Understanding Employee Engagement - Definition and its Origin
Organizations have come to realize that in today’s constantly changing business scenario, the most valuable resource
that needs to be leveraged is human resource. This means not just attracting the crème-de-la-crème and retaining them
but keeping them motivated and committed to achieving the organization goals.
Though Employee Engagement (EE) as a business buzzword has generated research and steam since the new economy
service industries like IT (Information Technology) and ITES (IT enables services) have taken off, the origins of
engagement are as old as mankind itself.
We shall try and decode and define employee engagement as used and implemented by organizations today by looking
at the very origins of engagement practices.
Origin of Employee Engagement
History records that about 2300 years ago, Alexander (356 BC – 323 BC) was able to march ahead and conquer unknown
lands by battling for years across continents, miles away from home, because he had an engaged army that was willing to
abide by its commander.
Alexander is known to have achieved the engaged workforce by ensuring that he spent face time with his men, listening and
addressing grievance, ensuring on time payment of salary, dressing like the rest of his army and most importantly by leading
More recently, in World War II, Americans funded a lot of money for researching the behaviour of its soldiers to be able to
predict their battle readiness.
History is dotted with examples of leaders who have led their men by building a psychological commitment between their men
and their ideology to achieve greatness. In this psychological contract lies the roots of today’s Employee Engagement theories
propounded by organizations.
Definition of Employee Engagement
An engaged workforce produces better business results, does not hop jobs and more importantly is an ambassador of the
organization at all points of time. This engagement is achieved when people consider their organization respects their work,
their work contributes to the organization goals and more importantly their personal aspirations of growth, rewards and pay are
The Hay Group defines enagaged performance as “a result that is achieved by stimulating employees’ enthusiasm for their work
and directing it toward organization success. This result can only be achieved when employers offer an implicit contract to their
employees that elicits specific positive behaviours aligned with organization’s goals...”
Lanphear defines EE as “the bond employees have with their organization” Lanphear further espouses that “when employees
really care about the business, they are more likely to go the extra mile.”
The definitions, as seen, focus on employer as well as the employee. Today’s millennial workforce is more informed, connected,
willing to work given learning opportunities. Personal growth, opportunities to learn and explore is becoming a primary driver.
Equity more then pay is a driving force. Catering to the changing needs to foster engaged employees is the need of the hour.
In conclusion, understanding employee engagement drivers, measuring and enhancing engagement offers promise of better
business performance by ambassadors of the organization who work like entrepreneurs and help sustain organization growth
through innovation and lower employee turnover
Process of Employee Engagement
This is the hardcore fact that the future business performance and revenues and profitability of an organisation no longer
depends upon traditional capital management and investment and portfolio management. But the success of any
organisation in this constantly changing world of work depends upon human capital management. The companies who
understood this fact long before are the most successful and highly productive organisations of the currents times. Those
who have just realised it are still struggling to establish a reputation in the industry.
Since the mantra of success of any organisation is the higher involvement, engagement and dedication of employees
towards their jobs and their continuous performance to attain more, it is necessary to keep their spirits high, motivate
them to perform their best always and generate a breed of satisfied and dedicated employees. Employee Engagement is
not a onetime process that can quickly bring results; rather it is an ending process that will go on till the existence of an
As it is an established fact that there is a clear link between organisational performance and employee engagement, every
organisation seeking sustenance and growth in the ever changing world of work quickly respond to the needs of employees
along with designing and implementing a customised process to increase the levels of employee engagement. The following are
a few basic steps in this process based on the best industry practices.
1. Prepare and Design: The first step in the process is about discovering the specific requirements of your organisation and
deciding the priorities. After that a customised design of carrying the whole process can be designed. It is recommended
to seek advice of expert management consultant in order to increase the chances of getting it done right at the first
2. Employee Engagement Survey: Design the questions of the employee engagement survey and deploy it with the help of
an appropriate media. It can be either in printed form or set online depending upon the comfort level of the employees
and your questionnaire evaluation process.
3. Result Analysis: It is the most important step in the entire process. It is time when reports are to be analysed to find out
what exactly motivates employees to perform their best and what actually disengages them and finally compels them to
leave the organisation. The results and information can then be delivered through presentations.
4. Action Planning: ‘How to turn the results of the survey in to an action’ is a challenging question that organisations need
to deal with the utmost care. Coaching of line managers as well as HR professionals is very important in order to tell
them how to take appropriate actions to engage employees. They should also be told about do’s and don’ts so that they
can successfully implement the changes.
5. Action Follow-up: Action follow up is necessary in order to find out if the action has been taken in the right direction or
not and if it is producing the desired results.
With this, communication and project management processes are the backbone of the entire employee engagement process.
Communication involves plan follow-up, providing timely information and involvement of each level of organisational hierarchy.
The project management process includes careful planning, watchful resource management, vigilant budget control and
monitoring the actions.
Benefits of Employee Engagement
History records how Alexander was able to march on and conquer hitherto unknown lands due his valour and his
motivated troops. However, the same history also records, how dissent amongst his troops towards the latter part of his
career, cut short his ambitions of supremacy in Asia.
Alexander started hiring more outsiders, laying off his tired troops and more significantly punishing open feedback by his
men. His actions, at the latter part his conquest, were in stark contrast to his initial techniques which had been successful
in fostering a sense of belonging among his men. This led to dissent and ultimately dealt a huge blow to Alexander’s
In today’s business context, let us look at the cost of a disengaged workforce to better understand the significance of
Cost of Disengaged Workforce
The findings of the Gallup Study of 2008 show that while the engaged employees believe they can contribute to company’s
growth, the disengaged employee believes otherwise, i.e. his job does not contribute to the organization. This belief of the
disengaged employee creates a negative spiral that affects his work, co-workers, customers, productivity, and eventually both
happiness of employee and company performance. Some effects are illustrated below:
1. Effect on Work - The disengaged employee tries to evade work, struggles to meet deadlines and is reluctant to accept
2. Effect on Co-Workers - The negativity of a disengaged employee, demonstrated either through raves and rants or
complete withdrawal from participation, affects the team morale. After all who has not heard of the proverb - one bad
apple can spoil the whole bunch.
3. Effect on Customers - Every employee, whether an organization likes it or not, becomes its ambassador. And a
disengaged employee either by actively de-selling the organization, or by complete apathy towards their work, product,
process, organization help create disengaged customers.
4. Effects on Productivity - Disengaged employees seldom push themselves to meet organizational goals let alone
contribute to innovative practices at workplace. Since, they do not believe that their work contributes to the
organization; they evade completing tasks thereby affecting team productivity.
5. Effect on Company Performance - In the corporate world, time is money and organizations must innovate to stay
relevant. A disengaged workforce by virtue of delayed completion of tasks and inability to improvise and innovate cost
the company dollars which ultimately affects bottom line. This has been validated by a Gallup Study whose research
showed that costs of disengaged workforce in the United States was upwards of $300bn annually.
6. Effect on Personal Life of Employee - A disengaged employee is seldom able to shake off the lethargy and perform in the
current organization or land a job of preference. This leads to pent up frustration which may ultimately affect his
personal and family life.
Benefits of an Engaged Workforce
An engaged workforce form an emotional connect with the organization that helps them
1. Go the Extra Mile to Achieve Individual and Company Success
2. Innovate at Workplace
3. Attract customers and employees
4. Become Evangelists of the company, its product and processes
5. Infuse energy and positivity at workplace.
Elements of Employee Engagement
he 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. Each one is briefly discussed in the coming paragraphs.
