Relationshipsbetween Work-Unit Employee Engagement and Business Results
Relationshipsbetween Work-Unit Employee Engagement and Business Results
Workunit employee engagement is a strategy meant to ensure that employeesare devoted to their organization’s values and goals, motivated toparticipate towards organizational success at the same time advancingtheir own sense of personal development. Engagement comes in threedifferent forms including attitude, behavior and outcome. Attitude isthe feeling of pride or loyalty by employees while behavior is thetendency of employees to be committed advocates of their organizationto clients or is willing to go an extra mile to accomplish a giventask (Bakker, Tims & Derks, 2012). Outcome that result fromwork-unit employee engagement entail high productivity, moreinnovation, lower accident rates, reduced employee turnover, reducedabsenteeism fewer conflicts and reduced sickness. This outcome iswhat every employer or business desire to achieve but cannot beachieved without making work unit employee engagement a success in anorganization (Harter et al., 2013). Usually, there is a virtuouscycle when the prerequisites of engagement are met when the threedifferent aspects of engagement elicit and reinforce one another.When work-unit employees are engaged, organizations have authenticand coherent values with clear proof of trust and fairness founded onmutual respect whereby the organization and employees promise andcommit to each other (Kandampully, Zhang & Bilgihan, 2015).Basically, engagement is two way as organizations must strive toengage its work unit employees and in turn these employees have achoice regarding the intensity of engagement to offer the employerand as such each influences the other. A work unit which is engagedexperiences a spectrum of job satisfaction, job involvement,organizational commitment and feeling of being empowered.
Howto Improve Employee Engagement
Employeeengagement is no doubt a key area in human resource management field.HR managers want their employees to be engaged since they are awarethat work units employee engagement outperforms disengaged ones atthe workplace. However, employee engagement continues to be achallenging experience based on the fact that employee needs andmotivation are rapidly changing (Bakker, Tims & Derks, 2012).Positive psychology however offers a simple way for HRs to achieveemployee engagement. There are three psychology interventions thatHRs can use to improve employee engagement in the work unit.
Simplecompliments can make a great change in individual employees or workunits. According to Professor Sadato who led a research in testingthe influence of compliments to performance to the human brain,receiving a compliment is like a social reward as being givenmonitory reward (Marchant, Ruff & Driver, 2012). There is ascientific proof that praise encourages improvement. Thus, ratherthan criticizing reports from work units, it is important to give apositive comment or compliment to the work units to make them improveon their performance.
Asa HR, a behavior of spotting positives not only in individuals butalso in other areas of the work unit/business can improve the levelsof productivity. For example, if an employee is poor on certainskills, instead of focusing on showing him how poor he is on thatpoint, it is better to first look at what the employee is strong atand helps them better their skills. This way, as a HR or a supervisoryou will be able to go back to their week areas and help them grow.The employee feels worthy and appreciated if you notice their strongpoints rather than pointing their weaknesses (Truss et al. 2013).This is explained by Appreciative Inquiry, a problem solving approachdevised in the mid 80’s by David Cooperrider of Case WesternReserve University. According to the model, appreciation refers torecognizing and valuing the qualities or contributions of people andthings around us. Inquiry on the other hand means to discover andexplore in the spirit of seeking to clearly understand and stayingopen to fresh possibilities ((Truss et al. 2013)). Collectively,appreciative inquiry means that by appreciating the good and thevaluable in the current situation, one can discover and learn aboutways of achieving positive change for the future.
Often,employees feel that at minimum they must do their job to avoidtrouble with their bosses or managers. This way, employees cannot beengaged. One way to inject meaning to work and thwart disengagementis through job crafting. This is a fresh approach to classic mannerin which one’s job roles and responsibilities are described by thesupervisors. Instead of having no or little say on what our job rolesentail, job crafting allows employees to tailor their jobs to bettersuit their strengths and passion (Truss et al. 2013). As such,employees can be encouraged to adjust the limits of their jobs bybeing responsible for more or fewer tasks, reduce or expand the scopeof their job, or altogether change their modus operandi (Bakker, Tims& Derks, 2012). For example, a supervisor may be given theopportunity to rethink of a new way to present their reports to maketheir work less repetitive.
Statistically,there is a positive influence in work-unit/business level correlationbetween employee engagement and performance results. In 2009 Harteret al (2013) conducted a study which included 192 studies across 152organizations in 44 sectors and 26 states to establish thisrelationship. The study included 32,394 work units and 955,905employees. This study established a significant disparity betweenwork units ranking in the top and the 25 ranking at the bottom onengagement. It was found that there was an 18 percent fall inproductivity between the best and the poorest performers. Besides,there was a drop by 60 percent in quality of products providedbetween the two extremes. A similar analysis on Fortune 100 companiesand found out that there was an enormous increase in the numbererrors topping to 1000 percent among workers that were not engagedmeasured against their engaged counterparts (Kandampully, Zhang &Bilgihan, 2015). Most studies have also been able to prove thatemployees who are not engaged are detrimental to performance.
Fromthe above findings, human resource must learn that it is worthensuring that all employees are engaged in their work units. Thiswill go a long way in enhancing the business performance. Achievinghigh performance is a subject of several measures and is shown byrate of absenteeism, shrinkage, productivity, retention, safety andcustomer loyalty among others.
Thework of a HR manager is targeted at ensuring optimal performance ofemployees. When employees are engaged, their productivity increasessignificantly. In a Strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM)Foundation’s study, a notable difference between performancerelated costs in sales of work unit of one organization wasestablished. According to Lockwood (2007), work units that were lowin engagement fell short of high engaged work units so much that thedisparity in performance associated costs was in surplus of $2million. Kandampully, Zhang & Bilgihan (2015) adds that, besidesaffecting productivity in sales work units, engaged employees have animportant indirect impact in boosting sales through breaking freshground in innovation or just by supporting other employees.
