Employee engagement, also called work engagement or worker
engagement, is a business management concept. An "engaged employee"
is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work, and
thus will act in a way that furthers their organization's interests. According
to Scarlett Surveys, "Employee Engagement is a measureable degree of an
employee's positive or negative emotional attachment to their job,
colleagues and organization which profoundly influences their willingness
to learn & perform at work". Thus engagement is distinctively different
from satisfaction, motivation, culture, climate and opinion and very
difficult to measure.
Employee engagement was described in the academic literature by
Schmidt et al. (1993). A modernized version of job satisfaction, Schmidt et
al.'s influential definition of engagement was "an employee's involvement
with, commitment to, and satisfaction with work." This integrates the
classic constructs of job satisfaction (Smith et al., 1969), and organizational
commitment (Meyer & Allen, 1991). Harter and Schmidt's (2003) most
recent meta-analysis can be useful for understanding the impact of
Linkage research (e.g., Treacy) received significant attention in the business
community because of correlations between employee engagement and
desirable business outcomes such as retention of talent, customer service,
individual performance, team performance, business unit productivity, and
even enterprise-level financial performance (e.g., Rucci at al, 1998 using
data from Sears). Some of this work has been published in a diversity
context (e.g., McKay, Avery, Morris et al., 2007). Directions of causality
were discussed by Schneider and colleagues in 2003. 4
Employee engagement is derived from studies of morale or a group's
willingness to accomplish organizational objectives which began in the
1920s. The value of morale to organizations was matured by US Army
researchers during WWII to predict unity of effort and attitudinal battle-
readiness before combat. In the postwar mass production society that
required unity of effort in execution, (group) morale scores were used as
predictors of speed, quality and militancy.
With the advent of the knowledge worker and emphasis on individual
talent management (stars), a term was needed to describe an individual's
emotional attachment to the organization, fellow associates and the job.
Thus the birth of the term "employee engagement" which is an individual
emotional phenomenon whereas morale is a group emotional
phenomenon of similar characteristics. In other words, employee
engagement is the raw material of morale composed of 15 attitudinal
drivers (e.g. Scarlett 2001).
Engagement - The New-Age Magic Wand
“HR must strive to give people the new tools they need to thrive in The
New Economy of Consciousness, specifically, techniques that expand
It is believed that game-changing research is about to revolutionize HR,
training and employee development. For decades, companies said, People
are our most precious asset, and then treated people as anything BUT
assets. Why? Because business enthusiastically (and quite erroneously)
thought CEO’s strategy was the only road to success.
Referring to the state-of-the-art research by Towers Perrin who studied 3,
60,000 employees from 41 firms in 18 countries and found that when
people were engaged, companies were profitable. The study reported that
highly engaged people grew profit by 19.2 per cent but profit fell by 32.7
per cent, when people were disengaged. “So is leadership irrelevant?
Hardly! Only great leadership can inspire people to get engaged”. For those
who see the link between people, values and profit, a new day is dawning 6
The downturn shattered the illusion of the charismatic CEO, who is
ironically known as the hero who parachutes into the company, waves the
magic wand and saves the day with cost cuts, especially jobs and a high
profile (but impossible to execute) merger. “Unfortunately, the magic
wand does not work anymore. New research cited this year in the Wall
Street Journal shows that large-scale job cuts shrink profit and stock
returns, for as long as nine years after a recession.” The only way to sustain
long-term success is through employee engagement.
“Under growing pressure of finance, some trainers are getting back to the
drawing board and innovating, considering the work of US-based Business
Advisors Network. The new wealth and jobs are created primarily through
the genius of human consciousness than manipulation of information.
“Every great product that has ever hit the market (i.e. an Apple iPod,
Herman Miller Aeron chair, a Tata Nano car), got there through the genius
of human consciousness.” In the new economy of consciousness,
companies that excel at innovation are most successful and that is where
Six Sigma fails. “As one expert puts it, Six Sigma is narrowly designed to fix
an existing process, allowing little room for new ideas or an entirely
HR professionals must strive to give people new tools they need to thrive in
The New Economy of Consciousness, specifically, techniques that expand
creativity and innovation. Google engineers devote 20 per cent of their
time to pet projects. Twice a week, it hosts employee meditation hours
featuring brain scientists and Tibetan monks, among others. “How
successful would India, the birthplace of mindful silence, become if its
corporations were to activate the home-grown strength of meditation?”
When employees are engaged they are emotionally attached to the vision
of the organization. They believe in what they do, the organization’s vision
and the direction the organization is going. Employees who are engaged
put their heart and soul into their job and have the energy and excitement
to give more than is required of the job. Engaged employees are
committed and loyal to the organization.
Here are some tips on how to foster employee engagement:
Have a well defined vision that all employees buy into. Organizational
leadership is responsible for communicating the vision and keeping it in
front of the employees. Employees should be able to recite the vision
statement and why the organization does what it does.
