Employee Engagement Strategies and Their Impact on Individuals and Organizational Performance

According to Badrianto and Ekhsan, (2020) the satisfaction of an employee is directly proportional to the successful company or organization. There are numerous ways in which an organization can ensure that their employees are satisfied, employee engagement is one of the methods. Employee engagement is the extent to which an individual or a worker is dedicated or enthusiastic towards their jobs. After the outbreak of Covid-19 was first reported many countries across the world imposed strict measures which affected the functionality of individuals and organizations at large. To curb the impact of the outbreak many organizations turned their workplaces to remote working where employees were away from direct supervision. In this case, the organization needs an engaged employee who is competent, can be trusted with the roles they are assigned, and more important an employee who can go an extra mile to ensure that the company achieves the most from its operations. Numerous strategies can be used by an organization to increase the likelihood that a worker will establish positive emotional connections with the tasks assigned and with the organization at large. This paper analyses some of the major employee engagement strategies and how effective they are to the performance of an individual and the organization at large.

According to Macey and Schneider, (2008) employee engagement is the commitment of an employee to the values of the organization. In recent years employee engagement has developed to be a very strong tool for many businesses. Many organizations have shifted to relying on or recruiting employees who prove to be more engaged to their core values for them to sustain the harsh economic conditions as well as overcome stiff competition in various markets. Some of the engagement behavior focused on by most of the employers includes team-oriented personnel, solution-oriented, selflessness, passion to learn new things, and readiness to pass along credit and at the same time accept blame where necessary.

2.1: Drivers of employee engagement

2.1.1: Trusted Leadership

The leadership in an organization has a huge impact not only on the behavior of the employees but also on their output. According to the Deloitte model of employee engagement, trusted leadership creates a culture where all the workers are respected, involved, and challenged to do more (Shen and Jiang, 2019). An action by a leader can therefore inspire an employee and make them more productive or discourage them further. This is because they are mandated to provide direction, assign duties as well as offer support to junior workers where need be. How a leader coordinates these roles has a huge impact on how they will be able to win the trust of the employees and how engaged an employee will be to the goals of the organization. A trusted leader will increase the level of employee engagement. Some of how leaders can win employee trust and improve their engagement include being honest and open to them, regularly communicating with them, providing them with necessary resources that make them effective, trusting them with responsibilities, and providing regular and actionable feedback where need be.

2.1.2: Company values

The values of a company have a huge impact on how engaged or disengaged an employee will be. The company values ought to be meaningful achievable and realistic for the employees to be more engaged. This can also be enhanced by ensuring that the employee has a clear knowledge of the companies’ mission and vision and a clear picture of what the company expects from them as an individual or as a team in as far as achieving the goals of the organization is concerned (Shaik and Makhecha, 2019). Employees are more engaged when they understand the core values of the organization and they can easily incorporate them into their day-to-day operations.

2.1.3: Opportunities for learning and development

Doing the same tasks in the same ways generates boredom in the workplace and demoralizes the employees. When an employee is allowed to learn new skills there is a huge chance for them to expand their knowledge, invent new, simple and effective ways of handling their tasks hence increasing their engagement (Bedarkar and Pandita, 2014).Training and development also help the employees overcome some of the workplace challenges that affect their efficiency an element that will increase their output in the organization, encourage their growth, and boost their morale which will, in turn, improve their engagement.

2.1.4: Opportunities to give and receive feedback.

Understanding what the employees need, the challenges they are facing in their day-to-day operations, and their recommendations on how to make the organization better are key drivers to employee engagement. This can be enhanced through regular feedback from the employees which will also help build trust, encourage positive employee dynamics and most important enhance reliable decision making. Similarly, if an employee feels that his ideas and complaints are fully incorporated in the operations of the company they feel more secure and part and parcel of the wider stakeholders of the company, an element that is more likely to increase their loyalty and commitment to the company and hence improving their engagement (Popli and Rizvi, 2016). The opportunity to give and receive feedback is therefore a crucial driver as far as employee engagement is concerned because it plays a great role in understanding the challenges facing the employees and hence a key influencer to all the other drivers such as building a trusted leadership.