1. 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.
2. 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. Motivation and
achievement go hand in hand and act as the burning fuels for the success of any organisation.
3. 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. Recognition is a basic
necessity of individuals to remain steered up towards their job.
4. 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 experiment to perform their task in a different and innovative
All these elements play a vital role in determining the fate of an organisation. Besides this, two-way communication to discuss
challenges, potential consequences, vision and values and organisation’s future should be established. In fact, communication is
the backbone of any organisation without which it can’t survive for long. Having an open conversation with employees can solve
the problems that they are facing in executing their job.
Apart from this, organisational culture, a well established and duly followed reward system including compensation, benefits,
stock exchange options and recognition and personal growth and satisfaction of employees are also important factors in
improving the levels of employee engagement
Dimensions of Employee Engagement
The only thing that makes highly productive organisations stand apart from rest of the companies is the quality of the
employees and the level of their commitment towards their work. The vice versa, the trust that an organisation shows in
their employees and efforts that it makes to keep them focussed, motivated and satisfied, also is one of the many
variables that distinguish between highly reputed workplaces and those that are not up to the mark.
Organisations cannot achieve their goals just by defining their mission statement nor can they foster a high performing
work culture until they take substantial steps. They need people to get the jobs done and that too with excellence. For
fulfilling all their goals, organisations require actively engaged employees. Employee engagement happens only in those
organisations which treat their people as their biggest assets and take care of their basic necessities and other
psychological needs. Workplaces that meet all these conditions of employee engagement grow much faster and sustain
much longer that those who fail to meet them.
There are different dimensions of employee engagement that make productive organisations stand apart from the rest and
determine their destiny. Things like what employees get in exchange for the efforts they put to perform the delegated tasks, if
employees are able to perform their best, if they are treated as an important asset or just a means to perform the job and how
they can grow if they stick to their organisation are of great importance. Actually these are emotional elements revealing the
basic employee needs. They would like to contribute only when their efforts are recognised and awarded. Not only this, all they
can also drive them to be more efficient while delivering their jobs.
Dimensions of Employee Engagement
What Do I Get: Employee engagement to an extent depends upon what people get in exchange for performing the job. This
includes basic compensation, benefits, organisational culture and working environment. These are basic elements that motivate
them to join the organisation and perform the given task with complete dedication.
What Do I Give: As it is a two way process, setting clear expectations plays an important role. This helps employees to
understand what exactly they are expected to give the organisation. This includes defining their job responsibilities that they
need to fulfil and tasks that they need to perform. The human resource team and immediate supervisors or managers need to
tell them clearly what they are expected to do. It creates more meaningful relationships among seniors and subordinates and
Do I Belong to the Organisation: Social association is the most basic requirement for anyone. Even employees would like to stay
with the organisation that treats them as their integral part and not just the means to get the job done. ‘My opinions Count’
gives them satisfaction and motivates them to put their best to meet organisational goals.
How Can I Grow: Continuous growth including promotions, salary hikes and rewards and recognition are most essential tools to
retain employees in the organisation. New challenges and opportunities to learn keep them motivated towards their work life
and encourage them to give their best even during crisis.
Phases of Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is a concept that has begun to grab the attention of the corporate world for past few years. When
put simply higher levels of employee engagement mean higher profitability of the organisation.
Employee engagement is critical. Highly productive organisations have understood this fact a long ago where mediocre
and low performing organisations have just started taking it seriously. It makes sense to engage employees and make
them find a meaning in what they do.
Those employees who do not understand what they contribute towards the success of their organisation will not stick to
it for long. They would rather consider leaving in a few months or years as and when they are offered a high-paying job.
Employee engagement is a long term process and goes through various phases describing the level of the engagement,
involvement, attachment and belongingness between employee and employer. These phases of employee engagement
make a continuous cycle that each organisation aiming to achieve increased profitability must undertake.
Phases of Employee Engagement
The first phase of the employee engagement cycle is attracting the best talent from the industry. This phase involves creating a
positive impression about the work culture and employee career as a potential employer. It is all about carefully creating an
authentic, genuine and crafted image as an employer. This is although an indirect yet the first impression that attracts a big pool
of candidates to apply for the job vacancies in an organisation. The first phase is the most important phase of the employee
Another aspect spreading the reputation of an organisation is its employees. They are not only the employees but also are
regarded as internal customers. Their job and career satisfaction speaks about their workplace. Therefore, they should not be
taken for granted. Besides attracting the talent from the outside, it is important to keep the existing employees attracted
towards the organisation.
The acquire image involves more than one thing. It includes (1) the way the potential candidates are interacted while advertising
a position; (2) keeping the promises that were made while hiring them and (3) providing the new joiners a right kind of work
When an organisation advertises a position, interested candidates apply. The way their applications are created, the reaction of
the organisation and the manner in which they are approached speak a lot about the image and work culture of an organisation.
Hiring the best talent not only serves the purpose. During their honeymoon or initial period with the organisation, the company
must try to keep all the promises that were made during the selection process.
Besides this, they should feel happy and satisfied when their expectations are tested against the reality. Providing the right kind
of culture also plays an important role in keeping them engaged.
The whole idea is to prepare them to perform their best by giving them challenging tasks right from the beginning. It’s like
developing a habit or culture right from the time they decide to work with the organisation.
Continuous moving the talent is the last but an unending phase. It not only involves promoting the employees to a higher
designation along with salary increments but also growing them in other tangible and intangible ways. Job rotation can help
them grow in experience, responsibility and belongingness but only when it is done right. Advancing the employees in every
aspect, be it monetary or non-monetary, is the key to retain people and develop their overall personality.
These above are the main phases of an employee engagement cycle where preparation is done much before an employee joins
the organisation. As mentioned earlier, it is not only about attracting, acquiring and retaining the best talent but also deals in
advancing their experience and personality.
Characteristics of Engaged Workforce
The level of employee engagement can be measured by the willingness and ability of employees to contribute to the
success of their organisation. It is their discretionary effort which is an essential element for the good health and well
being of a company.
A highly engaged workforce shows the high level of engagement in their work and is always keen to take up new
challenges in order to bring a positive change or establish a highly conducive work environment. Various studies have
shown that higher level of employee engagement is directly linked to high satisfaction among them, productivity and
profitability of organisation and satisfied and loyal customers.
The model below illustrates a few characteristics of an engaged workforce that play an essential role in the success of any
Mutual Trust: Trust is the base of any organisation. Letting people do their work without telling them how to perform it is one of
the best ways to engage staff. Employees welcome each other’s opinions and find out a wide variety of ways to accomplish a
particular task. A highly engaged workforce doesn’t need directions at each step. They can perform their jobs with mutual help
Job and Career Satisfaction: Job satisfaction is one of the main characteristics of an engaged workforce. The individual who is
satisfied with their career and the way their career graph is raising prefers to stick to the organisation for a very long period of
time. Switching the organisations frequently is not a characteristic of satisfied employee.
Credible Leadership: As mentioned earlier, an engaged workforce doesn’t need directions for performing a specific job from
time to time. Employees know how to do it in the best possible manner. They not only exhibit credible leadership qualities in
routine tasks but also come up with innovative ways to deal with crisis or emergencies.
Focused and Keen to Take up Challenges: An engaged workforce is entirely focused and knows what to do and when. They are
always keen to take up new challenges in order to solve the existing problems in the organisation as well as acquire new skills.
Not only this, they are always keen to learn new things and widening their horizon.
