ABSTRACT: retaining and utilizing talent in most organizations

ABSTRACT:

Employee
engagement is a wide construct, it touches all functional activities of HRM. It
is the level of commitment of an employee towards the organization and its
values.  Employee engagement is a strong
predictor of positive organizational performance and it shows the relationship
between employer and employee compared with the earlier constructs such as, job
satisfaction, employee commitment and organizational citizenship behaviour.  

In
the Present scenario of Global competition, organisations have realized the
importance of making their employees feel fully connected to their organization
and making them to be passionate about their job. It has direct impact on
productivity, employee retention, financial results and customer satisfaction. An
engaged employee is aware of business context, and works with his colleagues to
improve individual performance for the benefit of self and the organization. Thus,
it is a barometer and it determines the association of a person with the
organization. 

Engaged
employees are physically, emotionally and cognitively attached to their
organization. Employees are highly involved in their job with great enthusiasm
for the success of their employer, will go an extra mile beyond the employment
contractual agreement.

Keywords:
Employee engagement, Employee commitment,
Organizational citizenship behaviour, Job satisfaction, HR Practices.

INTRODUCTION:

Employee
engagement is relatively a new term in HR literature and it became prominence
from 2000 onwards. Melcrum Publishing (2005) found that from a global survey of
over 1,000 communication and HR practitioners 74% began to formally focus on
the issue between 2000 and 2004. Employee Engagement is the extent to which
workforce commitment, both emotional and intellectual, exists relative to
accomplishing the work, mission, and vision of the organization. Engagement can
be seen as a heightened level of ownership where each employee wants to do
whatever they can for the benefit of their internal and external customers, and
for the success of the organization as a whole.

The
fast pace of technological advancement, rising complexities of managing
businesses, pressures to become world class organizations and relative scarcity
of people with Critical skills have resulted in problems of attracting,
retaining and utilizing talent in most organizations globally. In the changed
business scenario, it is being increasingly realized that organizations can
gain and maintain competitive edge through people as creators of assets. It is
precisely to that end that employee engagement assumes significance as a way of
managing people in organizations because engaged employees are believed to
deliver high quality/committed service and they form work teams that produce
high quality results.

Employees
will feel engaged when they find motivation and personal meaning in their work,
get positive interpersonal support and also operate in a work environment that
is efficient (Bernthal,2004; Seijits & Crim, 2006). Employee engagement
triggers increased job satisfaction and employee retention. It maximizes
workforce productivity. It is essential for meeting corporate sales and
profitability objectives.

Employee
Engagement is the level of commitment and involvement an employee has toward
his organization. It is the positive attitude held by the employees towards the
organizations and its values. Kahn (1990) has defined personal engagement as
the harnessing of organizations members selves to their work roles; it means to
psychologically present when occupying and performing an organizational role.

PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION:

Organizations
are paying more attention to employee engagement and HRD professionals are
increasingly asked to play a role in the development of engagement strategies.
The gap in knowledge between the needs of organizations and the ability for
professionals to respond effectively is problematic for HRD scholars,
researchers, and practitioners as well as for the organizations that employ
them. Organizations need HRD professionals who have well-researched, effective,
and meaningful approaches to creating, building, and maintaining employee
engagement, and practitioners are looking to scholars and researchers for tools
and techniques that are well grounded. Looking back at how the concept has
evolved would help identify past and present states as well as provide a depth
of understanding, context, and insight. This historical perspective will help
develop informed strategies of practice as well as provide a solid foundation for
future researchers to build on.

 

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES:

The
study aims at the following objectives:

1.    To
study about importance and elements of employee engagement in the present
scenario

2.    To
analyse the need of employee engagement

3.    To
examine the factors influencing Employee Engagement

4.    To
propose a model for employee engagement.

5.    To
suggest methods for improving employee engagement practices to improve the
performance of employees.

METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY:

The
study is based on the secondary data. The data was collected from Text books,
National and international journals and websites.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE:

According
to Macey and Schneider (2008), Employee engagement is a desirable condition. It
has an organizational purpose, and connotes involvement, commitment, passion,
enthusiasm, focused effort, and energy, so it has both attitudinal and
behavioural components.

Maslach
and Leiter (1997) and Maslach et al. (2001) conceptualized engagement as
opposite or the positive antithesis to the three burnout dimensions:
exhaustion, cynicism, and sense of inefficacy. Schaufeli et al. (2002) provided
a third approach for employee engagement, asserting that job engagement and
burnout were independent states of mind and inversely related to each other.
They defined engagement as a positive, fulfilling, work related state of mind
that is characterized by vigour, dedication, and absorption. Vigour refers to
the feeling of physical energy, emotional strength, willingness to invest
effort, and endurance of difficulties. Dedication is characterized by a sense
of significance, enthusiasm, inspiration, pride, and challenge. Finally,
absorption refers to the state of being so completely concentrated and highly
engrossed in work that an employee feels time passes quickly and has
difficulties detaching from work (Schaufeli et al., 2002). Wellins
and Concelman (2005) suggested that engagement is „„an amalgamation of
commitment, loyalty, productivity and ownership. ?? Wellins and Concelman
(2005) further said that engagement is „„the illusive force that motivates
employees to higher (or lower) levels of performance.”

