Abstract: The main objective of this article is to study the influence of Human Resources Management (HRM) practices which include employee communications and employee development on employee engagement. Products and process alone cannot help organisations maintain loyal customers. They need enthusiastic, dedicated and involved people who are passionate about their works and organisations, in short, they need “engaged employees”. The focus on employee engagement has become most important topics not only in Human Resource (HM) team but also on the whole organisation. A strategic approach to enhancing employee engagement is required as organisation need to be clear about what they are proposing to do about this important factor affecting the behaviour of their employees, taking account information about their engagement levels and trends.
Keywords: Employee engagement, Human resource management practices, communication, employee development, strategic.
The aim of this article is to examine and gain better understanding of the drivers that influence employee engagement in the organisation, discuss what employee engagement means, why it is critical to the bottom line of the organisation and relationship between HRM practices and employee engagement.
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Employee engagement takes place when people are committed to their work and the organisation and are motivated to achieve high levels of performance. According to CIPD (2012) engagement has become for practitioners an umbrella concept for capturing the various means by which employers can elicit additional or discretionary effort from employees- a willingness on the part of staff to work beyond contract. It has become a new management mantra. As David Guest (2014) remarked that one of the attractions of engagement is that it is clearly a good thing. A considerable amount of research has indicated that higher of engagement produce a range of organisational benefits.
It is observed that HRM practices have an influence on the employee work engagement. This shows that managers are attracted to the concept because they like the idea of having engaged employees and dislike the prospect of having disengaged employee.
This article will illustrate the understanding of employee engagement and link it to organisation strategies, business plan and strategic human resource information systems (HRIS). A human resource plan will be provided for organisation to improving high work engagement level among the employees and the article will finish by some recommendations and a conclusion.
Literature Review & Discussion
Employee work engagement is a business management concept and there are distinct approaches to defining engagement. Dr. William Kahn (1990) was the first introduced the concept of employee engagement as he described employee are involved in their work performance at three levels: physically, cognitively, and emotionally. According to Schaufeli and his colleagues (2004), defines employee engagement as vigor (energy), dedication (persistence) and absorption (focus). In the Maslach Burnout Inventory, work engagement is defined by relatively low scores on exhaustion and cynicism combined with high scores on professional efficacy. This approach offers simplicity: it stays with energy, involvement and efficacy, adding no other dimensions to the conduct. There have been dozens of definitions since the explosion of interest in the concept during the 2000s. Harter, Schmidt and Hayes (2002) stated that engagement was the individual’s involvement and satisfaction with as well as enthusiasm for work. A later definition was produced by Macey et al (2009) who defined engagement as an individual’s purpose and focus energy, evident to other in the display of personal initiative, adaptability, effort and persistence directed toward organisation goals.
Schaufeli, Bakker and Salanova (2004) introduced Utrecht Work Engagement Scale to measure these 3 elements of engagement. This approach reflects an assumption that engagement related construct including qualities and requires different strategies and initiatives. In addition, highly engaged employees take primary responsibility for their own engagement and remain highly engaged almost anywhere. Employees who are engaged in their work and committed to their organisations give companies huge advantages including higher productivity and lower employee turnover (Trust et all, 2014).
HR practices and employee work engagement
Engagement is part of best HR practices, some studies have shown the relationship between HR practices and various measure of firm performance. Best HR practices and employee engagement leads to high organizational performance. MacDuffie (1996) found that HR practices were related to productivity and engagement in how manager strategies to develop their workers become engage in work given. Employee engagement in HR encourages all member of the organisation to work more energetic and toward accomplishing the common goals. It also helps employee more confidence and dealing with challenges easily in their work. As outlined by Colquitt and Macey (2005), engaged employees are more adaptable to change, more proactive, more loyal, more positive, and more aligned with the culture and value of the organisation. As a result, organisation that foster engagement deliver better performance, both in terms of customer satisfaction and financial result because their employees will be more committed to the goals of the organisation.
The important and benefits of employee engagement
Trust et all (2014) noted that the potential for employee engagement to raise levels of corporate performance and profitability. Evidence for this had been provided by Gallup (2006) who examined over 23,000 business units and compared top quartile and bottom quartile financial performance with engagement scores. They found that those with engagement scores in the bottom quartile averaged 31-51percent more employee turnover, 51 percent more inventory shrinkage and 62 percent more accidents. Those with engagement scores in the top quartile averaged 12 percent higher customer advocacy, 18 percent higher productivity and 12 percent higher profitability.