Good communication within the organization can be one of the most
important things an organization can do to foster employee engagement.
Employees spend one third of their life in their job and have an interest in
what is going on within the organization. They desire to know how the
organization is doing financially, how corporate objectives are being 9
accomplished and how what they do contributes to achieving corporate
Employees need to feel like they do meaningful work and that what they
do makes a difference.
Employees want the opportunity to develop and grow professionally.
Provide employees opportunities to develop and grow in their job and
within the organization.
Create a strong team environment. Strong employee engagement is
dependent on how well employees get along, interact with each other and
participate in a team environment.
Create a culture of trust. Employees need to trust each other as well as
their leadership. Employees are constantly watching leadership to see how
their decisions affect the strategic direction of the organization and if their
behaviors reflect what they say.
Employees need to know what is expected of them and need to be given
the training, tools and resources to accomplish their goals. They need to be
held accountable for achieving their goals. 10
Employees need to feel validated and that they are a valued part of the
organization. Leadership needs to show how much they care for their
employees and show recognition for efforts.
Employees need to feel like they are part of the process, that their
thoughts and ideas matter and that they have a voice in how their work is
Employees need to feel like they belong to a community, a team, a family.
For many employees, coworkers are the only family they have, so
maintaining a work environment where all employees get along and work
well together is very important.
There is a lot of research that supports the fact that employees leave
organizations because of their direct supervisor. Strong employee
engagement cultures foster manager and leadership development.
Competitive compensation, benefits and reasonable working conditions
can also significantly impact employee engagement. 11
Employee engagement activities
Employee engagement activities / programs
Picnic at regular intervals
Movie at interval of 2 months
A daily column, written by CEO, on the intranet with company
announcements / programs etc.
Update via an overhead paging system, which is used to recognize
employees for significant business achievements.
Employee suggestion systems / quick responses.
Replay on the intranet about the president’s / CEO’s press conference.
Live version of internal house magazine.
CEO spending time in face to face communication with staff.
CEO based FAQ questions on company business.
10. ONLINE “asks the CEO” mailbox.
11. Monthly staff awards
12. Annual staff awards
13. Weekly blog related to serious business issues and staff to read /
14. Appointment of disaster management team
15. Appointment of emergency management team
16. Problem solving committee.
17. Quality assurance committee.
18. Conducting soft skills training program as well as required training
19. Online real-time tracking of progress. Employees can view company
progress towards targets / goals.
20. Provide long term strategic vision for business growth.
21. Indoor Games as well as Outdoor games, like Chess, Cricket, Badminton 13
22. Celebration of Employees Birthday
Employee engagement, also called work engagement or worker
engagement, is a business management concept. An "engaged employee"
is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about, his or her work, and
thus will act in a way that furthers their organization's interests.
The assignment on an Employee Engagement required a detailed view of
an employee. This requires a change in the methodology of the research.
We carried out a live research on a company and its employees. The
company Bhusan Steel is the crux of this research. The appointment of the
manager of the company, Mr. Enabled us to deal with Mr.Manoj Sehgal,
the factory supervisor of the company. His kind cooperation on the basis of
his association with his fellow employees supported us to fetch the
relevant datas which is noted later in this project. The minor part of this
project, first complemented with the help of certain internet sites,
delivering us with some important statistics and data related to Employee
Engagement. With the concatenation of the live survey and the online
research, the project has reached its heights. We have tried to despatch 14
the appropriate data collected from the field and thus, are successful in
rendering our project.
DATA ANALYSIS & INTERPRETATION
To complement the project on Employee Engagement, we had to make a
detailed research on a particular company. The company for our research
is Bhushan Steel Ltd., located at Delhi road is the largest manufacturer of
auto-grade steel in India and is spending Rs.260 billion to expand its
capacity to 12 million tonnes annually, from the present installed capacity
of around one million tonnes with Brij Bhushan Singhal, as its chairman and
Neeraj Singhal, as its Managing Director. Its main products are Cold rolled,
galvanized, Bhushan Galume, colour coated tiles, drawn tubes, strips, wire
rods, alloy billets, sponge iron .The major part of this research was
completed with the polite cooperation of Mr.Manoj Sehgal, Factory
Supervisor of the company, who basically deals with the employees of the
factory. Following are the datas fetched from him:
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT SURVEY
GENERAL INFORMATION: To be used only for the purpose of analysis.
ECODE : FS0932
SEX : MALE
DEPARTMENT : FACTORY SUPERVISOR
AGE : 48
QUALIFICATION : MBA
WORKING SINCE(Month & Year) : MARCH, 2000 – PRESENT.
Please tick mark the relevant answer as provided against each question.
My Job Strongly Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly
1. I have the right tools and
resources to do my job well.
2. I have the training and skills I
need to do an excellent job.