 A company can have the best reward system,
training and development, and human resource (HR) policies, but if people do
not feel good about themselves then neither can behavior change, nor training
be effective. Getting employees? commitment and loyalty is not easy. It is not
about giving to get, either.  Employees
are not stupid. They know when the conditions are true and when it is right to
give their all for the company. Thus, it is inferred that engagement is both
psychological and physical presence of employees in the organizations while
occupying different roles. Employee Engagement is also understood as emotional
and intellectual commitment to the organization (Shawand Fairpunt, 2005) and
also the amount of discretionary effort exhibited by employees in their job
(Frank et al.,2004). As per Robinson et al. (2006) Employee Engagement is „one
step up from commitment?. On the other hand, it can be deduced that employee
engagement is not a new thing rather a trend with different appearance or some
might call “old wine in a new bottle” Saks (2006). 

 From the above views of different researchers
and understanding in general, it can be concluded that employee engagement is a
psychological construct, although, in research literature it is not very
precise, rather commonly it is used to refer to both role performance and an
effective state. It is actually much deeper than simply an incentive program.
If management wants more performance from employees, then it becomes necessary
to understand how they are engaged with work environment, what factors are
influencing on employee engagement.

CONCEPTUAL FRAME WORK OF EMPLOYEE
ENGAGEMENT:

Definitions:

            Perrin’s
Global Workforce Study (2003) uses the definition “employees’ willingness and
ability to help their company succeed, largely by providing discretionary
effort on a sustainable basis.” According to the study, engagement is affected
by many factors which involve both emotional and rational factors relating to
work and the overall work experience.

Gallup
organization defines employee engagement as the involvement with and enthusiasm
for work.Gallup as cited by Dernovsek (2008) likens employee engagement to a
positive employees’ emotional attachment and employees’ commitment.

Robinson
et al. (2004) define employee engagement as “a positive attitude held by the
employee towards the organization and its value. An engaged employee is aware
of business context, and works with colleagues to improve performance within
the job for the benefit of the organization. The organization must work to
develop and nurture engagement, which requires a two-way relationship between
employer and employee.”

 

Importance of employee engagement:

            Promoting
engagement among the employees is done by leveraging the three sources of
influence for chance; that is leaders, employees as well as organizational
strategies and systems. Organizations must be willing to tap into the workers’
commitment, passion and their identification with the company (Wellins, 2009).
This can also be done through building trust between the employees and open
communication (3M, 2009).

 Some of the factors that are employed to
engage and retain employees include; a culture of respect, mentoring and
feedback, professional and advanced development, appropriate reward, effective
leadership, job expectations, tools to finish work responsibilities and finally,
motivation (Greenberg, 2009; Elton 2007).Thus Employee Engagement has become
vital so as to motivate the employees to work with commitment, going beyond
their formal role requirements and making the climate of organisations more
human centered and emotionally connected.

Elements of Employee Engagement

The
term employee engagement has been defined by various researchers. A commonly
agreed upon definition would be physical, psychological or emotional
involvement of the employee while at work. Four things are important when we
talk about employee engagement; commitment, motivation, loyalty and trust.
Their level determines the quality of engagement of an employee. 

Commitment:
Commitment means the degree to which individuals associate themselves with the
job, the responsibilities and the organisational objectives. Engaged employees
are those who are fascinated by their work and committed to face every
challenge to attain their goals. They are dependable and highly productive and
therefore, are accountable for what they do.

Motivation:
Up till recently it was believed that the biggest motivation is achievement.
The reverse is also true, which means achievement results in more motivation.
If employees put in their 100 percent efforts to take their organisation to the
next level, this attained status motivates them more than anything. Proper
rewards and recognitions can further motivate them to achieve more and more for
their organisation.

Loyalty:
Employees who are actively engaged in their work show more loyalty towards the
organisation. The best part is that they need less focus and attention of
managers to perform their task as they themselves feel accountable for their
job responsibilities and results attained. However, it doesn’t take much time
for actively engaged employees to turn into disengaged employees if the
organisation doesn’t have a well-established reward system.

Trust:
High levels of employee engagement can be fostered only when trust prevails in
the organisation from both the sides. As they share strong emotional bond with
the organisation, the latter should also show trust in their abilities.
Employees must be given autonomy to perform their tasks their way. They should
not be restricted to a specific rules and regulations and therefore, should be
motivated to perform their task in a different and innovative manner.

Employee Engagement and
Organizational Performance:

 Why should companies invest in employee
engagement? The answer is because employee engagement is interwoven
significantly with important business outcomes. In this part we will see how
employee engagement impacts organizational performance in the light of various
research works done.