In as much as employee engagement is essential for any organization, not all companies can use the same strategy and achieve better results. Different strategies apply to different scenarios and specific categories of employees. A strategy is therefore effective if it is designed and applied to the specific categories of workers it is intended to be used. This, therefore, means that an organization ought to conduct an analysis or survey of the needs of their employees first for them to settle on a specific strategy to apply in their organization.

3.1: Workload and Work-life balance strategy

Heavy workload has a huge negative impact on the performance, health status, and satisfaction of an employee. It is also among the strongest causes of disengagement of employees in an organization. An overworked employee goes through a lot of work stress and has a bad attitude or hatred towards their work environment. With this kind of attitude, it is difficult for them to perform at their best or go the extra mile to ensure that they do even beyond their assigned tasks to ensure the company not only achieves its objectives but also promotes a healthy working environment. According to Zinger Model, an organization can easily achieve engagement from the ground up while mainly concentrating on the needs of the employees (Shen and Jiang, 2019). Workload and work-load balance strategy which focuses on the needs of the workers is, therefore, a strategy that will ensure that workers are not only overworked but they are positioned or can live in a state of equilibrium where they can equally prioritize the demands of their personal life as well as the demands of their careers. This strategy can be facilitated through proper trusted leadership where the workers can freely communicate with their leaders and freely give feedback where necessary (Badrianto and Ekhsan, 2020). The leadership of the organization should also provide for clear communication where the company schedule is planned and communicated including breaks and giving the workers enough time for their personal lives.

3.1.1: Benefits of workload and work-life balance strategy

This strategy is very crucial to both the organization and individuals. Some of the benefits associated with the workload and work-life balance strategy include:

Increased productivity

When the workers have time for their personal life as well as career life they will be in I good position to concentrate fully when in their workplaces. This increases their confidence in what they do and boosts their morale and efficiency at work, a factor that increases their output.

Fewer instances of absenteeism and accidents

If the worker has equal time for their career and personal issues there are higher chances that they will appear at their workplaces when needed and perform their duties well. The concentration levels will also be high hence reducing the chances of being sick as a result of heavy workloads as well as being involved in accidents due to divided minds or poor concentration while handling crucial tasks.

Reduces staff turnover

Using this strategy improves the engagement of an employee as well as their desire to be associated with the organization. This helps built a loyal group of employees in an organization, therefore, reducing their chances of moving out to other companies which will also further expenses incurred by the company such as recruitment costs.

Greater employee commitment, loyalty, and motivation

If employees can satisfy their personal needs they are more likely to concentrate fully when dealing with career needs as well as love what they do. This will motivate them further and increase their commitment and loyalty to the organization.

A happier and less stressed workforce

A balanced work-life strategy will ensure that all employee needs are taken care of which will lead to a happier and less stressed workforce that will easily and efficiently handle their tasks.

3.2: Training and learning opportunities strategy

Training and development of the employees entail allowing the employees to identify the knowledge and skills that they feel will increase their competency and availing relevant training to them. This can also be facilitated by identifying their strength and weaknesses and coming up with training sessions that reduce their weaknesses especially during challenging seasons that requires innovative ways of coping up such as during the Covid-19 outbreak period (Chanana, 2021). With proper skills and knowledge, the employees are more likely to handle different tasks assigned to them with ease and efficiently, therefore, creating a happy and motivating working environment that will improve their engagement with the organization.

3.2.1 Benefits of training and development strategy

Increased job satisfaction and morale

With adequate training in their areas of specialization the employees are more likely and can easily meet their targets, an element that will improve their morale as well as ensure that they are satisfied with their input in the organization which is so essential for their engagement

Improve productivity per employee and profit margin

A trained employee is well equipped with the knowledge and skills that are essential to handle a task. This will also enable them to produce high-quality work within a very short period to the level of going beyond the targets they are given. With high quality and quantity products, the employees are more likely to increase the profit margin of the organization an element that will make them feel proud of their roles in the organization and also increase their engagement further.