Oneof the reasons why HRs needs to consider work unit employeeengagement is because, besides increasing performance, it decreasesthe rate of absenteeism. Since engaged employees care about theirwork, they appreciate the significance of their effort in achievingsuccess for the business. Consequently, employees turn up to workconsistently and give their all once they are at their assigned workpoint (Gruman & Saks, 2011). In the study carried out by Harteret al. (2013), absenteeism was up by 37 percent in business with 25percent engagement score. Absenteeism reflects on other performanceparameters.
EveryHR wants to retain their employees, train them, invest in them andultimately reap from their hard work. Retention has double impact onprofitability. First, substituting an employee can cost theorganization 150 percent of their salary and secondly, once anemployee has been substituted takes significant time to adjust andstart being productive. This impacts profitability particularly insales whereby a new employee can take even years to make same salesas a veteran one.
Safetyin the workplace bears both human and financial costs in a StrategicHuman Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation research, Lockwood (2007)found that the business saved over 1.7 million in safety costs in asingle year by enhancing employee engagement.
Everyorganization works very hard to ensure that its resources, revenueand profits are intact. As an HR one does not want to have employeesroot from the company. When work unit employees are engaged, theamount of profits lost to theft goes down. Harter et al. (2013)demonstrated that there is a 27 percent fall in shrinkage whencontrasting business units in the 25 percent top and bottom onengagement scale.
Anotherarea that as a HR one would like to improve at all cost is customerloyalty. The truth is, having loyal customers who promote anorganization helps in growing and maintaining revenue. One key way ofachieving customer loyalty is by having employees who are engaged(Kandampully, Zhang & Bilgihan, 2015).
ImprovingEngagement at CUD
Theessence of employee engagement is to ensure that employees feel aspart of the organization and they give all their energy to theorganization’s success. BTT is a company that has for long sufferedfrom the effects of disengaged employees. There are three strategicmanagement as well as individual strategies that BTT can adopt toengage their employees and include:
Makingit economically palpable for employees at all stages that the successof the organization is their individual success. Regardless of how itis achieved, whether through share options or profit sharing, allemployees must have a clear understanding of what really entailsorganizational success. They should also understand what aspectscompel that success and more significantly how their hard work isrecognized and why as why as individuals they should care (Bakker,Tims & Derks, 2012).
Secondly,HRs should design a well incorporated network of employee-orientedprograms that provide meaningful opportunities for career growth.Employees have their own talents and want to improve themselves andorganizations that are successful recognize that. Career developmentcan be achieved through well planned career paths including jobtraining, active mentoring as well as support in attaining valuableskills to mention a few.
Finally,as part of strategic management focus should be placed not just onleadership development, but on middle manager development as well assupervisor development. Most companies invest heavily in leadershipdevelopment while overlooking development for middle or lowermanagement levels that actually do most of the everyday management inthe organization. This leads such employees to leave the organizationor fail to deliver as expected (Bakker, Tims & Derks, 2012).
Despitea lot of research concerning work unit employee engagement, engagedemployees are rare to find. In a report by Gallup’s State of theGlobal Workplace, just 13 percent of employees in the world areengaged at their workplace. United States have the highest levels ofengaged employees at 30 percent followed by Australia and New Zealandat 23 and 24 percent respectively among the countries that werestudied (Reilly, 2014). However, work units can focus on employeeengagement as a means to develop and grow their revenues as well asthe well being of their employees. Disengaged employees are costly tothe business and should be tapped to be engaged. The educationindustry especially needs to improve employee engagement since thistinkles down to the quality of education they offer. Political issuesmay however become a great interference in engaging employees in theeducation sector considering that it is a public dominated industry.
Thetopic on employee engagement has changed my view of the workplace.Working for a business should not be just for achieving personalgoals, but should be for attaining the goals of the organization. Onthe other hand, the organizations have a responsibility of beingconcerned about their employees’ welfare so that they can feel aspart of the organization. Engagement is a mutual relationship. I havealso come to understand my friends who work for different firms andtheir perception of the organizations they work for. Some are engagedwhile others are disengaged or actively disengaged. The topic hasalso inspired my relationship with my seniors as well as my juniorsat work.
Conclusively,employee engagement is an area that human resource managers need tofocus on. The cost of maintaining disengaged employees is high asseen in Gallup’s statistics and can be damaging to the company inthe long run. Although engaging employees does not come withoutcosts, the benefits accrued from engaged work force is enormous.
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Gruman,J. A., & Saks, A. M. (2011). Performance management and employeeengagement. HumanResource Management Review,21(2),123-136.
Harter,J. K., Schmidt, F. L., Agrawal, S., & Plowman, S. K. (2013). Therelationship between engagement at work and organizational outcomes:2012 Q12 meta-analysis. Washington,DC: Gallup Inc.
Kandampully,J., Zhang, T., & Bilgihan, A. (2015). Customer loyalty: a reviewand future directions with a special focus on the hospitalityindustry. InternationalJournal of Contemporary Hospitality Management,27(3),379-414.
Lockwood,N. R. (2007). Leveraging Employee Engagement for CompetitiveAdvantage. SHRM Research Quarterly, 2-11.
Marchant,J. L., Ruff, C. C., & Driver, J. (2012). Audiovisual synchronyenhances BOLD responses in a brain network including multisensory STSwhile also enhancing target‐detectionperformance for both modalities. Humanbrain mapping,33(5),1212-1224.
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