Better Performance: Employee engagement is directly related to better performance. Employee performance is the only way to
measure the engagement, involvement and dedication of employees towards their jobs. If all these factors cannot be
interlinked, there is no meaning of anything. It can be said that the workforce is not engaged or actively disengaged.
Problem Solving Attitude: Engaged workforce not only delivers its job responsibilities but also keeps a problem solving attitude
always. A highly engaged employee displays a sense of belongingness towards the organisation and makes every effort to solve
the problems that pose a hindrance in the organisation’s way of success.
The above mentioned are the essential characteristics of an engaged workforce. However, mutual respect, commitment,
enthusiasm, optimism and discretionary efforts to serve customers better are add-on characteristics that an engaged employee
3 C’s of Employee Engagement
A major percentage of employees find their work boring. Ask HR managers about employee engagement and they have
only one answer: it is the biggest challenge that we are facing today.
Days of huge increase in wages or salaries even in highly productive organisations have gone. It is unable to retain
employees within the organisation for long. Due to this, the HR managers had to come up with other motivators such as
offsite parties and picnics, cricket or football matches on anniversaries and birthdays, cultural festivals, painting and quiz
competitions, crèches for the children of employees, Friday bashes, movie tickets and discount shopping coupons and
Google, the most famous and successful technology firm provide free, healthy and well prepared food to their
employees. The company appoints well qualified and experienced chefs so that their employees can relish awesome food
at work. This is one of the strategies to make employees feel happy at work; however, it alone can’t retain employees for
long. There have to be something else that can motivate people to being involved enthusiastically in their work. They
must have an emotional attachment with their job and company.
Beyond all the above mentioned popular techniques, there are other things that play an important role in enhancing the
engagement levels of employees. The proposed 3 C’s of employee engagement are career, competence and care.
The 3 C’s of Employee Engagement
Career: When individuals join an organisation, they expect to build a career with it. If the top management and immediate
managers spend dedicated time in carving out the careers of its employees, they will feel that they belong to the organisation.
They feel engaged when they receive support from the management in growing their careers.
An organisation can provide its employees with opportunities to grow professionally through job rotations, indulging them in
significant tasks, challenging assignments and promotions. They should also be given a specific level of authority and autonomy
to take their decisions on their own. The organisations prepare an entirely new breed of employees if they genuinely invest in
developing the careers of their people.
Competence: Competence is all about the ability to grow. Regular workshops and training sessions must be held in order to help
employees acquire a higher level of skills and competencies. The focus should be on developing for marketable skills. Most
employees after spending a few months look for competence-boosting opportunities with the organisation so that they can
grow and move to the next level of their careers. While the career focuses on the actual growth in terms of designation, wages
and perks and authority, competence is the ability to grow utilizing the opportunities.
Care: Sitting at the topmost, care is regarded the finest art of the managers by which they can make employees feel an
indispensable part of their organisation. The managers need to be empathetic and sensitive towards people and understand
their personal problems. Showing small day-to-day caring gestures towards employees make them feel that they belong to the
organisation and organisation belongs to them
Key Players in enhancing Employee Engagement
Most companies think that it is their performance management system and appraisal and reward strategies that
enhance the levels of employee engagement. True but partially!
Most companies do not realize that human interaction is perhaps one of the most important elements in keeping the
employees geared up to perform their best and enhance their competency levels. It is not only a basic need but the sole
of an organisation that keeps it going.
Everyone who interacts with employees including top management, senior leaders, immediate supervisors and human
resource team members play a vital role in shaping the mentality of an individual.
Though it is the fact that they need well designed policies and practices to support business functions and other
programmes for enhancing the morale and improving the performance of an employee by enhancing their engagement
level but the importance of human interaction cannot be denied. After all the process of employee engagement involves
It is no surprise that disengaged employees have an adverse effect on your standing in the business world. The world’s most
admired companies have attained this status only by keeping their employees engaged by assigning them more challenging tasks
according to their abilities. Employee development is high on their agenda.
But the question is who will find out why they’re not able to perform their best. What will keep them focussed towards their
aims? How can you have the impact on their as well as business performance?
It is obvious that all this can be known through their interaction with their immediate superiors and the members of Human
resource Department. Once the data is collected, the top management can support the entire process of employee engagement
by deciding the priorities, making investments and designing and implementing various processes.
Key Players in Enhancing Employee Engagement
Immediate Supervisors and Managers
Lying on the bottom of the pyramid, immediate supervisors and managers play the most important role in enhancing the levels
of employees. As they spend more time with them as compared to the HR people and senior leadership, they can easily
determine their actions and find out what will keep them motivated.
Although the directions come either from top management or HRD but they are the one who execute the process and
determine the satisfaction level of their workforce. They can interact with the employees and fill scorecards with columns such
as actions of employees, what motivates them and job satisfaction level. This is the initial as well the most important step in the
Human Resource Department
Human Resource Department works on the data collected by the managers and determine the trend among the employees.
They identify the most common factors that decrease the engagement levels among employees and the most common
opportunities that can enhance it. They study all the cases thoroughly to identify the loopholes in the system and bring it to the
notice of top management.
Senior Leadership or Top Management
They review the entire report and the process designed by the HRD or a management consulting firm to enhance the employee
engagement levels. They support the process by deciding the priorities and making investments.
Employee Engagement Initiative
The highly productive and the most reputed companies across the world have understood the fact that it was employee
engagement that made them stand apart from all other companies. Different companies had taken different initiatives
to enhance the level of engagement among employees towards their jobs and the organisation. Some offer custom-
made incentives while some stick to provide extra facilities like crèche for kids, schools for children of employees, pick
and drop, provision of food, movie tickets and many other things.
Each company has its own reasons to establish a specific type of reward-motivation programme depending upon their
financial status, region in which they are operating and level which they function at and the backgrounds of the
employees. In the year 201, an annual study conducted by the research arm of Kenexa, a leading global HR solution
provider, revealed that Indian giants rank highest as compared to their peers in other countries when it comes to
employee engagement and effective leadership.
When compared on the national level, India with 71 percent employee engagement ratio secured the topmost rank while Japan
was at the lowest position with 38 percent ratio. This was a surprising fact as it is believed that Indian companies have miles to
cover in order to achieve what global companies have done already. Factors that made India stand apart from rest of the
countries were employee recognition, emphasis of improvement of quality, show of genuine responsibility of organisation
towards employees and opportunities to grow.
The research conducted by Kenexa included India, US, UK, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Denmark, China, France, Finland, Germany,
Japan, Spain, Russia, Sweden, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Mexico and Gulf countries. The most surprising fact is that the
Indian companies took creative and unique initiatives to enhance the level of engagement and involvement of their employees.
According to a study conducted by Hewitt Associates in 2009, the software giant HCL Technologies was ranked as the best Indian
employer in that year. The reasons being, creation of a positive work culture and its long term approach in the midst of
challenging conditions. The other companies who made to the list of top employers were Hindustan Zinc, Taj Hotels, Resorts and
Palaces, Cisco Systems, ITC Welcome Group, Eureka Forbes, LG Electronics India, Domino’s Pizza India and Marriott Hotels India.
Infosys in year 2011 plans to have its own radio in establishing a healthy and quick interaction and communication amongst
employees. The company also plans to host talk shows where top management would interact with the employees. Besides this,
the company also has a social networking portal like Facebook. Named as Bubble, it helps employees connect to their
colleagues, seniors, subordinates and top management. Infosys had also created Infosys Television.
