The constant changes and demands in businesses requires a fluid workforce which can adapt according to the changes. A challenge for the organisations is to engage, develop, and build loyalty among the employees to gain a competitive edge in today’s global marketplace (Taneja, Sewell 2015). An application of totalitarian management, unlike the previous decades, cannot be applied in current businesses as the managers require a two-way collaboration for decision making and delivering results (Markos & Sridevi 2010). This has led businesses to focus on the needs and requirements of employees in order to create a more efficient and productive workforce. Studies in the field of organizational productivity imply that efficiency and productivity of employees lie within their ability ,commitment and the relationship with managers (Markos & Sridevi 2010). Managerial behaviors impact employee engagement, which is the reason managers are considered drivers of engagement.
Managers are the drivers for employee engagement, which becomes important for them to understand what employee engagement actually means. Currently, there is no single, universally accepted definition of employee engagement (Bridger 2018, p. 1). But based on related research, it is defined as harnessing the individual self with the work role and indicated that the more employees align themselves with work roles, the more they will be motivated toward achieving performance excellence. (Bridger 2018, p. 1). Engagement relates to respect, recognition, trust all relate to engagement at various levels between managers and employees. Studies have shown that such behaviors are important for managers to drive employees for better performance. (Dasgupta 2014).
The business report presents the impact of managerial behaviors and methodologies impacting employee engagement in organizations.The primary sources of data include peer-reviewed articles, case studies, and organizational & market surveys. The secondary sources used were ebooks, scholarly blogs, and other articles from the internet that are used as a part of the research. The approach used to formulate this report was researching and dissecting a given article for information required and its application when necessary. The research was performed using the university library database, search engines like Google Scholar and the data sourced from scholarly blogs from the internet.
Engagement is considered as an asset by the organizations as it benefits in various dimensions and can be a tool for competitive edge due to its impact on productivity. In this segment, the review is done at the individual level, organizational level along with an approach to increase engagement. Understanding the managerial behaviors impacting engagement requires an in-depth understanding of engagement at an individual level. The cognitive and psychological conditions have to be met by the managers in order to address the factors that drive engagement. (Joseph & Rogelberg 2013). These conditions significantly impact the engagement levels of employees(Rooney, Gottlieb, & Newby-Clark, 2009). Their application requires managers to address psychological meaningfulness, safety, and availability to fully engage employees in their work role, which are the aspects relating to the psychological safety of an individual (Joseph & Rogelberg 2013).
The engagement at the organisational level relates to understanding the organizational factors(drivers) that impact engagement in employees. In this analysis, Aon Hewitt’s model is used to derive and analyze the engagement drivers at the organisational level. According to this model, there are six main drivers, which are termed as engagement drivers in an organization (Merry, J. 2014). These drivers relate to organizational as well as managerial contributions. The application of drivers as a part of engagement will result in three behaviors from employees which can be an indication of employee engagement in the organization. (Merry, J. 2014)
- Say – When employees say positively regarding their peers, team members, and stakeholders involved with the organization.
- Stay – The sense of belonging and a sense of attachment to the organization shown by employees.
- Strive – The motivation by employees to assert efforts toward their job in order to positively contribute to the success of the organization.
Managers can reflect upon these three behaviors and their demonstrations by employees to reflect their engagement levels.. :
The managerial behaviors required to increase employee engagement in organizations require understanding the needs and drivers of engagement for employees. This relates to what employees want from the organization, how they want, why they want and to provide it in a proper way to keep them committed to the organization. The main needs are studied based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and based on it, the engagement analysis is done(Kelleher 2013, p. 53)
The needs of the employees in the organization are mapped based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the role of the manager is to constantly monitor and to make sure the employee’s basic physiological needs are provided which is essential to complete a given task. (Borysenko 2017). Safety relates to personal safety and workplace safety, which covers the physical and psychological safety relating to their place in the organisation. The manager has control over the cognitive aspects of the employee which relates to coordination and conformance to the employee about his/her importance in the workplace. A positive work culture among teams requires managers to provide employees a sense of belonging in the workplace. Providing trust, support, productive conflict, psychological safety would be fostered on the team to get to the best outcome of the efforts. The recognition of the contributions to the workplace by the manager increases the self-esteem of employees. (Kelleher 2013, p.53). Recognition is a key part of engagement and is considered as a tool to optimize the contribution of employees as it directly relates to their self-esteem. (Kelleher 2013, p.53). The manager’s job is to help employees realize that employees are best in what they do and it aligns with maximizing their true potential, which is defined as self-actualization and is the final level of the hierarchy. Successful engagement in a team requires the fulfillment of these needs by the managers along with developing an engaged culture in an organization.