Studies
have found positive relationship between employee engagement and organizational
performance outcomes: employee retention, productivity, profitability, customer
loyalty and safety. Researches also indicate that the more engaged employees
are, the more likely their employer is to exceed the industry average in its
revenue growth. Employee engagement is found to be higher in double-digit
growth companies. Research also indicates that engagement is positively related
to customer satisfaction (Coffman, 2000; Ellis and Sorensen, 2007; Towers
Perrin Talent Report, 2003; Hewitt Associates, 2004; Heintzman and Marson,
2005; Coffman and Gonzalez-Molina, 2002). 

Engaged
employee consistently demonstrates three general behaviours which improve
organizational performance:

·        
Say-the employee advocates for the
organization to co-workers, and refers potential employees and customers

·        
Stay-the employee has an intense desire to
be a member of the organization despite opportunities to work elsewhere

·        
Strive-the employee exerts extra time,
effort and initiative to contribute to the success of the business (Baumruk and
Gorman, 2006)

What
will happen to an organization if its employees are disengaged? Employees who
are not engaged are likely to be spinning (wasting their effort and talent on
tasks that may not matter much), settling (certainly do not show full
commitment, not dissatisfied enough to make a break) and splitting (they are
not sticking around for things to change in their organization), have far more
misgivings about their organization in terms of performance measures such as
customer satisfaction (Blessing White, 2006; Perrin Report, 2003). Meere (2005)
based on the survey conducted by ISR on 360000 employees from 41 companies in
the world’s 10 economically strong countries finds that both operating margin
and net profit margins reduced over a three-year period in companies with low
engagement, while these measures increased over the specified period in
companies with high levels of engagement.

Financial
News, March 2001, as cited by Accord Management Systems (2004), reveals that
disengaged employees are more likely to cost their organization. According to
the report, Employees who are disengaged:

·        
Miss an average of 3.5 more days per year

·        
Are less productive

·        
Cost the US economy $292 to $355 billion
per year

Employee Engagement Practices in
IT/ITES sector:

HCL
prides in its “campus organization”. HCL gets young minds fresh from the
campuses and groom them so that they attain leadership positions within the
organization. The catching up exercise for such youth lacking experience is
done by training and development arm of HCL Info Systems. The training in HCLI
is identified based on the individual, organizational and customer needs. They
have strict parameters for measuring performance, as performance in HCLI is
measured on a daily basis and recorded in their systems. HCL was one of the
first in India to talk about Employees Stock Option Plans (ESOPs), which they
braced in 1988 and by 2005 all employees were covered under the scheme. 

Ajuba
Solutions India Pvt Ltd has pioneered and succeeded with the concept of
“loyalty interviews” (as opposed to traditional exit interview) to find out
what is it that makes its employees engaged with their firm. This feedback from
loyal employees is taken as a reflection on the leadership style and is seen to
work as a great motivator

RMSI
is a Noida-based company which provides high-end Geographic Information System
(GIS), modelling and analytical services. Mutual Admiration (MAD) is an event
where employee is given green cardboard leaving on which they scribble messages
of appreciation and pin them onto the MAD tree in the cafeteria. The leaves are
a way of reaching out to colleagues and teams who have mattered. And at the end
of the week, the foliage gets thick. Surely, the employees like being around
each other.

 Lenovo India has a work environment built in a
manner that employees get the opportunities to reinvigorate themselves. The
company has a fun initiative club and simple initiatives like nominating
employee of the month and celebrating their birthdays which tend to boost
employee morale.

Employee engagement programs in Private
Banks:

Organizations
are focusing more and more on employee engagement programs and are taking
initiatives to make their employees engaged.

·        
Employees and Their Families – Family Day

·        
Treating employees as a member of the
company by giving a day off on their Birthday and anniversaries

·        
Provide play and Meditation courts for the
employees to combat the work stress. • Star of the Week or Month awards

·        
Employees Kids participating in Painting
Competition

·        
Festival Celebration – Diwali Dhamaka

·        
Yoga Session

·        
Self-Management Workshop – Art of Living

·        
Create a culture of fun & spark at
work

·        
Promote & recognize team performance,
system adherence

·        
Excellence in execution along with
consequence management

·        
Evolve an employee friendly & business
focused policy

·        
Processes & systems with high degree
of automation

CONCLUSION:

Employee
Engagement is a positive attitude held by the employees towards the organization
and its values. It is rapidly gaining popularity and importance in the
workplace and impacts organizations in many ways. An organization should thus
recognize employees, more than any other variable, as powerful contributors to
its competitive position. It has been observed that organisations with higher
levels of employee engagement outperform their competitors in terms of
profitability. 

 Engaged employees can help the organization
achieve its mission, execute its strategy and generate important business
results. They give their companies crucial competitive advantages— including
higher productivity, customer satisfaction and lower employee turnover. Therefore,
employee engagement should be a continuous process of learning, improvement,
measurement and action. The relationship between employee engagement and
organizational outcomes would be stronger if better measures are used. Thus,
organisations need to understand how different employees are affected by
different factors of engagement and focus on those, in order to achieve the
strategic outcomes as well as to improve overall effectiveness.