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Employee Engagement and Employee Relationship

Introduction

The workplace ought to bear the right conditions for the employees to produce the best in the organization as they strive to achieve the set goals and objectives. Employee engagement is often confused with employee satisfaction. Whereas the former is concerned with the motivation of workers besides ensuring that they get committed to doing what is right for the best interests of the entity; the latter infers to the level of contentment or happiness that is manifest in the employees of an entity. The concept of employee engagement heavily relies on communication, integrity, and trust between the organization and the employees engaged. It is hence one of the innovative and creative ways through which organizations can increase their chances of achieving more productivity, profitability, organizational success as well as individual well-being (Daniels, 2012).

For the employee, engagement entails the recognition that he or she knows perfectly well what is expected of him or her. Additionally, the employee needs to understand how the organization fulfills its purpose, objectives and core strategies. More importantly, as a member of an organization, an employee ought to recognize that he has a voice that should be heard during decision-making. Employee engagement is therefore all about getting involved fully in every detail of the organization’s objectives and goals. An engaged worker is thus focused on clear goals, more trusted, empowered, recognized for superb achievement, assisted in developing appropriate skills, and receives regular and constructive feedback (Rose, 2008).

Organizations that are strongly engaged are perceived as those with a clear cut evidence of mutual respect based on fairness, and trust among the employees. Additionally, the commitments and promises between the employer and the employees are clearly understood and worked upon for the betterment of the organization. For the employers, employee engagement should be about constructing positive attitudes as well as creating desirable behaviors which ultimately lead to successful business outcomes. In a nutshell, employers should ensure that they create an environment that will make the workers feel pride in serving the interests of their organizations. By so doing, the workers will become great and staunch defenders, advocates and ambassadors of the company to their clients. They will further walk an extra mile to ensure that they finish an assigned task right on time (Foot & Hook, 2011).

Employee engagement moreover entails the drawing of an organization’s employees’ knowledge and unique skills in a bid to improve productivity and quality of services and products for the satisfaction of clients’ needs. Engaged employees are identified to be more creative and innovative hence highly productive. Besides innovativeness, high engagement increases the level of commitment from the workers such that few are absent, the cases of accident and conflict at the workplace decline. Conflict resolution becomes natural because the staff are involved nearly in every step of decision making, especially those decisions that affect them directly. More importantly, an engaged organization is consistent in its actions and dealings, giving promises it can keep or provide valid explanation for failure to keep promises (Daniels, 2012).

Creating the Culture of Engagement

It is every organization’s dream to have a successful business and therefore the need to emphasize employee engagement. The concept of employee engagement is gaining traction among the twenty first century organizations mainly because different firms have understood that a more engaged staff has more benefits to offer. An engaged entity would certainly achieve lower production costs, increased quality of services and products, improved customer satisfaction hence better returns for a company’s operations (Torrington, Hall & Taylor, 2010). Employee engagement can be achieved through a number of ways of which are listed below;

Emphasis on employee training and onboarding: More often majority of the organizations recruit employees and fail to train them to perfect on their skills. Some lay off those who fail to meet targets on time. However, it would be very difficult and complicated for an employee who lacks grip and handle of his or her responsibilities to get involved. To reduce confusion and frustration in the workplace, employers should hence train its employees to increase their productivity (Lewis & Sargeant, 2009). It is proven that workers who can master their responsibilities have a better chance and opportunity to take joy in what they are doing. Thus to engage employees, it I important to organize onboarding and training experience to fresh hires. Onboarding programs give the employer and the employees the chance to establish proper working relationship while the workers acquire skills that enable them to perform their duties effectively (Marchington, Mick & Wilkinson, 2008).

Setting achievable and realistic company goals: The operation of a successful firm requires the creation of a strategic business plan. The business plan obviously should contain goals and objectives that are developed with the full involvement of organizational employees. A futuristic entity that wishes to engage even more its staff can begin by setting both short, medium, and long term goals which its employees can work towards. The feeling of attaining or achieving the set goals is in itself encouraging and motivating (Taneja, Sewell & Odom, 2015).

Appraising and recognizing employees: Employees will become more engaged when the organization gets to acknowledge their performance. It is important that workers know that their employer appreciates their input towards the attainment of organizational objectives and goals. Therefore the need to develop and create a culture of respect and friendship among the employees of any particular entity. Acknowledging employees does not mean that the organization pours praise every little thing that workers perform. In that regard, it is important for the management of companies to come up with performance appraisal system which is equitable (Lewis & Sargeant, 2009).