Analysis of issues and problems
Understanding Engagement Levels
Although the benefits emanating from the engaged workforce have been established by research over the years, the supposed negative outcomes of disengagement cannot be overlooked. There are three levels of employee engagement in the workplace: the actively engaged, disengaged, and actively disengaged. (Hundley & Drizin 2014) Actively engaged are the ones who are highly committed and their commitment reflects high levels of performance, a drive for innovation and efficiency. The disengaged are the ones who complete their tasks but are unenthusiastic and are not fully committed to a given task and are only driven by money. (Rastogi et al 2018) The actively disengaged employees are those who actively negative and voice their displeasure in the workplace and are considered as damaging to the workplace environment and impacting motivation levels of the team. (Hundley & Drizin 2014). The application of different employee engagement approaches by the manager relates to the consideration of individual levels of the employee. A problem that an organization faces is the reliance on monotonous approaches to various engagement levels of employees. The plans and visions developed for employee engagement are considered taking into consideration that levels of engagement are bare minimum and these actions are applied even for actively engaged employees. (Luthans et al 2002). The monotonous approach of employee engagement also relates to its classification. The engagement is a broad domain and employee engagement can be different for a job profile and the engagement can be different for the organization. This relates to the clarity of intended action for organizations and managers who are accountable when such plans fail to deliver the desired outcome as planned by the organization. (Luthans et al 2002).
Formulations of engagement policies
A problem surrounding employee engagement relates to the understanding of the engagement levels and deploying steps to increase it. Human Resources are responsible for the engagement procedures and policies implemented in the organization based on the observable behaviors while discounting the underlying psychological mechanisms at play (Saks 2017). The cognitive and psychological levels of employees are understood by the manager, but the task of the manager is to work and follow the integrated process to achieve organizational growth, The main aim is organizational growth through employee engagement, but employee engagement requires more than just a step of procedures(Saks 2017). It requires due-diligence for human resources rather than due care. This relates to deploying the psychological and behavioral aspects and finding them in a given candidate and selecting them based on it. A list of proven personality aspects includes Social Potency and Achievement Orientation related to engagement. (Albrecht et al 2015 ). A task that is required and formulated by the manager based on employees’ aspects, is in fact deployed by the human resources in organizations and is the major cause of disengagement in organizations. (Albrecht et al 2015)
Lack of Communication Transparency
Employees in an organization can be retained by three Rs, namely, reward, recognition, and respect, which are considered as important factors that influence the manager-employee relationship. (Kundu & Lata 2017). The importance of communication is a catalyst that drives trust in managers. The lack of transparency cascades to a lack of trust in employees. The problem that a manager faces is the concept of transparency perceived in an organization. A manager can be transparent in collaboration and decision making but senior management and cross-functional communication may relate to a lesser extent of transparency with employees. A study conducted in 2017 states that ‘24% of employees ‘feel strongly connected to their co-workers”’. But the response was different at the organizational level. (TinyPulse 2017,p. 5) The responses were negative for the organization except for their teams. The major reason was despite the manager’s best efforts to engage employees, external factors such as senior management and their coordination with employees lead to problems for managers. This problem relates to the psychological perceptions of employees based on behaviors by employees excluding their team. The way they are treated as a whole also signifies the shortcomings of a concrete organizational culture and something cannot be controlled.
Identification of Solutions
The managerial problems identified require focus as these problems can adversely impact the engagement levels in teams. The problem relating to understanding engagement levels requires a concrete cognitive method for managers to focus on levels of each individual. One of the solutions is taking a survey among employees backed with benchmark data to receive an accurate measurement of engagement levels. This method,despite its advantages does not take into account the other background and personal factors which affect the psychological behaviors of employees (Xi et al 2017). Another method is the self-efficacy method undertaken by the manager for measuring self-appraisal of an employee’s ability to cope with work demands, given the resources they possess. This method does not require additional resources and efforts as it relates to implementing the available resources for managers.
The formulation of engagement policies requires a concrete analysis of each individual’s physical and psychological condition in organisation. The approach followed in implementing policies is the top-down approach, which starts from senior management and is implemented based on overview of employee behaviors and patterns. A recommended method is the bottom-up approach, starting with implementation from employees and teams, and gradually moving forwards in hierarchy. This method is pragmatic and it focuses on engagement in each individual and it requires a shorter time frame for its implementation.(Malcolm 2018).
