EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT (EE)
Employee engagement is a broad and complex construct that includes many sound researched ideas such as profitability, commitment, OCB, satisfaction, employee retention, loyalty and in and extra role behavior outcomes.
Kahn (1990) defined engagement and also proposed the model of personal engagement. The Social Exchange Theory (SET) explained the reasons of question that “why employees choose to become more or less engaged in their work and organization?” and also provided a theoretical base to explain employee’s engagement. Kahn (1990) further explained engagement as “a progressive combination of satisfaction, motivation, commitment and advocacy resulting from employees’ movement up the engagement pyramid”. Employee engagement can be understood as cognitive, emotional and behavioral aspects. According to Lockwood (2007) Cognitive engagement aspect is “employees’ beliefs about the company, its leaders and the workplace culture. The emotional aspect is “how employees feel about the company, the leaders and their colleagues”.
The study of Lockwood (2007) showed the impact of feedback styles on employee’s engagement level and they found positive feedback style was strongly related to higher level of engagement in employees. Positive feedback behave as an important predictor of employee engagement, this finding was highlighted in several researches conducted in year 2011. The study of SHRM/Globoforce also stated that “while an overwhelming majority (94%) of organizations believe positive feedback has an impact on improving employee performance, many companies still do not use these tactics”.
Towers (2003) found supporting teamwork as one of the major predictor of employee engagement in his research. According to Development Dimensions International (DDI, 2005), employee engagement is “The extent to which people value, enjoy, and believe in what they do”. According to DDI, to create a highly engaged workforce, a leader must focus on five drivers (such as empowerment of people, promote and encourage teamwork and collaboration, alignment of efforts with strategy, help employees to develop and grow and provide recognition and appreciations) of employee engagement. Organizational working environment and conditions also affect the level of engagement of employees, so by providing safe and healthy working environment, the level of engagement can be improved (Towers, 2003).
According to an article published by The Conference Board in 2006 (which was based on the findings of major studies conducted by Towers Perrin, Gallup, The Corporate Leadership Council, Blessing White and others), Good teamwork relationship with coworkers, Effective and positive feedback system and healthy work environment were also found as key drivers to enhance employee engagement. Bevan (2010) stated that “the employees who feel demotivated with or disengaged from their work, or who find their work stressful are more likely to resign from their posts”. The findings of Aon Hewitt (2012) was that ” 28% of employees experienced a high level of job related stress in ‘high engagement’ companies (65% engagement and over) versus 39% of employees in low engagement companies i.e. employees in high engagement companies reported significantly less workplace stress”.
Bakker, Demerouti and Schaufeli (2003) define work engagement as a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterized by vigor, dedication and absorption. Vigor is characterized by high levels of energy and mental resilience whilst working; dedication refers to being strongly involved in one’s work and experiencing a sense of importance, enthusiasm, inspiration, pride and challenge; and absorption is characterized by being fully concentrated on and happily engrossed in one’s work, whereby time passes quickly and one experiences difficulties with regard to detaching oneself from work.
Kahn (1990) outlined how engaged employees express physical, cognitive and emotional components when applying themselves in their work role. Employees need to have physical, emotional and psychological resources so as to complete their work and to identify with it. The researcher conceptualized engagement and burnout as being opposite poles of a continuum of work-related wellbeing. However, Bakker et al., (2003) believe that these two concepts cannot have a perfect negative correlation.