3. The amount of work I am
expected to do is reasonable.
4. My talents and abilities are
used well in my current position.
5. I feel that my work is
important to the success of this
6. I am satisfied with the level of
pay I receive.
My Co-workers Strongly Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly
7. The people I work
with help each other
8. My co-workers and I
share information and
9. My co-workers do
10. I enjoy working with my
My Superior Strongly Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly
11. I clearly understand
what my superior
expects from me.
12. My superior has a
relationship with all
13. My superior gives
me regular feedback on
how I am doing.
14. My superior
regularly recognizes me
for doing a good job.
15. There is good
between me and my
My Department Strongly Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly
16. My department always
provides excellent service
to the customers.
17. I have the authority I
need to do my best work.
18. My department
provides a safe and clean
19. People from other
cooperate with our
My Company Strongly Disagree Neutral Strongly
20. My company cares
about its employees well -
21. My company provides
attractive opportunities for
growth and improvement.
22. I am proud to say that I
work at this company
23. I am fully engaged in
doing my best work at this
24. What are the greatest strengths of your organization?
A. Our company treats its employees as its family member and provides
opportunities in the growth and development of its employees. “UNITY IN
25. What are the areas that need the most improvement in your
A. Right now , the management of our company is doing pretty well and our
employees are fully satisfied with the working conditions.
Thank You for your cooperation
ANALYSIS & INTERPRETATION:
Only 31% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. These
employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to
their company. People that are actively engaged help move the
organization forward. 88% of highly engaged employees believe
they can positively impact quality of their organization's products,
compared with only 38% of the disengaged.72% of highly engaged
employees believes they can positively affect customer service,
versus 27% of the disengaged. 68% of highly engaged employees
believe they can positively impact costs in their job or unit,
compared with just 19% of the disengaged. Engaged employees
feel a strong emotional bond to the organization that employs
them. This is associated with people demonstrating willingness to
recommend the organization to others and commit time and effort
to help the organization succeed. It suggests that people are
motivated by intrinsic factors (e.g. personal growth, working to a 23
common purpose, being part of a larger process) rather than
simply focusing on extrinsic factors (e.g., pay/reward).
Eileen Appelbaum and her colleagues (2000) studied 15 steel mills, 17
apparel manufacturers, and 10 electronic instrument and imaging
equipment producers. Their purpose was to compare traditional
production systems with flexible high-performance production systems
involving teams, training, and incentive pay systems. In all three industries,
the plants utilizing high-involvement practices showed superior
performance. In addition, workers in the high-involvement plants showed
more positive attitudes, including trust, organizational commitment and
intrinsic enjoyment of the work. The concept has gained popularity as
various studies have demonstrated links with productivity. It is often linked
to the notion of employee voice and empowerment.
It has been routinely found that employee engagement scores account for
as much as half of the variance in customer satisfaction scores. This
translates into millions of dollars for companies if they can improve their
scores. Studies have statistically demonstrated that engaged employees
are more productive, more profitable, more customer-focused, safer, and
less likely to leave their employer.
Employees with the highest level of commitment perform 20% better and
are 87% less likely to leave the organization, which indicates that
engagement is linked to organizational performance. For example, at the
beverage company of Molson Coors, it was found that engaged employees
were five times less likely than non-engaged employees to have a safety
incident and seven times less likely to have a lost-time safety incident. In
fact, the average cost of a safety incident for an engaged employee was $
63, compared with an average of $392 for a non-engaged employee.
Consequently, through strengthening employee engagement, the company
saved $1,721,760 in safety costs in 2002. In addition, savings were found in
sales performance teams through engagement. In 2005, for example, low-
engagement teams were seen falling behind engaged teams, with a 25
difference in performance-related costs of low- versus high-engagement
teams totaling $2,104,823.3 (Lockwood).
In a study of professional service firms, the Hay Group found that offices
with engaged employees were up to 43% more productive.
The most striking finding is the almost 52% gaps in operating incomes
between companies with highly engaged employees and companies whose
employees have low-engagement scores. High-engagement companies
improved 19.2% while low-engagement companies declined 32.7% in
operating income during the study period. For example,
New Century Financial Corporation, a U.S. specialty mortgage banking
company, found that account executives in the wholesale division who
were actively disengaged produced 28% less revenue than their colleagues
who were engaged. Furthermore, those not engaged generated 23% less
revenue than their engaged counterparts. Engaged employees also
outperformed the not engaged and actively disengaged employees in
other divisions. It comes as no surprise, then, that engaged employees
have been statistically linked with innovation events and better problem 26
Recent research has focused on developing a better understanding of how
variables such as quality of work relationships and values of the
organization interact and their link to important work outcomes.84% of
highly engaged employees believe they can positively impact the quality of
their organization's products, compared with only 31 percent of the
disengaged. From the perspective of the employee, "outcomes" range
from strong commitment to the isolation of oneself from the organization.
