November 23, 2008

Employment engagement is profitable

Employee engagement, which leads to unusually effective employee behavior, subsequently reflects in organizational success, U.S. researchers suggest.

William H. Macey and Benjamin Schneider said employee engagement refers to the positive feelings employees have about their job as well as the motivation and effort they put into their work.

The study authors contend that employees will feel -- and act -- engaged when their employer creates conditions that permit them to do so. The key condition for feeling engaged is fair treatment, which creates a feeling of trust and, in turn, feeling safe to be engaged.

Some people confuse engagement with satisfaction and/or commitment and consider retention and turnover to be indicators of engagement, the researchers said.

However, Macey and Schneider said employee engagement concerns both feelings of engagement, focus and enthusiasm, as well as engagement behavior, proactivity and persistence.

Engagement is not synonymous with satisfaction. Engagement connotes energy and not satiation, while satisfaction connotes satiation and contentment but not energy.

The authors wrote in the journal Industrial and Organizational Psychology that employees come to work ready to be engaged, and the challenge for organizations is to create conditions that will release that energy.