Prioritizing employee development: Apart from the salary benefits that an employee who applies for a position in a given organization, many employees accept a similar position in order to advance their careers. According to research, up to 70% of employees confess that job development is top in their list of career aspirations. In that regard, the employees would want to be exposed to challenging tasks and roles which motivate them to become innovative. In order to reduce boredom in the workplace, the organization can add more duties to a worker’s position as well as exercise job rotation so that workers get to perform various duties and add value to the organization (Taneja, Sewell & Odom, 2015).

Avoid micromanagement: when employees are given exactly what they need to do and how to perform it, they will never have adequate time to engage with the duty assigned. Rather, the management should assign challenging tasks that require unique skills. This will motivate the employee to work extra hard to meet the assigned targets. Micromanaging makes employees behave like robots since they do not have the freedom they desire to successfully execute their mandate. More significantly, micromanagement in the workplace is likely to bring down the level of productivity due to lost morale (Gennard & Judge, 2010).

Employee Engagement In Terms Of Managerial Styles and Frameworks

Organization use talent management in order to achieve some of their goals, such as competitive advantage, retention, and increase productivity. For the purpose of this paper we will focus on one aspect of talent management, motivation, that leads to some of these desired organizational outcomes and take it a step further by approaching it through the engagement lens. Engagement impacts various organizational outcomes, such as retention and productivity (Lewis & Sargeant, 2009). To accomplish their talent management goals, organizations must move beyond employee motivation strategies and towards increasing the levels of employee engagement. Having engaged employees has become crucial in a time where organizations look to their employees to take initiative, bring innovation, and be proactive with solutions to current needs. Organizational leaders are in the position to increase their employees’ engagement levels and do more than just motivate them (Foot & Hook, 2011).

The tone and culture of any organization is set by the leaders who happen to be influence the manner in which subjects attain the set goals and objectives. A leader can only be identified to be effective if he or she can be able influence the subjects to successfully achieve organizational objectives. There is therefore a clear and distinct difference between managers and leaders. Whereas leaders provide direction on their followers to initiate change while managers are in charge of creating order and consistency (Taneja, Sewell & Odom, 2015).

Autocratic Leadership

An autocratic leader is defined as one uses his or her express authority to make any decision of grave significance in the organization. Autocratic leaders therefore more often employ strict guidelines, procedures, and policies on their employees. The style is therefore considered authoritarian and befitting to employees who often require constant guidelines, supervision and reprove to perform their duties (Taylor, 2011). However, employees who are creative and innovative do not perform well under this leadership style because they are ever seeking autonomy hence more likely to become disengaged. Autocratic leadership style is however not common in today’s organizations since it is more often associated with military. 

Democratic Leadership

The style describes a leader who will always prefer to engage and involve employees in every step of decision-making. Such a leader would always aspire to delegate roles and duties to junior members in a bid to nurture their leadership skills. Despite delegation of duties, this leader will ultimately take responsibility for any misgivings. More often, democratic leaders employ dialogue to bring all members on board. The leadership style will favor employees that are autonomy seeking in the pursuit of completion of assigned duties and roles. A democratic leader more importantly will have to ensure that the workers are provided with the opportunity to share their views regarding issues of contention.

Laissez-Faire Leadership

The leadership style believes that the employees can work without supervision because they well understand what they ought to perform. Workers are granted the opportunity to exercise prudence in their dealings. Whereas this leadership style may possibly work better with highly trained and self-motivated employees, it can hinder those that require some supervision. Another potential drawback laissez-faire style is that feedback on performance tends to become more infrequent (Gennard & Judge, 2010).

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leaders often seeks to bring on board both the employees and the leader to discuss on issues that require alteration to make the workplace a better environment to operate. As a transformational leader, one is responsible for inspiring his or her team hence creating a vision that shall assist in ensuring the change is eventually achieved (Rose, 2008).