The study done by the Gallup Management Journal has shown that only
29% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. Those "engaged"
employees work with passion and feel a strong connection to their
company. About ⅔ of the business units scoring above the median on
employee engagement also scored above the median on performance.
Moreover, 54% of employees are not engaged meaning that they go
through each workday putting time but no passion into their work. Only
about ⅓ of companies below the median on employee engagement scored 27
above the median on performance.
Access to a reliable model enables organizations to conduct validation
studies to establish the relationship of employee engagement to
productivity/performance and other measures linked to effectiveness.
It is an important principle of industrial and organizational psychology (i.e.
the application of psychological theories, research methods, and
intervention strategies involving workplace issues) that validation studies
should be anchored in reliable scales (i.e. organized and related groups of
items) and not simply focus on individual elements in isolation. To
understand how high levels of employee engagement affect organizational
performance/productivity it is important to have an a priori model that
demonstrates how the scales interact.
There is also overlap between this concept and those relating to well-
being at work and the psychological contract.
As employee productivity is clearly connected with employee engagement,
creating an environment that encourages employee engagement is 28
considered to be essential in the effective management of human capital.
Engaged employees care about the future of the company and are willing
to invest the discretionary effort. Engaged employees feel a strong
emotional bond to the organization that employs them.
Employee perceptions of job importance.
Employee clarity of job expectations.
Career advancement/improvement opportunities.
Regular feedback and dialogue with superiors.
Quality of working relationships with peers, superiors, and subordinates.
Perceptions of the ethos and values of the organization.
Effective Internal Employee Communications.
Reward to engage.
Employee Engagement is a measureable degree of an employee's positive
or negative emotional attachment to their job, colleagues and organization
which profoundly influences their willingness to learn & perform at work".
Thus engagement is distinctively different from satisfaction, motivation,
culture, climate and opinion and very difficult to measure.
These are my perceptions which might be effective in the organizations,
which are as follows:
A company's "commitment to improving the partnership between
employees and employer." Employers can stay engaged with their
employees by actively seeking to understand and act on behalf of the
expectations and preferences of their employees.
Employee perceptions of job importance
According to a 2006 study by Gerard Seijts and Dan Crim, "...an employee’s
attitude toward the job ['s importance] and the company had the greatest
impact on loyalty and customer service then all other employee factors
Employee clarity of job expectations
"If expectations are not clear and basic materials and equipment not
provided, negative emotions such as boredom or resentment may result,
and the employee may then become focused on surviving more than
thinking about how he can help the organization succeed."
Career advancement/improvement opportunities
"Plant supervisors and managers indicated that many plant improvements
were being made outside the suggestion system, where employees
initiated changes in order to reap the bonuses generated by the
subsequent cost savings."
Regular feedback and dialogue with superiors
"Feedback is the key to giving employees a sense of where they’re going,
but many organizations are remarkably bad at giving it. ‘What I really
wanted to hear was 'Thanks. You did a good job.' But all my boss did was
hand me a check.' 32
Quality of working relationships with peers, superiors, and subordinates
"If employees' relationship with their managers is fractured, then no
amount of perks will persuade the employees to perform at top levels.
Employee engagement is a direct reflection of how employees feel about
their relationship with the boss."
Perceptions of the ethos and values of the organization
'Inspiration and values' is the most important of the six drivers in our
Engaged Performance model. Inspirational leadership is the ultimate perk.
In its absence, [it] is unlikely to engage employees.“
Reward to engage
Look at employee benefits and acknowledge the role of incentives. "An
incentive to reward good work is a tried and test way of boosting staff
morale and enhancing engagement." There are a range of tactics you can
employ to ensure your incentive scheme hits the mark with your workforce
such as: Setting realistic targets, selecting the right rewards for your
incentive programme, communicating the scheme effectively and
frequently, have lots of winners and reward all achievers, encouraging 33
sustained effort, present awards publicly and evaluate the incentive
Effective Internal Employee Communications
Which convey a clear description of "what's going on". "'If you accept that
employees want to be involved in what they are doing then this trend is
clear (from small businesses to large global organizations). The effect of
poor internal communications is seen as its most destructive in global
organizations which suffer from employee annexation - where the head
office in one country is buoyant (since they are closest to the action, know
what is going on, and are heavily engaged) but its annexes (who are
furthest away from the action and know little about what is happening) are
dis-engaged. In the worst case, employee annexation can be very
destructive when the head office attributes the annex's low engagement to
its poor performance… when its poor performance is really due to its poor
Dr. Senjuti Go swami, Prof.HR, IIPM Kolkata.
Ms. Patricia Aburdene, AUTHOR OF MEGATRENDS.
Mr. Manoj Sehgal, Factory Supervisor, Bhushan Steel.