 Analyse the findings of recent research evidence concerning the incidence of employee engagement.
According to the report (Macleod, Clarke 2009) put to the government; the incidence of employee engagement within businesses across the UK appears to be fairly sparse. This is largely due to the lack of awareness business leaders have regarding the benefits that an engaged workforce can bring to the organisation. The report finds that there is a clear correlation to high employee engagement and a positive increase to financial results and a clear link between disengaged workforces and a negative impact to the financial results of companies evaluated.
The report is written to the government to encourage increased awareness of the positive impact employee engagement can have on individual businesses and the UK economy to aid in the recovery of the recession. Rt Hon Lord Mandelson says that ‘Britain’s economic recovery and its competitive strengths in a global economy will be built on strong, innovative companies and confident employees; there has never been a more important time to think about employee engagement. ’ The report indicates that there is a wide variation in engagement levels in the UK both within and between organisations.
However AON Hewitt (2012) reports that 58% of employees worldwide are engaged against 42% who are somewhat or not engaged meaning four out of 10 employees worldwide are not engaged. The engagement top drivers are; career opportunities, recognition and organisational reputation. And focus on Business unit leadership and HR practices and brand alignment are not being given so much attention . 4. 2 Assess differences in levels of employee engagement based on gender, demographic and other factors.
The workplace survey (WERS) conducted in 2004 demonstrated that job-related satisfaction varied across workplaces suggesting that it was partly determined by the workplace itself not just by demographics. There is also evidence that younger employees are looking for more out of work than there salary and will be demanding more flexible working to help with work-life balance. In KPMG’s case study the enormity of the requirement for flexible working was demonstrated when the company suggested implementing a flexible futures programme which consisted of working a four day week or reduced hours due to a business need, not an employee need.
The expectation was 65% voluntary agreement; however 85% volunteered for the reduction in hours. It is also reported young graduates want a ‘choice and a voice’. Meaning that they want to be listened too, feel that there ideas are given consideration and are seen of value. Organisations that continue to use a ‘command and control’ management style are unlikely to engage these young people in their organisations and jobs.
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, the Royal Navy’s Commander-in- Chief Fleet commented that even the Navy expect young soldiers’, both men and women to ask the question ‘Why’ and get a satisfactory answer in response before they will be willing to obey orders unquestioningly when they are on the front line. AON Hewitt (2012) illustrates engagement distribution by generation as follows; Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are the most engaged globally as a whole and continents such as Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America, Generation X (born 1965-1978) came in approx. % under and the Millennial generation (born 1979-Present) as the least engaged group approx. a further 5% under generation X. AON Hewitt (2012) also looked at engagement levels by gender in 2011 and found that a higher percentage of males were engaged than females globally and in Asia, whereas females were more engaged than their male counterparts in Latin America and North America and throughout Europe males and females were equally engaged. Disengagement globally and through all regions mentions were equally distributed with as many male and females disengaged .
Bibliography 1. CIPD revised July 2010, Employee Engagement 2. David Zinger 18th Jan 2010 – Employee engagement for all – http://www. davidzinger. com/engagement-principles/ accessed pm 31. 01. 2013 3. Bligh, Riggio (2013) Exploring distance in leader-follower relationships, Taylor & Francis Group page 110 4. Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College Jan 2013, Employee Engagement (5EEG) 5. David Zinger 07th Feb 2012 – Five Ways to Enliven Energy for Employee Engagement – http://www. davidzinger. om/five-ways-to-enliven-energy-for-employee-engagement-13334/ accessed pm 31. 01. 2013 6. David Zinger 18th Jan 2010 – Employee engagement for all – http://www. davidzinger. com/engagement-principles/ accessed pm 31. 01. 2013 7. Personnel today, Eric Michels 08th Oct 2009 – http://www. personneltoday. com/articles/08/10/2009/52467/employee-engagement-the-latest-hr-buzzword. htm accessed pm 31. 01. 2013 8. David Zinger 18th Jan 2010 – Employee engagement for all – http://www. davidzinger. com/engagement-principles/ accessed pm 31. 01. 2013 9.