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Employee engagement, also called 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. (Wikipedia)
Engagement at work was conceptualized by Kahn, (1990) as the ‘harnessing of
organisational members’ themselves to their work roles’. Bakker and Leiter (2010p1) referred to engagement at work as “a positive, fulfilling affective-motivational state of work-related well-being that can be seen as the antipode of job burnout”. In engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively and emotionally during role performance.
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Employee Engagement is a concept that has evolved over the years from Human Resource Management encompassing the totality of an employer’s ability to have continually an employee’s loyalty, significant and meaningful contribution to the organisation’s goals and objectives, motivation to put at the disposal of the company his key skills and knowledge and most importantly allegiance to the organisation.
An engaged employee is a person who is enthusiastic about their work and feels compelled to strive towards a challenging goal. Improving employee engagement directly impacts measurable business outcomes. An engaged employee is ‘committed to the success of the organisation, emotionally attached and socially involved with the organisation’ (Dr Charles Woodruffe, 2006).
While the term “Employee engagement” is a relatively new concept in Human Resource Management, many organisations internationally have been quick to imbibe this as a key element in their management of employees as it seems “one of the biggest business growth opportunities today is focused on work engagement. Companies that make employee engagement fundamental to their business cannot be touched by their competitors. “Employee engagement is a measure of employees’ emotional and rational attachment to the Bank. It is critical to the long-term success of the Group and, as such; an employee engagement target was included in the 2008 objectives for Group Executives” First Bank Business Review (2008). Macey ET (2009 p1) argues that ‘no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it’.
A loyalty expert Kyle LaMalfa said in his article (11 Ways to increase your employee loyalty) that “organisations that promote employee engagement enjoy more profit and grow faster because engaged employees enable a “skill-liquidity,” – an ability to adapt skills to changing business needs – that improves a company’s flexibility to evolve and capitalize on new business environments”.
Employers are gradually realizing that the most integral part of their organisations key resource is the Human Resources. According to the research carried out by ISR Global Research in 2006, they found 52 per cent improvement in a year performance of companies with highly engaged employee’s than companies with low employees’ engagement.
Bill Werst, author of “Common Sense Managing (2000)”Identified 5 key elements in achieving employee retention, a key indicator of employee engagement as; “Competitive Compensation & Benefits, Sound organisational Structure, Leadership and motivating Work Environment, Recognition and Reward, Employee dreams and Empowerment”.
Recently, there has been a growing emphasis in human resource texts that reward should be utilised as a strategic tool to manage organisation performance and employee engagement (Marchington and Wilkinson, 2005p321). Reward management involves the analysis and effective control of employee remuneration, salary and all benefits. It is an important feature of human resource management. Moreover, it is the main reason why people work. It is a sensitive and controversial aspect of Human Resource Management that has been widely and highly debated on. Moreover many authors agree that reward has an influence on organisation commitment, engagement, job satisfaction and job motivation.
Organisations need to develop an effectively reward strategy that will help to attract suitable employee as possible, to retain the satisfactory ones among the employees, and as a reward for the effort, time, skill, loyalty and higher engagement. To ensure high employee engagement in an organisation is not a function of combining the best operation tools but part of human resource management which is concerned with staffing, motivating and satisfying the need of people at work.
Most organisations put more emphases on the monetary aspect of reward management as the major motivating factor that increase employee engagement, commitment and loyalty to the organisation .According to (Kyle LaMalfa, 2007) “Employee motivation should be associated with traditional rewards, such as pay and compensation, but also with emotional rewards such as personal growth, working for a common cause, being part of a high-performance team, and being recognized for achievements. The Institute of Employment Studies (IES) also support this in the 2010 survey that the main driver of engagement is a sense of feeling valued and involved ,involvement in decision-making, freedom to voice ideas, to which managers listen, feeling enabled to perform well, having opportunities to develop the job, feeling the organisation is concerned for employees’ health and well-being. Which indicate that other benefits aside from pay aspect of reward strategy are important motivating factors which organisations have to adopt to engage their employees’.
Armstrong and Brown (2006 p8) suggested that the reward strategy adopted should be best fit, motivate people, support in achieving high level of engagement, positive discretionary behaviour and commitment to the organisation.
The motivation to carry out this study arouse out of the need to actually examine the influence of reward strategy on employees engagement in First Bank Nigeria Plc. This study will focus on achieving employee engagement through total reward which involves pay, employee benefits and recognition methods (non- monetary reward).
Rationale for Research
Employee engagement levels have fallen in the past years due to tough global economic climates faced by organisations internationally, and talented employees has jumped ship easily for greener pastures. There is an argument that dearth of talent in many specialized areas e.g. finance, law, engineering and such employees are easily wooed by rival companies who can pay more. This situation has also spread to emerging economies where multinationals attract top talent by offering enticing reward packages. This is also more applicable to the banking sector in Nigeria where some banks record high labour turnover while First bank record minimal labour turnover and high engagement of their workers. Although reward seem to play a huge role in employee engagement as more often, many employees cite this as one of the reasons they leave their organisations for “greener pastures”.
Employee Sustainability engagement Survey, which ran from 10 -30 November 2009 and gathered 1055 responses from 44 states and Washington DC in the United States, by brighter Planet inc., showed that most engagement efforts are in need of improvement. Overall findings showed that “while most employers have begun interacting with their employee around sustainability, their efforts are nascent and fairly basic e.g. providing recycling bins rather than linking bonuses to environment metrics”.
Gallup incorporation, a renowned Consulting firm in the United States of America showed “engagement ratio to be a macro-level indicator of an organisation’s health” .CIPD 2010 report on employee engagement confirms that “there is a significant gap between the levels of engagement found among UK employees and those that would produce optimum performance”.
According to First Bank Business Review “Employee Engagement Index score for 2009 was 2.9 as against the targeted 3.3 and this is considered satisfactory as the Group achieved 87.9% of its target”.
This research will contribute to the importance of reward Strategy in First bank of Nigeria Plc, and how best this bank can attract, retain and maintain their workforce, to determine employees’ perception of the reward strategy employed by their organisation, to stress the importance of financial and non-financial reward strategy on employees’ engagement.
This Study seeks to answer the answer the following questions:
What is the reward strategy framework in First bank Nigeria Plc ?
Does reward strategy have a direct influence on employee engagement in First Bank Nigeria Plc?
How do workers perceive the reward packages in First Bank Nigeria Plc?
Is ‘pay’ enough and how much of pay is needed to ensure employee’s commitment?
What are the other reward strategies that can be use to motivate employees to ensure their engagement at work?
1.4 Research Aim and Objective
The overall aim and objective of this study is to investigate the effectiveness and influence of reward strategy on employee engagement in First Bank Nigeria Plc.
The Specific Objectives are
To examine the concept of reward management and its consequences for managing employees and organization as a whole
To examine the present reward strategy used in first bank
To determine the effect of the reward strategy on employee’s engagement
To identify the factors that can influence employee’s engagement and contribute to the achievement of organization goals.
1.5 Chapter Outline
Chapter Two – provides a critical review of the literature on reward strategy and employee engagement within First Bank Nigeria in order to create the context for the research.
Chapter Three – The study will examine the research methodology that will be use in gathering information also provides information on the case study organisation.
Chapter Four – The study will give an overview of the context of reward strategy in First Bank Nigeria and its influence on employee engagement, and present the findings from the interviews.
Chapter Five- The findings from the research carried out will be re-evaluated with the objective of the study. It then provides a summary of the research including recommendations and also includes an evaluation of the study and suggests areas for further research.
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