Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Is Employee Engagement Hired or Developed?


It’s estimated that US businesses lose an average of $300 billion annually because of disengaged employees. Is the problem in the hiring process or companies develop the disengagement of their employees?

According to Dr. John Sullivan it is difficult to know whether you are “hiring engagement” (as a result of the cultural assessment during the hiring process) or later developing, as new hires are not given an engagement survey during on-boarding

Even though firms are currently experiencing talent shortages due to gaps between required  and possessed skills of employees, it is common to observe that high-potential employees quit their new job either during training or immediately afterwards as a result of breach of the psychological contract.





Amy Wrzesniewski, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour explained in one of her studies that the levels of engagement can significantly vary between people (regardless of the position they hold) who experience their work as a job (focus on financial rewards and necessity rather than pleasure or fulfilment; not a major positive part of life), and people who have turned their “jobs” into careers (focus on advancement) or callings (focus on enjoyment of fulfilling, socially useful work)
  • Job – Employees who view their  jobs as “nothing more than jobs” are generally satisfied, fulfil their responsibilities and they work to receive the pay and/or benefits to support their personal life. They usually do not connect their job  to the success of the company therefore are not engaged.
  • Career — Employees who see their jobs as careers are focused on self-improvement and achievement of the social standing. They contribute to the overall success of the company but their potential is not fully achieved therefore their engagement is not high.
  • Calling — Employees who feel a connection between their personal values and their work ( company goals, values, and objectives) generally see their employment as a calling. According to professor Wrzesniewski  individuals with a calling orientation are more likely to find their work meaningful leveraging their talents as they contribute to the success of their company.  Their engagement levels are high.
Based on this research all the people are able to view “jobs” as callings if they choose to have this mindset. Then what should employers do to achieve the calling mindset in their employees minds?

There is no single answer however creating happy, and productive  workforce should be of managerial focus from the beginning of hiring process starting with job ads; recruitment process,  talent acquisition and development.  Good internal communication systems, regular performance reviews and strong employee recognition programs in light of the changing business environment will also help the employer to retain the top-performing employees . Remember just as an employer wants to attract, retain and develop the best talent possible; employees want to chose their “ great place to work”  and work for the best company available. 

For more information about employee engagement listen to the comment of Cees Van der Vlugt, VP HR Europe , Sharp Electronics, UK or learn more at  Kakushingroup website.

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