Helps the organization retain and gain top talent

With skills and knowledge, the work o employees in an organization are simplified and they easily attain their targets as well as play greater roles in the development of the organization. This increases their confidence and loyalty to the organization. With a comfortable working environment, they are more likely to stay as long as possible in the organization.

3.3: Rewards and Recognition strategy

Rewards and recognition is a strategy where the employees are recognized and appreciated based on their performance and the impact they had on the organization as far as achieving its goals is concerned. For the strategy to be successful it has to be done in a clear, fair, and timely manner and it can include financial compensation, team celebration organizing recognition, and rewarding ceremony among many other ways.

3.3.1: Benefits of rewards and recognition strategy

Encourage friendly competition

Recognizing and rewarding best-performing employees increases the awareness to the employees on the need to give it all in their day-to-day tasks as well as supports the friendly rivalry among the employees. The employees will start comparing their performances with each other and strive to do better than the others to be recognized and receive rewards.

Improve productivity

Rewarded r recognized employees feel accomplished and encourage other workers to get to that position next time. They strive to be rewarded and recognized creates friendly competition in the organization which improves the productivity of the organization.

3.4: Communication and goal setting strategy

This strategy emphasizes organization setting goals that are realistic, achievable, measurable, and known by the employees. According to Indrasari et al. 2019 more than 50% percent of the organizations that fail per year the employees reported not to have been given clear roles and goals of the company. Effective communication and goal setting are therefore essential tools in the human resources of an organization. By clearly communicating the goals of the organization time and again and the management is free to the workers they will be more engaged to the organizational goals and strongly connected to the day-to-day activities of the organization.

3.4.1 Benefits of communication and goal setting strategy

The first crucial function of effective communication in an organization is to avoid any form of confusion in an organization. Miscommunication plays a greater role in the disengagement of employees but with a clear knowledge about their roles and the goals of the organization the employees are more likely to be engaged (Koon and Ho, 2021). Other benefits include providing purpose to individuals in the organization, building a positive company culture, increasing team working because each individual understands their stake in the company, and also creating an accountable workforce.

3.5: Organizational transparency strategy

According to Jiang & Luo, 2018 employees are more likely to be committed and engaged to the mission and vision of an organization if transparency is among the company’s culture. This employee engagement strategy emphasizes the need for the company to be honest and open when communicating different essential issues to the employees.

3.5.1 Benefits of organizational transparency strategy

Transparency in an organization plays a greater role in producing trust and goodwill in the organization. This is relevant to the company because it safeguards the reputation of the organization with other stakeholders and reduces the barriers in their operations (Koon and Ho, 2021). Other benefits of organizational transparency include improving employee morale, increasing employee engagement, and attracting higher-quality partners and better-fit candidates during the recruitment process.

In general employee engagement is the extent to which an individual or a worker is dedicated, connected, or enthusiastic towards their jobs or organizational goals. Employee engagement is a crucial element and determinant to the success or failure of an organization. According to Deloitte and Zinger’s models of employee engagement some of the major drivers of employee engagement in an organization include trusted leadership, company values, opportunity to give and receive feedback, opportunities for learning and development among many others. To strategically engage employees in an organization some of the major employee engagement strategies that can be used by an organization include organizational transparency strategy, communication, and goal setting strategy, rewards and recognition strategy, training and learning opportunities strategy, and workload and work life balance strategy. Some of the benefits the organization ought to get from these strategies include increased productivity, increased profit margin, reduced staff turnover, greater employee commitment, loyalty and motivation, a happier and less stressed workforce, a healthy competition among many others. Individual employees on the other hand will be more productive, enjoy a healthy and less stressed workplace, get extra skills, be satisfied with their jobs, enjoy a good relationship with their leaders and other workers and be part and enjoy being associated with the organization.

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