Indian giants like Mahindra & Mahindra, Mercer, KPMG and Wipro offer democracy to choose their wages and perks depending
upon their lifestyles. It is done to decrease as well as prevent dissatisfaction amongst employees. It has worked out very well
and companies are successful in drawing and retaining the best talent. The trend began in these IT giants can now be seen in
FMCG, banking and other industries
Types of Employees based on Level of Engagement
An organisation is a collection of individuals who come together and work towards the realisation of a common objective.
Larger the number of people working together, larger is the size of the organisation and vice-versa. However, for an
organisation to flourish it is important for the employees to operate at their full potential, which unfortunately is not the
case in most of the organisations.
Not all employees in the organisation work utilising their full potential. There may be many reasons responsible for the
same. They may not associate with the goal of the company, they may have problem with their team, the boss or the
subordinate or it may be a general problem of attitude. This fact necessitated the classification of the people into three
categories – engaged, not engaged and actively disengaged.
Although there are other classifications also, but this one is based upon the level of commitment or engagement of
employees. A brief description about the three is given below:
Actively Disengaged: This is the first category of people who are unhappy and they spread unhappiness in the
organisation. They are the disease centres in the company and spread the negative word, provoking and convincing
people to leave their jobs. However they are the ones who stay the longest and removing the perceived people
competition is their thought of getting to the top or next level in the job.
Engaged: The second category of people are those who are can be identified with words like passion, alignment and
innovation; which means that they are passionate, connected to the company and are innovative. They contribute new
ideas and turn ideas into reality. These employees are positive in their outlook and they spread positivity. They are
proactive; can anticipate the future market conditions are prepare well in advance.
Not Engaged: The third type of employees is the large majority present in organisations almost 50% in number. These do
what is told only and they like only one instruction at a time. They put in time but not energy and passion. They may be
either positive or negative in their outlook and opinion about the organisation. They are not proactive and fail to
anticipate what might be required next or what the next step is? They wait for instruction from their superiors.
In a research conducted by Gallup, it was found out that 16% of the people working in organisations are actively disengaged,
28% are engaged and almost 56% are not engaged. Although these statistics cannot be generalised, but they hold true for
majority of the cases and there may be deviation of 5% here and there for each category and not more.
The research therefore points out that people who are engaged are more efficient and deliver results optimally. They have a
better understanding of the business, more client focussed and committed to make it big with the organisation they work for.
Within an organisation the percentage of people in these three brackets can help determine the health of the company. For
example, greater percentage of actively disengaged employees connotes into even greater losses in productivity, erosion of
employee morale and reduction in the bottom line.
Employee Engagement Strategies
Various studies have shown that actively engaged employees are almost 50 percent more productive than their not-
engaged or disengaged colleagues. The employee engagement cannot be improved only by designing and implementing
effective human resource strategies but their involvement and quality of output produced by them also depends on their
relationships with their colleagues, subordinates and seniors. It is a basic need of human beings to belong and to be
belonged. Such collaborations can be a major contributor to the success of a company.
Until recently, solutions facilitating two-way communication including top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top were given much
important but nothing has been done to foster the open communication and collaborations among employees. The way
they interact with each other determines the health of any organisation. A perfect balance of respect, care and
competitiveness should be prevailed in the organisation to keep them actively engaged in their jobs. Mutual support and
healthy relationships contribute majorly to the organisation’s success.
Besides this, empowering employees by delegating them responsibilities and giving them autonomy to take decisions regarding
their job on their own can also increase their productivity. It is worth going beyond the traditional management tools of
connectivity to help employees remain motivated and dedicated to perform their tasks. To achieve this, the organisations can
design effective employee engagement strategies on the basis of the model explained below.
1. Unify the Experiences: Conduct an employee engagement survey in order to find the factors responsible for engaging
and disengaging employees. Unify the common experiences and problems and design employee engagement strategies
accordingly. Sharing of feedback in written is one way of communicating the experiences and problems.
2. Evolving Through Open Communication: Open communication or face to face communication in the form of discussions
can really help in bringing the various issues and identifying the main problems in the organisation. It is very essential to
establish a proper communication where everyone can put their views and suggest a solution too. Most of the top
organisations ask for suggestions and new ideas from their employees and then offer rewards on giving the best
3. Providing Proper Communication Channels: Some employees are comfortable with open face-to-face communication
styles whereas there are some who want to give feedbacks and suggestions in written. Discovering the best channel of
communication and establishing a proper route to share feedbacks and views plays a vital role.
4. Enabling Conversation Fluidity: Whichever way of communication you choose, ensure that it has required fluidity. There
should not be any hindrance in the established method of communication. Not being able to provide feedback or share
problems and experiences can lead to frustration and distress among employees. Therefore, ensure that there are no
barriers to communication. This can also result in disengaging the engaged employees.
5. Manage Communication: Managing communication is the last but the most important step in the entire process.
Managers should keep a check on the entire process in order to ensure that it is not adversely affecting the health of the
organisation. They must make sure that it serves the desired purpose and is not being used negatively.
Drivers of Employee Engagement
Employee Engagement has transcended from being the latest business buzzword to being recognized by organizations as
a tool that positively influences business performance. This linkage between organization performance and employee
engagement was researched by ISR in 2006 by means of world-wide survey.
The ISR study reveals that companies with high engagement scores saw an increase of more than 25% in EPS (Earnings per
Share), while companies with low engagement scores saw a decrease of 11% in EPS. The results confirm the belief of
many that engagement positively influences business performance.
Hence, it is vital for companies to understand what “causes” employee engagement if they want to influence the “effect”
i.e. Employee Engagement. By understanding these drivers and leveraging them, organizations can try and manage
engagement levels of their employees.
So what drives employee engagement? Several theories have been propounded that focus on the rational and emotional
aspects of engagement. Some even focus on the tangible and intangible aspects of engagement. Mercer’s ‘What’s Working’
studies reveal that engagement drivers differ by geography, by industry and even by time.
While there is no one panacea for leveraging employee engagement, there are some broad drivers which are presented
1. Work/Job Role - Employees must see a link between their role and the larger organization goal. Understanding this
linkage provides an intrinsic motivation and increased engagement. Most employees will come to work on time without
possessing a sense of belonging and will try and complete assigned tasks even without possessing that sense
achievement on completion of task. However, an employee that sees a clear linkage on how his/her role contributes to
the organization will go the extra mile and help create organization wealth.
2. Work Environment/Organization Culture - The bond between an employee and the organization is cemented when the
employee identifies with the culture of the organization. An employee is engaged and motivated to stretch beyond the
call of duty if he/she finds the work environment enabling and supportive.
3. Rewards and Recognition - The bottom line is that people work to earn which helps fulfil ambitions. Equitable pay
coupled with rewards and recognition programs enhances motivation and leads to commitment and engagement.
4. Learning and Training Oppurtunities - As Lawyer (2006) put it - “People Enjoy Learning.” This is especially true in the
case of today’s millennial workforce that constantly looks at enhancing knowledge and skill. Skill and Knowledge
enhancement is not just important for the employees but providing a learning culture is essential for organizations to
remain relevant in the constantly changing business landscape.
5. Performance Management - An effective performance management system contributes positively to employee
engagement. Goal setting lies at the root of any performance management system. Clearly articulated goals, a fair and
just means to judge performance and timely, rational feedback are critical elements in creating a bond between the
employee and his/her organization.
6. Leadership - It is a well recorded fact that most resignations happen because the employee is not satisfied with his/her
‘boss.’ An organization that spends time and effort in grooming leaders who are aligned to its goals, culture and people
invests well. New age industries have a young and dynamic workforce that looks for autonomy in decision making,
increased responsibility and accountabilities.
