Employee Engagement and Empowerment

Topics: Management, Employee engagement, Human resource management Pages: 19 (6170 words) Published: January 18, 2009

We would first like to extend our highest gratitude to Professor J.K. Jain, Human Resource Management , whose knowledge and experience has served as a continuous source of encouragement and motivation during the entire life-cycle of this project.

We would like to thank our esteemed institute, Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, for providing us the infrastructure & facilities, without which this project would have remained an unfulfilled dream. We would also like to thank the institute for inculcating in us the right spirit & values for team work.

Executive Summary

India has witnessed a revolution in the field of Human Resources; it has gone from being just a support function to being a strategic partner in the growth of businesses. It has transformed itself being merely Personnel Management – maintaining records and ensuring statutory compliances, while doing the bare minimum to keep employee satisfaction on an even keel - to being an integrated part of the corporate machinery. The HR function of 21st century India has made a transition from being ‘behind-the scenes’ support appendage to becoming the critical differentiator in business. Rapid globalization has made companies realize people are the key to growth, the only strategic resource that any enterprise truly needs. This has led to companies routinely using their innovative HR practices as their USP (Unique Selling Proposition) to keep up with the times in the wake of a rapidly changing labor landscape. "Engagement" has become the search for the Holy Grail for employers in the 21st century. An engaged workforce is good for business. Employee engagement fosters and drives discretionary behavior, eliciting employees' highest productivity, their best ideas and their genuine commitment to the success of the organization. But organizations – particularly multinationals with heterogeneous employee populations – struggle with how to build and sustain engagement among employees.  “Empowerment” is the process of enabling or authorizing an individual to think, behave, take action, and control work and decision making in autonomous ways. It is the state of feeling self-empowered to take control of one's own destiny. Empowered employees have "responsibility, recognition for their ideas, satisfaction in accomplishment, power over what and how things get done, a sense of ownership, and the knowledge about the fact that they are important to the organization”. Ideally, empowerment of employees results in increased involvement, initiative, speed and innovation and alignment of the behaviour of the employees with the company’s mission. The purpose of this paper is to advance the view that having employees who are thoroughly engaged and truly empowered is the most powerful competitive weapon an organization can enjoy.


People are a firm’s most important and yet, underutilised assets. In today’s knowledge economy, independent entrepreneurship and initiative is indispensable throughout the ranks of an organization. New knowledge-based enterprises are characterized by flat hierarchical structures and a multi-skilled workforce. The importance of the human resource in such a competitive environment is highlighted by the fact that no technologies, products and structures can match highly charged, motivated people who care.

Therefore, in such a scenario, when an organization focuses attention on its people, it’s making an investment in its most important resource. Two very vital management tools through which an organization helps its people realize their potential are employee engagement and employee empowerment. The concepts of employee engagement and empowerment have naturally evolved from past researches on job motivation, organizational commitment and trust.

Employee Engagement

The quest to find the best way to retain employees has brought into light the importance of employee engagement practices....

Bibliography: Scott Snell, George Bohlander, Human Resource Management, 3rd ed. (South-Western, 2007)
N.R.Lockwood, Leveraging Employee Engagement for Competitive Advantage (Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management, 2007)
J.K.Harter, F.L.Schmidt, and T.L.Hayes, “Business-Unit Level Relationship Between Employee Satisfaction, Employee Engagement and Business Outcomes: A Meta-analysis,” Journal of Applied Psychology 87, no. 2 (2002), pp. 268-279
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