Employee Engagement

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Employee Engagement

Hye Chong Yi (260446951)

McGill University

CORG 555, Winter 2011

Professor Sema Burney

3 March 2011

“em·ploy·ee (-noun): a person working for another person or a business firm for pay. en·gage (-verb): to occupy the attention or efforts of (a person or persons). en·gage·ment (-noun): the act of engaging or the state of being engaged.” -Dictionary.com (2011) Introduction

Employee. Engagement. Separately, each word has a clear, concise definition. Their descriptions are easy to grasp. However, once you put the words together the concept of employee engagement is complex because there are many variations on its definitions and dynamics that contribute to engagement. “To date, there is no single and generally accepted definition for the term employee engagement (Markos & Sridevi, 2010, p.90).” The difficulty of pinpointing an exact definition lies in the fact that employee engagement does not have the same meaning for everyone (Blessing White, 2011). The goal of this paper is to provide a general discussion of its definition, history, current state, future trends, and close the discussion with a conclusion.

Employee Engagement: Definition

Generally speaking, employee engagement is the concept of an employee that is fully invested emotionally, intellectually, and socially into their work, company, and colleagues (Markos & Sridevi, 2010). “Engagement is about passion and commitment-the willingness to invest oneself and expand one’s discretionary effort to help the employer succeed, which is beyond simple satisfaction with the employment arrangement or basic loyalty to the employer (Markos & Sridevi, 2010, p. 90).”

Employee engagement is something that is felt more than something that is done however, there are many measures that can be taken to improve employee engagement. As stated by writer Sarah Cook, “Employee engagement is more a psychological contract than a physical one (2008, p. 4).” Employee engagement is linked to having many positive effects such as employee retention, productivity, loyalty, customer satisfaction, company reputation, and overall stakeholder value (Lockwood, 2007). The engagement or disengagement of an employee ultimately has financial effects for the company (Towers Perrin, 2003).

There are a variety of different employment engagement models such as the “Hierarchy of Engagement” which is similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which places sustaining needs at the bottom and psyche benefits at the top (Markos & Sridevi, 2010). This particular model strives to differentiate the needs at each level in regards to engagement. In most literature, the basic drivers of employee engagement are identified as various renditions of: (1) cognitive engagement, (2) emotional engagement, and (3) a behavioural factor (Lockwood, 2007; MacLeod & Clark, 2010; Markos & Sridevi, 2010;). Within each driver, there are dynamics that vary from company-to-company and from person-to-person. For example, for an effective and empowered voice for the employee (cognitive and emotional) means giving employees the choice to accomplish the work in their own way (Thomas, 2010). It is the actions done in regards to these dynamics that help increase or decrease employee engagement.

The most common measure of employee engagement is through surveys such as the Work & Well-Being Survey (see Appendix A) or the Work Engagement Profile (Thomas, 2010). Additionally, informal communications with employees are also a way of gathering data to assess employee engagement. Experts caution companies from using a pre-designed survey due to the relevancy of the questions. This caution re-iterates that engagement is different for each company and the measures need to be congruent with the company’s view on employee engagement and their efforts (Rivenbark, 2010).

Employee Engagement: History

In 1864, employee...
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