Other studies have also indicated that higher levels of engagement produce the benefits for organisation. Higher productivity: engaged employees perform 20 percent better than average (Conference Board, 2006). Lower staff turnover: engaged employee are 87 percent less likely to leave (Corporate Leadership Council, 2004) and better attendant: engaged employees have lower sick leave (CIPD, 2007)
Highly engaged and empowered staff not only generates better outcomes but there are further benefits to organisation. According to NHS Employers 2014, people who are highly engaged at work are feel excited and enthusiastic about their role, say time passes quickly at work, re prepared to give discretionary effort when required, believe that they make a difference, invite others into the activity or organisation (their enthusiasm is contagious), report higher levels of life satisfaction and lower levels of ill health, depression and mental health problems, are less likely to experience symptoms of stress or burnout, such as emotional exhaustion and cynicism, find it easy to stay focussed, are higher levels of commitment to the organisation are less likely to say they intend to leave.
Relationship between employee communication and work engagement
Such changes often necessitate improvements in management communication, so employees have better information to work with and greater opportunities to have their say about issues in production, safety and work quality. As Appelbaulm et al. (2000) explained greater employee engagement in decision making benefits from reinforcing set of changes in the abilities, motivations and opportunities of workers to contribute to performance. Great employee communication will help employee to understand and plays their role and contribute to the organization’s success (Clampitt, 2005). It is very clear that communication is the foundation of an engaged workforce, employee want to know where the organization is going and how their contribution plays a role. To keep the organization headed towards the same goals is to increase the level of communication between senior leaders and your people.
An organisation that has self-empowered work teams to support an empowered culture will encourage two way communication between teams and management. An organisation that encourages a customer service culture will put in place mechanisms that allow each employee to feel personally empowered to communication with customer. An organisation that encourage one way communication and no feedback will also reinforce cultural values. Effective change messages contain five key component: discrepancy, efficacy, appreciate, support and personal valence (Dessler, Griffiths & Lloy, 2007). Effectively communicating the change message forms part of another of Ulrich’s roles for HR that of employee champion. It is important component of engaging employees. Unclear goals and lack of involvement and control are all demotivating and contribute to reduce commitment. Ensuring that employees are kept informed is therefore part of both the change agent role and the employee champion role as defined by Ulrich. When decisions are made that affect employees, they should have confidence that HR will present their view, only they communicate their opinions to HR (Ulrich, op.cit.). Feedback during change process will increase the success.
Developing a strong communication component is essential to a good engagement strategy also following up with employees to determine the effectiveness of communication efforts.
Relationship between employee development and work engagement
In order to facilitate employee progression, organisations choose to spend substantial sums to train and develop their employee. Training and development are the part of human resource practices tool which planned learning experiences that teaches employees how to perform their current and future jobs. Training focuses on present jobs whereas development prepares employees for possible future jobs. Training is the process of providing employees with the appreciate knowledge, skills and attitudes to help them perform successfully their current job. It aims to help employees meet the goals of the company as well as their own goals. Employee development is learning a long term nature. Its aim to develop current or future employees for future jobs with the organisation or to solve an organisation problem concerning.
Training and development is a part of human resource practices tool to improve or obtaining new skills. Training and development focus on changing or improving the knowledge, skill and attitudes of individuals (Werner and DeSimone, 2009). Training prepares employees for a new job, meanwhile development is essential for future assignment. It is an attempt to improve current or future employee performance by increasing an employee’s ability to perform through learning, usually by changing the employee’s attitude or increasing his or her skills and knowledge. Training and development was defined as the process by which individuals change their skills, knowledge, attitudes and/or behaviour (Robbins and DeCenzo, 1998).
Education and training focuses on skills, knowledge and behavioural development of an organisation’s employee. The approach and content of training programs can reinforce the values of the organisation. Training and development can support cultural change. Thus, team based work increases knowledge sharing. To support knowledge sharing, extensive training in working in team may be required.
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As an organisation that introduces training for self-directed work teams, providing them with the skills to work together, helps to reinforce their culture and values. Allowing team to identify its own training requirements will reinforce the empowered culture and values established by the organisation.
Organisational strategy and employee engagement strategy
Organisational strategy is the strategy for the whole of organisation, for all the critical functions it needs and how they should relate to each other. Organisational strategy includes key choices involving all the stakeholders groups: it covers critical aspects of the firm’s relations with investors, customers, suppliers, employees and regulators (Hill and Jones, 1992). Organisational strategy is the systems of the firm’s important relationship to enhancing engaged employee within the organisation and achieve long-term goals.
Employee engagement strategy is concerned with what needs to be done about enhancing engagement, bearing in mind the factors affecting levels of engagement. When developing the strategy the first step is to establish what happening now and in the light of that, determine what should happened in each of those area. Levels of engagement should be measured in order to identify trends, successes and failures and analyse any gaps between what is wanted and what is actually happening (Micheal, 2016). The strategy can be developed in the light of the information. It will be concerned with what need to be done to provide for better work environment, improve job design, offer opportunities for personal growth strategies, policies and practices can be developed for the organisation by HR and the most important to enhance engagement is the leadership by line managers.
Business planning is often more valuable as a tool for provoking thinking and discussion than as a process for defining long term objectives and courses of action.
A business plan is a formalized statement of business goals, why they are
achievable, and the plan for reaching them. It also contains background
information about the organization to offer context for the plan.
An employee engagement strategy is essential to your long-term business success and can only be efficiently implemented if your HR executive is involved in the planning and decision-making process.
Human resources planning and SHRM
According to IPM (1992), HR planning is the systematic and continuing process of analysing an organisation’s human resource needs under changing conditions and integrating this analysis with the development of personnel policies appreciate to meet these needs. HR planning has an increasingly important role in helping organisations ensure they have human resources they need to accomplish their goals and objectives. HR planning seeks to match the needs and goals of the organisation and the people it employs and this aim becomes more important as attitudes towards work and employment change. Strategic HRM is the specificity and formality of HR planning and connection between HR plans and business development plans (Dessler, Griffiths, Lloyd, 2007). HR strategies guide development of a more flexible, adaptive organisation. They are plans addressing opportunities to gain and sustain competitiveness through the management people. The capacity to implement business strategies requires implementation of HR strategies focusing on people related issues. The planning approach defines HR strategy of the organisation’s overall strategic management process. Individual development, recruitment, compensation and other activities become integral parts of dynamic process for managing strategic change.
Effective HR employee work engagement plan
Employee engagement begins from the very first day get into the organisation. To improve employee engagement levels for new employee, create a comprehensive employee on boarding process. The new employee should receive a very warm welcome in induction to help them understand organisation’s value and culture. To increase employee engagement within an organisation, the first step is to create a broad engagement strategy which including surveys. Designing and implementing an effective and sustained engagement required everyone in the organisation from stakeholders, leaders to employees. To ensure success, align the engagement strategy with organisation results and demonstrate the level of engagement that positively affects business metrics. To produce tangible and bottom line for the organisation, HR should create a culture of engagement. Building a professional human resource team and good leadership to make sure clarity the mission and goals of organisation so employee know what is the company expected from them.
Manager should arrange the meeting with every employee every 2 weeks so they have opportunity to say what is going on in their work or what challenge they have.
A strong employee voice and good partnership working are helps encourage engaged employee.
Doing survey every 3 months so HR manager know employees are happy with their jobs
Effective employee engagement improves sales figures, decreases workforce turnovers and improves client satisfaction. The companies with the healthiest company culture are those with management who actively engage with employees. Engagement within an organization is the most effective tool companies can use to track and encourage employee successes.
The article shows the influence of HMR practices on work engagement. Finding of this study shows that employee engagement is the key and brings range of benefit to the organisation. Engaged people at work are positive, interested in even excited about their jobs and are prepared to put discretionary effort into their work, beyond the minimum in order to get it done. The article also contributes by concluding that communication and employee development provides a strong base for dynamic organizations to manage the creative culture that can promote their abilities and competency as well as other strategic priorities to gain a competitive advantage. The challenges is attracting and retaining talented employees. HR practices which including communication and employee development have direct and positive relationship with employees who are engaged. When developing engagement strategies the first step is to establish what happening now and determine what strategies are required. Managers should provide communication and always development to motivate and increase the level of engagement. employee engagement is a workplace approach designed to ensure that all employees are working toward and committed to organisation goals and value, motivated to contribute organisational success and are able to enhance their sense of well-being.
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