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Employee Engagement - why it's important

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The importance of employee engagement can’t be overstated – employee engagement strategies have been proven to reduce staff turnover, improve productivity and efficiency, retain customers at a higher rate, and make more profit. Most importantly, both at work and in your personal life -  when you’re engaged it infuses everything you do with purpose, energy, and enthusiasm.

Contrary to popular belief, employee engagement is not a single concept; instead it consists of different levels, ranging from the job to the organisation. Each level of engagement motivates different beneficial organisational outcomes and is predicted by a unique set of drivers. 

Employee engagement can be created organically through well-established management constructs such as commitment, organisational citizenship behaviour, job involvement and job satisfaction.  Some suggest that employee engagement is just a re-badging of these constructs. At a very basic level there are correlations between engagement and measurements of concepts such as commitment.

Employee engagement starts with high level decision-making. Leaders and managers must adopt policies that will encourage engagement. This means not only implementing the right tools and processes, but actively participating in a company-wide cultural change.

The Psychological contract

CIPD (2020) defines the term 'psychological contract' as referring to individuals’ expectations, beliefs, ambitions and obligations, as perceived by the employer and the worker.  The psychological contract is based on an employees’ sense of trust and fairness and their belief that they employer is honouring the agreement between the organisation and its employees.  Where an organisation applies the fundamentals of a psychological contract, the employee receives a sense of fairness and inclusion.  

Even if the organisation applies strategies that may affect the psychological contract, the method used along with involvement of employees may still impact the sense of trust and fairness.  This trust and feeling of fair treatment is essential to being engaged as an employee.  Breaches of the psychological contract without trust and fairness is the quickest way to take an employee from being engaged to being disengaged.  Compared to the ease in which that is done, there’s a huge amount of work involved to reverse it.

What can you do?

Organisations must decide what engagement means to them, in order to effectively measure and improve it. There are multiple drivers of job and organisational engagement which organisations can incorporate into a holistic strategy and embed into people management practices and systems.

Using diagnostic measures to get to know your employees and an evidence-based approach to improve engagement will put organisations in a far better position to achieve their desired outcomes. However, there is no one ‘magic solution’ - the combination of drivers that will be effective will differ over time and context, therefore HR must consider the whole package within the specific context of the organisation.

Fostering employee engagement is an organic and socially responsible way to boost productivity. A win-win solution, it benefits everyone, for all types of organisation hierarchies.

If you need further advice on employee engagement please call us now for a friendly chat about your needs.