The paper 'The Concept of Employee Engagement' is a great example of a management case study. Employee engagement is a relatively new notion that has been largely marketed and popular among human resource consulting firms that provide advice on the ways in which this concept can be created and leveraged. Nevertheless, employee engagement has not been fully exploited in academic studies and very little knowledge exists about its antecedents and consequences (Saks, 2006 p. 600). However, scholars are steadily joining the fight and both parties are burdened with competing and unsteady interpretations of the meaning of this construct (William and Benjamin, 2008 p. 3).
The studies carried out in this field have different approaches and opinions towards employee engagement. Employee engagement is however becoming an important aspect in many organizations despite the gap between the concept and lack of research. The global economic crisis of 2008 saw many employees being laid off. However, this was not the solution as employers realized that they lost some of the most valuable assets they had, engaged employees. This essay seeks to explore what employee engagement is, whether it is relevant and its importance to managers in the organization.
This will be achieved through critical evaluation of research articles and other sources in the management field. Employee engagement has been defined in several varying ways with the definitions and measures sounding like other existing and better-known constructs such as organizational commitment and organizational citizenship (Saks, 2006 p. 601). In a report by MacLeod and Clarke (2009 p. 8) the authors employed the definition of employee engagement that was given by Professor Katie Truss during their study which states; “ Engagement is about creating opportunities for employees to connect with their colleagues, managers, and wider organization.
It is also about creating an environment where employees are motivated to want to connect with their work and really care about doing a good job… It is a concept that places flexibility, change, and continuous improvement at the heart of what it means to be an employee and an employer in a twenty-first-century workplace. ” (Macleod & Clarke 2009, p. 9). This definition entails all the elements of employee engagement that help in the realization of optimal results in organizational performance, employee retention, and customer satisfaction.
This definition also conforms or is an elaborate of Saks (2006 p. 602) definition. According to Saks, employee engagement entails the emotional and intellectual commitment of employees to the accomplishment of an organization. Basically, employee engagement is the force behind employees’ urge to utilize the resources and ingenuity for organizational effectiveness. Employee engagement can be seen as the most crucial metric for organizations in the contemporary organization management. According to Michael and Sims (2008 p. 7) employee engagement is the key determinant of many if not all of the other main measures that echo and propel organizational performance including productivity, innovation, quality, profitability, and loyalty.
Michael and Sims (2008p. 7) employ four key factors in defining employee engagement which is based on many years of experience and vigorous global benchmarking research. These factors include a dedication to job and organization, satisfaction in job and organization, enthusiasm to promote the benefits and merits of the job and organization, and finally satisfaction with job and organization (Michael and Sims 2008 p. 7). Thus the authors advocate for engagement as the measure of employee-organization association.
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MacLeod, D. and Clarke, N. Engaging for success: Enhancing Performance through Employee Engagement. A report to Government, (2009).
Michael H. and Sims, J. Employee Engagement: Maximizing Organizational Performance, Right Management, (2008).
Saks, A.M.. Antecedents and consequences of employee engagement, Journal of Managerial Psychology 21, No. 6 (2006): 600-619.
William H. M. and Benjamin S. The Meaning of Employee Engagement, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 1 (2008): 3–30.