7. Other Factors - Clear and open communication, quality of interaction with peers, collaboration, organization policy,
organization performance are all contributing factors to employee engagement.
We shall explore in each of the above mentioned drivers of engagement in the following chapters.
Job Role as a Driver of Employee Engagement
All of us have heard the story of 3 brick-layers who were working side by side when a passer-by asked them what they
The first said - “I am laying bricks”
The second said - “I am feeding my family”
The third said - “I am building a cathedral”
This simple story conveys the essence of an engaged employee. The last brick-layer identified his job with the larger goal
and hence was able to bring that something extra that served as an inspiration to many.
Most of the employees will land up for work and try and fulfil their role requirements irrespective of their perception of
the organization, its policy, pay etc. This is because the fundamental driver for most of us is (1) to utilize our time gainfully
and (2) to earn a livelihood. But this does not help organizations in the long term. So, what should organizations do? How
can they build an engaged workforce that will help create long term competitiveness?
Many of us become prescriptive when trying to implement employee engagement initiatives without understanding that the
first step towards creating an engaged workforce is to help employees see a clear linkage between their job role and
The following are some measures that organizations can take w.r.t (with respect to) the “job/role of employee” that will help
1. Clear Role Definition - Engagement begins even before the employee joins work. Carving out a clear job description will
actively engage a potential hire and help convert him/her into an enthusiastic joiner and then engaged employee.
2. Paint the Larger Picture - During the peak of hiring activity, my team and I were given a tough time about new joiner
renege and attrition of existing employees. Most of the time, we oscillated between bearing the brunt and/or retaliating
by throwing our hands up, buying time or throwing industry data points as reference but never did we understand the
true impact till one of the business leads sat us down and connected the dots for us and articulated the $(dollar) impact
of each of our activity. That day, we graduated to truly becoming business partners.
3. Job Rotation - The grass on the other side is always greener. While the revenue generating/client facing entities believe
that the support staff (like admin, human resources, finance) has a cushy job, the support staff often complains of a
vendor like treatment at the hands of the former. An employee can contribute his best if he/she can see how his/her
role ties in with the larger organization goals or explore linkages of his/her role with other teams in the organization. For
this purpose, tools such as job-rotation, multi team projects, best practice sharing by teams can be leveraged effectively
by organizations. Such interactions help create an informal and seamless source of information across teams which
helps employees to perform effectively and efficiently.
4. Goal Setting - A realistic and time bound goal that clearly mentions linkage to the organization goal is an important
aspect in building an engaged workforce. This will be dealt with in greater depth in the following chapter which deals
with Performance Management as a driver of engagement.
5. Job Loading - Organizations can effectively use both ‘vertical-loading’ i.e. job enrichment and ‘horizontal-loading’ i.e. job
enlargement to motivate employees. Both these approaches allow an employee to explore and use their strengths and
also beat work monotony. These also help skill development and enhancement which in turn helps employee output,
team output and eventually organization output.
In conclusion, engaged employees create quality output not because they have to or are forced to but because they want to,
because they see a clear linkage between their work and the organization vision and results.
How to Engage Women Employees ?
There has been a flurry of conferences, studies and researching on why women employees are likely to leave their
companies earlier as compared to men employees. Why is the number of unhappy female employees growing? Why
great leaders are unsuccessful in retaining women employees even after spending a lot of money, time and effort?
Although women show more stability than men when it comes to their job but recent studies have shown that the
number of unhappy and unsatisfied women is on a continuous increase. Unlike men, women prefer to explore multiples
work areas and different jobs instead of going up vertically. They desire for widening their horizons and perspectives
rather than going up on mere designations. Despite this strange characteristic of theirs, organisations these days are
finding a lot of difficulties in retaining their women employees.
Most women when decide to move, the most common reason is their family. They mostly engage their families while
making a decision to move whereas the matter with the men is absolutely different. According to various independent
surveys, men associate their leaving of company with the imbalance and unrest in their families. They tend to think that
their low or no income would upset their family dynamics.
The women when decide to quit, the chances of their resuming the work are extremely low. Economic instability or crisis may
compel them to work again but under normal circumstances, it is almost negligible.
While the number of women employees is continuously on increase, organisations can not afford to keep employee retention
on the back burner. They should actively involve them in finding what really disengages women employees and make them quit
and even if it is their family behind their decision, organisations should come up with something that can motivate them to
“How to engage women employees and retain them” is the question that most organisations are facing today. The question
points out the need of keeping the women employees engaged and fulfilling all their specific needs and requirements to keep
them motivated to pursue their career and take it to the next level no matter what.
Companies that do not make effort in retaining their women employees have already lost some of their business or will certainly
lose out in the coming years. The reason being, the women employees nowadays are also a part of top and middle management.
Their one decision to quit the organisation can have a severe impact on the working as well as business of the organisation.
Providing them more meaningful tasks depending upon their comfort level, affirming their contribution, giving them an open,
collaborative and innovative environment, engaging them in challenging tasks, keeping the doors open when they feel the need
to work after delivering the baby or raising their kids and coming up with the options to help them take care of their family,
especially kids can keep them motivated to work and perform their best.
Moreover, women prefer working in the environment where there are least hierarchies. Therefore, designing the work that
engages everyone equally can help a great deal in engaging and retaining women employees.
Enhancing Employee Engagement - Getting Beyond Money
Why companies around the world are cutting back on their financial-incentive or reward programmes? Why they have
been looking out for some other techniques to inspire and motivate their employees? Is it economic slump or something
Well, it has been revealed that employees who have achieved a financial stability to some extent require non-financial
motivators that can offer them freedom to take their work-related decision, let them feel accountable for whatever they
do, inspire them to take up challenges and enhance their overall personality.
People with satisfactory salaries along with few perks look for non-monetary initiatives from the organisation that can
help them acquire new skills in professional contexts. Indeed, organisations need to focus more on balancing the financial
and nonfinancial motivators. Short-term rewards can boost their energy and motivate them to perform their jobs in the
best possible manner whereas long-term benefits help them retain in the organisation for long.
The various studies conducted by global management consulting firms have revealed that after financial incentives, the
second biggest motivators are praise from the immediate supervisors and managers, an opportunity to lead a particular task
or responsibility and attention from top management.
Non-financial motivators can be more effective for a certain set of employees but the importance of financial incentives cannot
be understated. They are equally important. In such a scenario, management should try and establish custom made perks and
motivators to enhance employee engagement.
As there are different types of individuals working in the organisation who have different needs and ways to weigh their
motivators. Some look for more and more money while some for other things related to their professional and personal
development. Motivating employees in the short run is not a big deal what is more challenging is to make them to stay in the
Strong talent management and establishing a balanced incentive programme are required to retain people and enhance their
involvement, engagement and satisfaction level. According to a McKinsey Survey, employee motivation and engagement is
sagging tremendously in companies around the globe. They make frequent job switches. This has compelled more than 70
percent of the organisations to adjust their motivation and reward programmes. They have cited that dropping employee
motivation is the main reason behind the alteration and modification of their reward and motivation strategies.
In this economic slump, when it is hard to find cash, organisations need to rework on their strategies to cut back on financial-
incentives. Understanding the needs of employees can also help them restructure their policies. In order to win commitment
from the managers, companies need to have non-financial motivators such as delegating the responsibility, autonomy to make
decisions and support from management in case they are going through a bad phase in their personal life.
