• Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:16 am

OP-ED: Five ways to build employee engagement

  • Published at 05:52 pm September 20th, 2020

How employers can help workers become more dedicated

Whatever your occupation, you may have noticed that some of your colleagues are energetic and passionate about their job, while others appear bored and disinterested. The difference between them is known as “employee engagement” and can be seen in everyone from a passionate lecturer to an enthusiastic flight attendant.

Work engagement has been described as a “positive motivational state of mind characterized by vigour, dedication, and absorption.” During this state, employees are said to be physically and mentally resilient, enthusiastic, and happily immersed in their activity. They may also feel tired, but even this comes with a satisfactory feeling of accomplishment.

So why are some employees so positively engaged while others are not? 

This can be explained by the “job demand-resources” theory, which claims that possession of “resources” is what drives a person to become engaged. These resources aren’t necessarily related to money or perks, but can be anything that helps employees achieve their goals at work, promote their personal growth, or reduce stress.

My recent study on employee engagement among academics identified some specific ways employers can try to build employee engagement. Here are five things for company bosses to consider:

1. Organizational support 

Valuing an employee’s contribution by trusting them to take on new and more significant roles in the organization is essential for making an employee engaged in their work. A promotion, for example, is one way an employee could feel rewarded, but it should be accompanied by recognition from colleagues, not just senior management.

In practice, this means that praise for creative or transformative ideas should not be given behind closed doors, but made known to other employees. Employees also feel valued when an organization cares about their well-being. This, in turn, makes employees ready to work harder. When someone feels valued by a company, they tend to value the company in return.

2. Constructive feedback 

Providing clear guidance on what an employee needs to do to improve their work creates a greater understanding of how they can achieve goals. It also encourages them to work harder but under reduced stress.

3. Fairness 

When employees feel that both the material rewards and the procedures for getting them are fair, this in itself becomes a resource because they can determine the extent to which they are rewarded by adjusting their efforts. This gives employees the incentive to work harder.

4. Job characteristics 

The way a job is designed is likely to influence the extent to which an employee feels they have control of their work and their potential to achieve goals. Clarity, in terms of a role and requirements, offers autonomy and a reason to feel motivated and engaged.

5. Training and development 

Providing adequate training to employees enables them to build skills that enhance their performance. This makes them feel positive, more confident, and less inhibited -- and on their way to full engagement.

Personal benefits

My study also found several factors relating to employee engagement that are not in the control of an employer. Instead, they rely on the personal resources of the employees themselves.

These include the “intrinsic motivation” of an employee who feels a sense of satisfaction from just doing a job (and not from external benefits such as pay or prestige) and is more likely to experience the state of work engagement than those who are driven by external rewards. 

Also, positive emotions have been found to broaden the mind and improve resilience, which can foster a sense of optimism and boost self-esteem in employees.

It’s worth noting, too, that engagement at work is by no means confined to paid employment. Experiencing a state of work engagement can occur (and bring benefits to) a variety of situations. 

A student working on an assignment, a musician trying to compose a new piece, and even a toddler trying to take their first wobbly steps are all examples of activities aided by a state of work engagement.

And while a positive state of employee engagement has benefits for organizations because it improves performance at work, the far greater benefit is to a person’s physical and mental well-being -- and as a gateway to unleashing true human potential.

Rweyemamu Ndibalema is a Lecturer in Management, University of Birmingham. This article first appeared in The Conversation and has been reprinted under special arrangement.

blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail