Methodologies to measure and define Employee Engagement
Employee engagement has been characterized as a distinct and unique construct that consists of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral components associated with individual role performance. Engaged employees often display a deep, positive emotional connection with their work and are likely to display attentiveness and mental absorption in their work. Engaged employees are consistently more productive, profitable, safer, healthier, and less likely to leave their employer. Employee engagement is a new term for organizations due to its recent transformation from the previously known concepts of employee satisfaction and employee commitment. Although the organizations often struggle in achieving their desired goals, they tend to claim employees to be one of their important assets. This is mainly because of the importance attached to their efforts and their impact on the organization’s overall performance and productivity. Hence, employee engagement holds great significance not only for the traditionally operating companies but also for the knowledge worker organization which is based on human intellect and creativity. Despite the influential role of employee engagement, companies continuously struggle with it. This can be attributed to the inconsistency and difference in the way Employee Engagement is defined and measured. Thus, there is a dire need to achieve universality in this context in order to achieve greater improvements for the organizations. One specific group of employees in high tech companies are knowledge workers. Knowledge workers are employees such as data analysts, product developers, planners, programmers, service providers and researchers who are engaged primarily in acquisition, analysis, and manipulation of information as opposed to production of goods. Today’s workforce in a working environment, where knowledge, the application of that knowledge in research and development and the speed and quality of product development, sales and marketing is more important, than traditional production knowledge is often described as the Knowledge worker age.
The common goal of every organization revolves around achieving the best performance, maintaining a stable and good reputation in the market, and reaching continuous and repeated success. This objective is accomplished not only by gratifying the customers and providing the market with quality products and services, but also by satisfying and engaging the employees within the organization. This is because of the fact that employees are amongst the most valuable assets of an organization who can not only satisfy the customer but play an influential role in determining the success and sustainability of an organization. The knowledge, skills, creativity and the effort of the employees are a key to organizational prosperity in the age of knowledge workers where companies hire best employees who can benefit the organization with their optimum input. As a matter of fact, it is not only the worker who is responsible in putting his maximum effort but also the organization where the work culture, business strategies and leadership plays a vital role in engaging the employees.
Despite the commonality in the aims of organizations, there are a number of factors on the basis of which, the types of organizations can be distinguished. These organizations can be classified as the knowledge and the traditional operating organizations. These two types are different on the basis of innovation and human resource. In this regard, innovation has a significant place in the knowledge organizations where creativity is required from every single member. In contrast, the traditional organizations consider innovation and creativity as a source of extra benefit; its absence won’t matter to these companies. Secondly, these organizations also differ on the role of human resource. Human intellect is valued in knowledge organizations and regarded as a capital for them. This is because those knowledge organizations are more concerned about the vision, skills and expertise possessed by the workers. Since knowledge organizations and the traditional companies differ on the basis of the mentioned areas, their management must implement strategies on the basis of these differences.
Although, knowledge is the basis of every organization, some companies utilize knowledge to a greater extent; they formulate technologies, conduct research and discover applications. These knowledge organizations cultivate creativity along with human resource and become their key input in their business operations and productivity gain. For this purpose, such organizations require employees who are creative and free thinkers. Such people can bring about a sense of uniqueness and help the company achieve its desired goals. In addition, organizations must take each knowledge worker as different and unique where every employee can greatly contribute to the organization. Hence, the management also plays a vital role in utilizing the efforts of these employees. Today, despite the fact that job satisfaction has surpassed the needs of individuals, employees value individuality which can be further accomplished with the help of the organization (Amar, 2002). Therefore, the organizations must let the employees enjoy their space and the diversity of their work. Moreover, the managers should understand the potential of every employee, take care of their needs and provide them with opportunities to succeed and benefit the company.
The knowledge worker is recognized on the basis of his intellect and his contribution to the knowledge organization. For this reason, companies face a great challenge in identifying individuals with such skills. However, because of their influence on the performance of the company, stock returns and the customers, organizations must be considerate in implementing strategies that would drive employee engagement.
In this regard, employee engagement becomes an important focus of every organization running today. This initially started from the end of 1990s where the term of the talent hunt was the concerning area of companies which later transformed into employee engagement. However, this progress of this concept met a pause early in the year 2000, where political and economic conditions of the work became the center of attention. Despite the situational ups and downs, according to the Watson Wyatt study (2005), the concept of employee satisfaction in 1990 transformed to employee commitment in 2000s and was finally extended to the concept of employee engagement in 2007. This continued to expand till today where employee engagement has become a major issue of discussion for everyone. Although, employee engagement holds great significance for every organization, companies continuously struggle in engaging their employees. Moreover, limited research is available on this context which addresses the issue of employee engagement.