For low level managers and bottom-line employees, financial incentives certainly matter a lot. The HR people should design such
a system that they can make the best of the incentives they receive from the company. Besides this, several other programs to
help them in financial crisis can be a great idea. Opening a school for their children supporting free or subsidised education can
be one of the initiatives to make them stay with the organisation.
Employee Engagement Trends Across the World
It has always been a challenge to hire, retain and reward the best talent. Even in 2012, the conditions are almost similar.
Although the economy is showing a few signs of recovery but it will not be possible for employers to go back to their usual
way of operating business. They still have a long way to go to achieve that kind of liberty again but now till then their
biggest concern should be to improve and enhance the levels of employee engagement in order to sustain and grow in
today’s highly volatile business environment.
With the beginning of the year 2012, both organisations and individuals continue to be challenged. Since the economy
has not recovered to a considerable extent, the organisations will face immense pressure to hold down their operating
costs. But on the other hand, they will have to make investment on all possible ways to attract, recruit and retain the best
While companies will have to manage their operations ensuring the optimum utilisation of resources, the individuals will need to
try to associate them with an organisation where all their monetary and career requirements are fulfilled. Even if they face a
slight cut back in their perks and other facilities, they will have to perform their best in order to help top people improve the
financial standing of the company.
Over the past few years, both organisations and individuals have faced the aftermaths of economic crisis. Started in 2008, it had
its impact on almost everyone in every corner of the world. Even highly productive organisations offering excellent facilities
and employees reward programmes had to struggle to maintain their established trends. Even they had to cut back a few
things in order to create a balance. In 2012 also, it will continue to challenge the organisations.
Employee Engagement Trends
Usually, there are a few main employee engagement drivers that motivate employees to work harder and perform better. These
include quality of life, people such as senior managers, peers, colleagues and subordinates, career and personal development
opportunities, company policies and practices, company reputation and total rewards including, pay, additional benefits and
Different employees rank these factors at different levels. This means that for some career opportunities may be the biggest
factor of being associated with the company while for some money is the driving factor. Many people want to work for a
reputed organisation whereas some prefer a better working environment over anything else. Preferences differ. They depend
upon the regions and backgrounds they belong to and of course, their personal thought process and mind setup.
In Asia Pacific region, career opportunities are ranked first. It is followed by brand alignment, recognition, pay and HR practices
respectively. In European countries, of course career opportunities rank first but their second preference is good HR practices.
These two are followed by brand alignment, pay and recognition respectively.
In North America, again the career opportunities are ranked first by the employees followed by performance management,
organisation reputation, brand alignment and then recognition. Overall, people prefer career opportunities over any other thing
no matter where companies are operating. Regardless of their backgrounds and regions, this is something that every working
professional looks for. Therefore, organisations will have to create excellent opportunities for their employees to make them
stay and grow with it.
How can Employee Engagement help increase Customer Satisfaction ?
Numerous management studies and researches support the proposal that there exists a relationship between employee
engagement and customer satisfaction. It has been observed that the actively engaged employees are extremely loyal
towards their organisation and are always ready to walk that extra mile to ensure success for their company.
The studies such as ‘Loyalty Effects’ show that when people have a sense of belongingness towards their workplace
and feel great about being associated with it, they provide better customer service. They treat them as a company and
therefore, strive to achieve excellence in whatever they do to serve customers better. Employee engagement correlates
positively with customer satisfaction and increased productivity of the organisation as a whole.
As employees are considered the internal customers of an organisation, their satisfaction level plays an important role in
keeping the company in good health. When they are satisfied, it is obvious that they will treat the external customers
including buyers and end users in the best possible manner.
It is guaranteed that customers keep coming back when they are treated well. Not only this, it also helps in growing the loyalty
level of customers towards the company.
Experts say that every company that is looking to sustain in this ever changing business world must try to enhance the
engagement level of their employees and those who want to take their business to the level must make a dedicated effort and
figure out the way of engaging almost every employee of the organisation. Employee commitment towards their job keeps them
engaged and results in high levels of satisfaction.
The productivity of an organisation not only depends on the time the employees spend in the company but it also takes into
account the effort they put in executing their jobs ensuring the optimal use of resources. This in turn helps them grow and
acquire more skills.
Organisation must have a proper system of building the careers of its highly engaged employees to their spirits up and motivate
them to perform their best always. Employee engagement depends upon how effectively and efficiently the systems and
procedures of the organisation are followed. Just having well defined procedures is not enough; in fact, they need to be duly
followed and upgraded from time to time.
When companies make efforts to enhance the employee engagement levels, they automatically work towards improving
customer satisfaction. The studies have revealed that organisations working on this aspect have experienced a significant
decrease in the rate of employee turnover.
Companies like Born experienced a downfall of 48 percent in employee turnover rate. Earlier it was 50 percent which has now
reduced up to 2 percent. Monsanto found out in a survey that the strongest factors that can influence customer satisfaction
dramatically include employee satisfaction and employee work-life balance.
Sun Microsystems has also found out that their actively engaged employees recommend the company as the best place to work.
This has resulted in increased employee satisfaction, low employee turnover rate, increased customer loyalty and increased pool
of potential employees.
The studies conducted by all these and other Fortune 500 companies have put a stamp on the idea that there is a positive link
between the employee engagement and customer satisfaction.
Reasons to Conduct Employee Engagement Survey
Conducting employee engagement survey in order to find out the involvement and willingness of employees to perform
their jobs and contribute to the success of their organisation is not a new idea; however, it has become more popular
than ever. The reason being, nowadays, managers are keener in knowing what actually can engage or disengage
Various independent researches and specific investigations carried out by organisations have shown that there is a direct
link between the employee engagement and the productivity and profitability of an organisation. Apart from this, it has
been found out that employees who actively respond to the questions of employee engagement survey are
enthusiastically engaged in their jobs and want to offer their feedbacks as well as put forward the problems and
challenges that they usually come across while performing their jobs when asked.
On the other hand, the employees who do not take the questions of employee engagement survey seriously and take it like any
other questionnaire are not engaged in their jobs. It can be said that either they are unhappy with their job profile and
organisation or they are under the impression that their feedback doesn’t matter as it can’t change their present circumstances.
The main aim of conducting an employee engagement survey is to find out the factors that actually drive employees to
perform their best and also the ones that can put them off. It is important in order to establish sync between what top
management offers and what employees expect or vice versa.
The highly productive organisations keep on conducting employee engagement surveys from time to time so that they can
design or redesign the already established policies and implement key changes in order to increase the efficiency, output,
involvement, dedication and productivity of employees. Not only this, it also helps them in retaining the best talent within the
organisation. Moreover, when companies focus on the problem, they come up with effective solutions which significantly
increase the number of engaged employees, resulting in a considerable increase in their productivity and organisation’s
Employee engagement also establishes a comprehensive two-way communication process overcoming all barriers. A study of
engagement and involvement of employees certainly helps in taking the business to the next level establishing a strong work
culture. The surveys definitely work provided companies assess the employee feedback, understand their requirements, work on
designing new policies and practices and commit to implement them otherwise; there is no meaning of such surveys. They are
not only wastage of time and money but also play with the feelings of employees who actually look at them a way to
communicate their views and opinions to their immediate managers and top management.
