Employee engagement concept is a fairly new term which is now widely used in the UK (Ruck, 2012). The term “engagement” was first used in relation to personal engagement in the 1990s when the Gallup consultancy firm started to use this term with employees. Then, from 2000 to 2005 the academic approach to this term emerged putting emphasise on the two-way nature of employee engagement. Afterwards, this concept moved from being perceived just a buzzword to a serious construct that can be affected by management interventions such as Internal Communication (Ruck, 2012).
Employees have to be engaged in the organisation in order to let them feel they are part of the business success (Bridger, 2015). Through engagement, an organisation can increase the employees’ intellectual and emotional commitment towards the company (Smythe, 2013). Integrating engagement into internal communication strategies will enable employees to do their best at work (MacLeod & Clarke, 2009). Even though employees are satisfied with their jobs, on average, only 29 percent are fully engaged with the company, shows research from Gallup cited by Cooks (2008). Therefore, employees who are satisfied does not mean they are also engaged (MacLeod & Clarke, 2009).
Towers Watson, a human resource company, cited by Smythe (2013) describes employee engagement as a connection employees have with their organisation across three dimensions:
- Rational (head): understanding the role and responsibilities (thinking);
- Motivational (hand): employees disposition to go the extra mile for the organisation and performing their role better (acting);
- Emotional (heart): the amount of passion that employees express (feeling).
Another definition says that employee engagement is formed by the passion and the energy that employees gave to do their best in the organisation (Cook, 2008). It is also represented by employees commitment believing in what the company stands for (Cook, 2008). In addition, engagement is defined as a “unique positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterised by vigour, dedication, and absorption that can be measured by using a reliable questionnaire” (Schaufeli, 2014).
The differences between communication and engagement (Smythe, 2013, p.88):
|· Making connection;
· Sharing meaning;
· Influencing mood, climate;
· Setting context;
· Reinforcing status quo/ hierarchy.
|· Opening decision making and change to the right groups to: add value, accelerate execution, broaden ownership and sustainability;
· =power sharing;
· disturbing status quo/suspending hierarchy.
Employee engagement is vital for any company because it can engender advantageous outcomes for a company. In order to make employees engagement effective, it is essential to understand the employee’s lifestyle (JohnSon, 2004). Bridger (2015) describes five consequences or business outcomes for having employee engaged in the company. The first one is engagement and profit. There are many studies and evidence that show the powerful link between staff engagement and profit. The second outcome is concerning the customer. Employees who are pleased with their workplace will bring these attitudes to the clients and will determine engaged and loyal customers. The next effect is productivity. Employees who are engaged in the company are usually more involved and perform their duty or tasks better than someone who is not engaged in the company. The fourth outcome is related to innovation. Engagement can strengthen an innovative environment allowing employees to be open and creative. Moreover, the last one highlight the closely bound between employees’ engagement and reputation, both internal and external.
MacLeod and Clarke (2009) report four enabling factors for employee engagement:
- LEADERSHIP, strategic narrative: the leader is necessary for engagement because it has to convey the strategic narrative providing a clear vision of the organisation and helping the employees to understand their role in achieving the company’ objectives;
- ENGAGING MANAGERS: employees need a manager who can offer inspiration, feedback, empowerment, coaching and be engaged in the organisation;
- VOICE: it is important that employees are listened to, they can express their opinions openly and make a difference in the company;
- INTEGRITY: there should not be any gap between what an organisation states its values are and its behaviours.
According to this study if an organisation will focus more on each above enablers will increase the employee engagement within the company and will obtain positive outcomes.