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ENGAGING EMPLOYEES THROUGH HIGH-INVOLVEMENT WORK PRACTICES

Tue,Dec 10,2013 @ 06:08 AM

 

Recent research suggests that high-involvement work practices can develop the positive beliefs and attitudes associated with employee engagement, and that these practices can generate the kinds of discretionary behaviors that lead to enhanced performance. Simply put, employees who conceive, design and implement workplace and process changes are engaged employees. This article focuses on what managers can do to achieve a high level of employee engagement.

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EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND FIRM PERFORMANCE

Employee engagement can be critically important to competitiveness in the contemporary business environment. The Gallop Organization, which studied employee engagement in 7,939 business units in 36 companies, found that employee engagement was positively associated with performance in a variety of areas, including increased customer satisfaction, profitability and productivity, and reduced employee turnover. The breadth of employee engagement was substantial. About 2/3 of the business units scoring above the median on employee engagement also scored above the median on performance, while only about 1/3 of companies below the median on employee engagement scored above the median on performance (Harter, Schmidt & Hayes, 2002).

Employee engagement has three related components: a cognitive, an emotional, and a behavioral aspect. The cognitive aspect of employee engagement concerns employees’ beliefs about the organization, its leaders, and working conditions. The emotional aspect concerns how employees feel about each of those three factors and whether they have positive or negative attitudes toward the organization and its leaders. The behavioral aspect of employee engagement is the value-added component for the organization and consists of the discretionary effort engaged employees bring to their work in the form of extra time, brainpower and energy devoted to the task and the firm.

This article focuses on what managers can do to achieve a high level of employee engagement. Recent research suggests that high-involvement work practices can develop the positive beliefs and attitudes associated with employee engagement, and that these practices can generate the kinds of discretionary behaviors that lead to enhanced performance. The section immediately below describes high- involvement work practices and how they are utilized in both manufacturing and service settings. The next section outlines the evidence for the effectiveness of these practices. The final section discusses the implementation process and argues for the importance of embracing a participatory philosophy in order to align the process with the concept of high involvement.

 

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Tim Hagen

Written by Tim Hagen

Tim Hagen founded Sales Progress, a Training Reinforcement Partner Company, in 1997. His entrepreneurial career began in college leading to positions in sales, sales management, and sales training for small and large corporations, and eventually ownership of several training companies. He possesses a unique combination of hands-on experience, academics, and innovative insight to solve the industry’s most common challenges. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Adult Education and Training from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

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