Once top management decides to conduct an employee engagement survey, the next step is to consider what type of survey
and questionnaire format should be chosen in order to get maximum possible results. The companies may seek advice from
professional management consultants to decide the most appropriate type of employee engagement survey considering the
nature of their business and the level they are operating it. Conducting a survey under professional guidance will show greater
Maslow’s Hierarchy and Employee Engagement
How to tap the potential of employees who are not actively engaged or are disengaged? Yes, the management studies
conducted over last few years have revealed that only 11 percent of the total employee strength is actively engagement
and feels a strong commitment towards their work and workplace. The rest 89 percent of the employees are either not
actively engaged or disengaged. This means that the organisations are able to tap the potential of only 11 percent
employees. Encouraging the rest of the workforce is still a big challenge for them.
Any organisations looking to bring the best out of their employees and engage them thoroughly in their job must
prioritise its response towards the various needs of its employees. To align their response, they can utilise the Maslow’s
Maslow’s Hierarchy Response of the Organisation
Biological and Physiological Needs: These are basic human needs including food, water and shelter. Organisations can buy them
lunch, offer gift cards and give time off for necessary day-to-day tasks. It not only makes their life easier but also gives them a
chance to retain with the organisation.
Safety Needs: Safety needs include good shelter, protection, safety, security, law and order and stability. Once human beings
have enough for food, water and shelter, they want to live a comfortable and safe life. Again the mantra of keeping them with
the organisation is to pay. Pay for food and loan them an amount to build their own home or buy a vehicle. Organisations can
also support their children education.
Belonging Needs: It is a basic human need that they always want to be associated with something. They want to belong and to
be belonged. The managers can establish friendly relationships with their subordinates so that they feel that they are an
important asset of the organisation and they add value to it. Including them in decision making process or any other sensitive
issue springing up within the workplace is a good idea. Also involve them in improvement teams where they really can
contribute something substantial.
Self Esteem: According to Maslow’s Hierarchy model, the fourth stage of one’s life is to attain a status in the society as well as in
professional life. Besides this, a sense of achievement and recognition of their efforts play a vital role. Organisations which are
successful in recognising the efforts of employees and reward them for their performance and contribution are able to retain
their talent. Issuing newsletters recognising their contribution or giving a think you card or awarding them with a trophy can
serve the purpose.
Self Actualisation: It is the last stage in the Maslow’s Hierarchy model that is about growth and fulfilment in personal and
professional life. By this time, individuals are well settled in life and are able to contribute through their work experiences. It is
the time when organisations can make them feel empowered by giving them leadership authority, autonomy to take decisions
and training opportunities.
Employee engagement is a science as well as an art. It takes into account all tangible and intangible factors related to human life
directly or indirectly.
Zinger Model of Employee Engagement
An expert on engagement, David Zinger is a Canadian based management consultant whose work is designed to fostering
relationships to increase the employee engagement in your organisation. With an experience of more than 25 years in
this field, he is able to combine the current researches with practical approaches in order achieve substantial results.
Based on his extensive and thorough work on employee engagement, he has introduced a workable model that throws
light on various aspects of employee involvement, dedication and engagement. The model is called Zinger Model on
Employee Engagement. The model provides organisations with 12 keys that a manager must follow to achieve significant
1. Achieve Results: Achieving the desired results, i.e., higher levels of employee engagement is the ultimate aim of the
Zinger model; however, the process is well supported by various other steps. The managers need to work on self as well
as the employees of the company through well crafted strategies.
2. Craft Strategies: Crafting appropriate strategies to achieve higher levels of employee engagement is the first and
foremost task. It involves a lot of planning and considerations of employee as well as organisational requirements.
Managers can seek helps from professional management consultants in order to craft effective strategies.
3. Enliven Roles: Employees will love their work when it seems interesting to them. Managers should work on redefining
their tasks and responsibilities in a manner that eliminates the element of boredom from their job to keep them
interested in their work.
4. Excel at Work: Motivating employees to perform work certainly pays off. An organisation must have a system for
recognising and rewarding employees for their efforts so that they remain stimulated to perform better and better.
5. Get Connected: Managers must remain connected to their subordinates so that they can share their problems and ask
for advice to perform their tasks. Communication is the backbone of every managerial process.
6. Be Authentic: Being real and genuine is what is expected from a leader. Top management, HR people as well as
immediate managers should show genuine concern towards the problems of employees and make dedicate efforts to
help them get rid of it.
7. Live Recognition: Recognising the efforts of employees in front of everyone not only boost their moral but also
encourages them to stay with the organisation and perform their best always.
8. Fully Engage: The desired results can be achieved in the fastest possible way only if employees are fully engage. A
comprehensive study about what actually engages or disengages the employees must be conducted. Designing and
implementing appropriate strategies is the next step.
9. Identify with Organisation: Employees stay in organisation for long years if they feel connected to their organisation.
Management should understand that they are their most important assets without which nothing can be achieved.
10. Serve Customers: Only engaged employees can serve their customers in the best possible manner. Maintain a tradition
and culture to offer the best services to the customers. Making employees aware of this tradition of the organisation
from time to time can help a great deal.
11. Develop Personally: Organisation should not only focus on attaining its goal but also on the overall development of an
employee. Employees who grow with the organisation are deeply connected to their workplace and always ready to
walk that extra mile to achieve success for it.
12. Attain Happiness: Happy and satisfied employees are the most important assets of an organisation. The secret behind
the success of highly productive businesses is their happy employees.
David Zinger Model on Employee Engagement considers all important aspects that could impact the involvement, engagement
and dedication of employees.
How Does Employee Engagement affect Financial Performance of a Company ?
Experts say that the engagement, involvement and satisfaction of the employees should be the biggest concern of the
organisations. When they are actively engaged, it can directly affect the productivity and financial standing of the
company. While it may not directly add to your profits but it certainly helps in several indirect ways.
There are numerous indicators that show that employee engagement has a strong impact on the financial performance of
a company. However, the direct results are still debatable. There have been umpteen numbers of studies showing the link
between employee engagement and financial profitability of an organisation but none of them produces sufficient
evidences to establish it as a hard core fact.
Let’s take a glance at those factors related to employee engagement that indirectly contribute to the profitability of an
Indicators of Improved Financial Performance
When employees like to do what they are assigned, they are completely involved in their job to perform their best and bring
desired results. The survey conducted by Hay Group, a global management consulting firm, revealed that engaged workforce are
40 percent more productive than those who are not engaged. When engagement level among employees increases, it increases
their productivity which in turn, improves the financial standing of the organisation. Although the financial performance is not
directly related to the employee engagement levels but it is believed that it is the main reason behind it.
Lower Employee Turnover
When employees are engaged in their jobs and are fully satisfied with their career as well as their organisation, they grow with
it. There can be two main reasons why they look for alternatives. One, they are not interested in doing what is assigned to them
and two, they are not happy with the organisation. But when they like their workplace, they stay with it and grow as it grows.
This decreases the cost of finding new employees and training them from the beginning to perform a specific task. Without
spending much time on training new employees, an organisation can continue to move forward with its existing employees
without affecting the pace of business operations.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
When employees love their job, they will make every effort and go extra mile to offer complete assistance to the customers. The
studies conducted by consulting firms and universities have shown the link between the employee engagement and customer
satisfaction. This means when employees are satisfied, they happily serve customers resolving all their queries and doubts. They
offer them genuine consultation and guidance. This helps in establishing long term relationships with the customers. It in turn,
increases the number of loyal customers which is again a good sign for the organisation as a whole.
Besides this, there are many other factors that go into the productivity and profitability of an organisation. But like the above
mentioned, they lack evidence for establishing a cause and effect or direct relationship between employee engagement and
company’s financial performance. Besides this, there are numerous other factors apart from employee engagement level that
have a strong impact on the financial status of a company. This is not the only one but is one of the most important ones.