Transformational leaders are therefore seen as valuable assets that can propel any entity that is fixated at rapid growth and improvement. More often, leaders of this caliber act as role models who inspire and motivate subordinates to take ownership of their responsibilities. It stands to reason, however, that individuals who are averse to change are less likely to be engaged under a transformational leader. For instance, organizations such as Johnson and Johnson have begun developing training programs for leaders around transformational leadership and engagement related topics. Transformational leaders display behaviors that can potentially impact the level of engagement in their employees. As a human resource developing strategy, training programs for leaders should emphasize that this move towards developing transformational leadership skills is not merely a human resource initiative but an organizational development initiative that must be adopted on a daily basis (Gennard & Judge, 2010).

Transactional Leadership

This leadership style is entirely centered on performance. In that regard, employees are assigned duties which they have to accomplish in order to receive rewards upon successful completion of assigned tasks. Some of the advantages of a transactional leadership style include frequent feedback, clear expectations, and opportunities for corrections. However, while a transformational leadership style can promote growth and improvement within the organization, a transactional leadership style tends to favor status quo. This form of leadership can achieve very good employee engagement with those who are motivated by receiving rewards like bonuses (Foot & Hook, 2011).

Engagement is considered a complicated process which organizations need to take time to fully develop. Also entities must start utilizing all the tools available to their disposal in a bid to increase the employee engagement levels. The above literature reviewed basically provides and in-depth insight into the various leadership behaviors that are more conducive to increasing engagement in the workplace as well as those behaviors that detract from it. It is again deduced that leaders play a crucial role in the development of an engagement culture through the projection of ideals and characteristics that are tied to engagement drivers, such as being supportive, and providing a vision to the employees that go beyond short term goals but the long term goals of the organization (Taylor, 2011). Organizations need to develop comprehensive strategies for executives that will provide them the tools to develop the skills for building trust, sharing their vision, and creating effective relationships between employees and the organization. Leaders who apply these skills are perceived more positively by their employees.

As a result, employees develop higher levels of organizational commitment and increase productivity levels. Leaders should understand the impact they have on employees and the importance of building a vision for the future with each employee. In addition, leaders that are confident and have higher levels of self-efficacy, such as transformational leaders, will be able to foster engagement in their employees more effectively than those with lower self-efficacy. Giving the employees a vision of the organization and how the employee fits within it, beyond just motivating them to complete the task at hand, will create a more productive workforce (Gennard & Judge, 2010).

Conclusion

In a turbulent environment, many factors contribute towards the delivering of sustainable employee growth and organizational profitability. Knowing how to manage talent in order to increase engagement is a skill that human resource professionals are encouraging leaders at all levels to have. Knowing how to increase the level of engagement in your workforce is an important talent management skill in order to prevent having a disengaged workforce. Transformational leaders display the behaviors, such as supportive management, displaying a vision that is related to increasing employees’ level of engagement. Bingham, (2016), found that one of the factors that increase engagement is supportive management, which is also another trait that transformational leaders have.

In addition found that exceptional leaders (who demonstrate the same characteristics as transformational leaders) will create the environment that fosters engaged employees. Both of these findings with leadership styles and increasing levels of employee engagement depict characteristics of transformational leaders. Future research should further explore the relationship between transformational leaders and employee engagement and measure the level of engagement of employees with transformational leaders versus those employees that are under the direction of leaders with other leadership styles. In conclusion, employees who are more engaged with their work are more likely to behave in positive ways, to the benefit of both the firm and themselves. It is also argued that engaged employees outperform others by showing heightened interest in their work and being prepared to ‘go the extra mile’ for their organization.

References

Bingham, C. (2016). Employment Relations: Fairness and Trust in the Workplace. Sage.

Daniels, K. (2012). Employment Law: An Introduction for HR and Business Students (3rd Ed.). London: CIPD

Foot, M. & Hook, C. (2011). Introducing Human Resource Management, 6th Edn. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Gennard, J. & Judge, G. (2010). Managing Employment Relations. London: CIPD

Lewis, D. & Sargeant, M. (2009). Essentials of employment law. 10th ed. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. 

Marchington, Mick & Wilkinson, Adrian (2008). Human Resource Management at Work, 4th edn. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Rose, E. (2008). Employment relations. London: FT/Prentice Hall

Taneja, S., Sewell, S. S., & Odom, R. Y. (2015). A culture of employee engagement: A strategic perspective for global managers. Journal of Business Strategy36(3), 46-56.

Taylor, S. (2011). Contemporary Issues in Human Resource Management. London: CIPD.

Torrington, D., Hall, L. & Taylor, S. (2010). Human Resource Management, 8th edition,    FT/Prentice-Hall.

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