The communicational transparency requires communicational flow across the hierarchy of organisational structure. This requires a framework for organisational communication, which relates to consideration and communication among the individuals. This approach requires a long time frame, but would provide necessary engagement among employees.(Dasgupta, Suar, & Singh 2014).
Discussion of preferred solutions
Implementing the Self-efficacy Theory
The engagement levels of an employee are different and the identification of these levels is required, which results in a directive effort based on the levels. (Chaudhary 2014) A perceived solution for identification of engagement levels is the self-efficacy theory. This theory relates to individuals’ belief in their capabilities to achieve a given task under a given set of conditions. It reflects confidence in the ability to exert control over one’s own motivation, behavior, and social environment (Xi et al 2017). The concept can be used as an organizing factor for the team by managers. This relates to self-efficacy as a means to measure the level of employee commitment and engagement to a given task. Each individual has different engagement levels, which can be measured through the concept of self-efficacy (Lippke 2017). The relationship between self- efficacy and the three dimensions of employee engagement (vigor, dedication, absorption) is studied and proven in organizations (Xi et al 2017). Self-efficacy beliefs affect the choice and the amount of challenge and commitment to personal goals. Self-efficacy, as a measure can be increased in team members through various ways through training and professional development practices, improved managerial leadership and mentoring practices, and to exhibit confidence in team members (OVP Management Consultancy Group 2018). The implementation of self-efficacy as a part of managerial behavioral practices would be an important indication of individual engagement levels of team-members and also would help to increase the efficiency of the group.
Approaches to deploying engagement
The engagement policies and practices are developed and implemented by the senior management and not the managers of the team. The reason why this approach is not effective is the policies are formulated based on organizational challenges and problems focusing at an organisational level and not an individual level (Nolan 2011). Each team member as a part of the team has different experience and engagement levels, which are meant to be addressed individually by the manager, but it is the senior management who decides the common addressing factors to individuals, which reflects disengagement and minor impact on the solutions to be addressed (Nolan 2011). A preferred solution is to implement a bottom-up approach while implementing employee-engagement policies and frameworks. (McPolin 2017) There are numerous positives of such an approach. As employee engagement is an individual experience-driven in part by personal values and what is important in a job, the solution has to be personalized. Along with this, the employee also gets feedback on the individual level of what drives disengagement in this approach (McPolin 2017). With the awareness in the individual’s engagement levels, it opens the door for change to managers(Bakker 2017). The way of addressing and detecting the individual engagement levels is through data-driven surveys and frameworks which are proven effective. In a nutshell, the bottom-up approach relates to engagement within the team, gaining momentum to re-engage employees and reflect their contribution to the team along with the decrease in managerial efforts to coordinate engagement. (McPolin 2017)
Implementing Organisational Transparency:
Organisational transparency is communication of information to employees,keeping employees in the loop , as they foster the organisation. Proponents of organisational transparency say it can lead to improvements, innovation and can foster a deeper sense of trust with employees and shareholders. Transparent organizational communication includes three elements: participation, accountability, and substantial information. Participation refers to involving stakeholders in identifying the information needed to make accurate decisions. Transparency cannot satisfy the stakeholders’ needs unless an organization understands their information needs. Accountability holds organizations accountable for their behaviors and words. Substantial information involves providing truthful, substantial, and useful information to the relevant parties. (Jiang. & Luo 2018). Organizational transparency would lead to a decrease in mistrust among employees, increased collaboration, and fosters innovation. A strong managerial leadership is required to indulge transparency, as there are some drawbacks of organisational transparency which can backfire for an organisation. The implementation requires alignment of employee-goals with organisational goals and values, which results in higher engagement among individuals to organisation. High levels of engagement and organizational transparency foster increased psychological safety and help generate a safe environment to produce maximum results beneficial for an organisation. (Finnegan 2017, p10)
The given report analyses the managerial behaviors that impact employee engagement in organizations. The analysis is done and the problems are identified as a part of the managerial practices and behaviors. Managers are considered as drivers of employee engagement in an organisation, and the analysis done covers the dimensions required for a manager to detect and increase workplace engagement. The use of various frameworks and methods is done for workplace engagement and the relevant solutions and recommendations are formulated based on it.