Hewitt Employee Engagement Measure
Headquartered in Lincolnshire, Illinois in United States, Hewitt Associates was a global management consulting and HR
outsourcing firm. Established in 1940, the firm delivered a wide range of HR and management services to the companies
across the world to in managing their Human resource operations, policies and procedures, enhancing the level of
employee engagement and involvement and improving their overall management.
The firm later on in 2010 was purchased by Aon Corporation and since then the new subsidiary of Aon Group is known as
Hewitt conducted a research on employee engagement in year 2007 and published a report mentioning that the best
employers have earned their ranks and reputation because of high level of employee engagement. The study revealed
that more than 77 percent of the employees were actively engaged in highly productive organizations as compared with
50 percent at other organizations.
Hewitt included almost 10,000 employees working in Canada in more than 120 organizations in the survey and revealed some
specific traits of the best employers. These traits included the lower turnover rates, better financial platform and ease of
attracting new talent. The consulting firm revealed the fact that employee engagement is not only about creating loyal or
satisfied employees but it extends to the state of intellectual and emotional involvement and a strong sense of commitment of
Specific Traits of the Best Employers
1. Ease of Attracting New Employees
The best employers have an easy access to the best industry talent. Because of their reputation, they can attract more than 100
applications for each job posted whereas an average company doesn’t receive more than 30 applications for a particular job.
This is the ratio when a job is advertised externally. When it comes to employee references, they have ample choices and
therefore, have a strict internal employee reference policy; whereas, this is hardly the case with average employers. They may
have choices but the number of references is very low.
2. Low Employee Turnover Rates
It was found out that the rate of voluntary employee turnover rate for full time employees was approximately 9 percent with
the best employers. When it comes to part-time or home-based jobs, the employee turnover rate was around22 percent.
An average organization faces approximately 13 percent voluntary employee turnover annually for full time staff whereas for
home-based or part-time staff the percentages goes up to 34 percent.
3. Better Financial Platform
Higher employee engagement levels in best companies benefit their financial status ultimately. When employees are completely
engaged in their jobs, they are more productive. They are able to fulfill all customer requirements plus handle all their queries
and issues with complete enthusiasm. This in turn increases the customer loyalty towards the organization.
The study revealed that the annual growth rate in service and sales experienced by the best employers was 13 percent
approximately whereas average employers experienced an increase of only 5 percent in their net sales.
Although the study was conducted in year 2007, but it still holds its effectiveness in the current scenario also. It has been a
challenge in front of the managers to increase the employee engagement levels and take their organization to the next level.
Hygiene and Motivation Factors for Employee Engagement
Employee engagement has been linked with almost every aspect of management in some or other form. Although there
are not enough evidences to support a direct relationship between them but several factors show that they are indirectly
connected with each other. In the same way, the hygiene and motivation factors have also been associated with
employee management. In fact, they have proven to be dependable and unswerving predictors of the level of
involvement and engagement of employees towards their jobs.
Motivation factors are intrinsic conditions that influence the level of employee engagement. They have the ability to
satisfy one’s own psychological needs including sense of achievement, personal and professional growth, proficiency and
status in the organization. The psychological fulfillment at any stage of an individual’s career plays a vital role in
determining his or her involvements and commitment towards their work as well as the organization.
Hygienic factors, on the other hand, are considered the extrinsic conditions that motivate employees to perform their best
and feel committed towards their work. The factors such as working conditions, organizational culture, remuneration, perks
and benefits, job security and relationship with colleagues and subordinates and immediate supervisors play an important role
and make them stay within the organization and grow with it.
Recognition: It is the prime responsibility of an organization to recognize the efforts made by employees. Along with its
HR department and a reputed management firm, it should establish a well-defined reward and recognition program.
Employee Empowerment: Employees should be given an autonomy to make their work related decisions. This helps
them perform the task in the best possible manner. Moreover, this gives them a platform to be creative and perform an
assigned task in a unique manner.
Career Progression: The talent is attracted to work with only those organizations that can help them build up a career.
Organizations must have clear and well defined policies regarding the career progression of its employees.
Personal and Professional Growth: This is something that motivates employees to work harder and perform their best.
If they see their personal and professional growth with the organization, they will stay and develop a feeling of
belongingness towards the organization.
Interesting and Challenging Work: Different tasks must be assigned to employees at different times. Managers should
try to assign them interesting and challenging tasks that motivates them to do something different from their routine
job and feel a sense of achievement.
Sense of Achievement: Last, but not the least, the sense of achievement gives psychological fulfillment to any individual
at the end of the day. Organizations can help their employees achieving this feeling by recognizing and rewarding their
Remuneration and Benefits: The wages and additional benefits are the first requirement to attract a pool of talent and
actively engage them in their jobs.
Job Security: Individuals want to associate themselves with only those organizations where they can have job security.
Highly productive and most reputed private firms are far more popular than government sector companies just because
they offer good compensation, job security and excellent working conditions.
Relationships with Peers, Subordinates and Seniors: It is the basic need of an individual to belong and to be belonged.
Cordial relationship with other employees at the workplace creates a positive work environment. Employees do not
hesitate in offering or seeking help from others to execute an assigned task in the best possible manner.
HR Policies and Procedures: HR policies and procedures of a company reveal a lot about its working. Companies with
well defined HR policies attract a bigger pool of talent as well as is successful in keeping their employees actively
How Employee Engagement helps in Change Management ?
Various independent and organisation based studies have revealed that employee engagement is the heart and soul of
the change management process. Multiple researches at highly productive and reputed organisations seeking new
competitive advantages in this ever changing business environment have exposed that the higher level of engagement,
involvement and dedication of employees is the primary requirement to successfully implement a change initiative taken
by the management.
Most of the employees are reluctant to change and there can be various reasons behind it. But if an organisation is not
considering implementing and bringing change just for the sake of it, it needs to take the reluctance of employees in to
account and take essential steps to help them understand its necessity and benefits in a manner that brings positive
results. The dedicated employees who always look forward to take challenges may not be as much reluctant as ‘not
engaged’ and disengaged employees. Translating employee reluctance in their keenness is so important to bring the
required change and establish it until the next is required.
While there is no single clear link between employee engagement and change management but various themes and
interpretations can be extracted depending upon the studies and researches conducted by the organisations and change
management experts. It is believed that the greater the employees are engaged, the more likely they would go an extra mile to
deliver the best performance and adopt various changes implemented in the organisation. Their fondness towards the
organisation, their dedication towards their work, their keenness to achieve more and their job satisfaction support all business
processes that are related to bring a change. If employees are actively engaged in their job, they will readily support the change
management initiative taken by the management.
Employee engagement has been listed as a primary requirement to the success of a change management process. Of course, a
proper communication channel and vigilant project management are the backbone of any business function. But where
employee engagement, involvement, dedication, ownership and accountability are built, things become relatively easier.
However, it doesn’t mean that organisation can take it easy and assume that engaged employees will always welcome a change
initiative. The moment they feel that it is not bringing a positive change in their way of working, organisational culture, work
environment or their overall personality development, they will be reluctant to take it further and be a part of it.
The organisation needs to carefully communicate it so that employees interpret in the similar manner as it has been
communicated. Until both top management and employees are on the same side and think alike about a specific change
initiative, it is almost impossible to take it to the next level and implement it. The organisations can’t dictate their terms; rather
they will have to welcome suggestions and ideas from the employees and strike a right balance in order to implement it. No
matter how small or big the change is, it requires careful action planning and follow-up at each step of the process.