In the current age of competition and excessive consumerism, all business practices need to invest extra effort and dedication to retain the customer base and continue to sustain in the dynamic economy. However, there are a myriad of different internal and external factors that influence the business process and profitability of an organization, one such substantial factor is the employee engagement in an organization (Anitha, 2014). In the face of growing cut throat competition in the business market, all corporate entities need to improve both quality and productivity; and employee engagement is a phenomenon that served to improve both quality and productivity of employees working in a corporate organization. However, there are certain barriers to optimal employ engagement in a particular organization, and they impact both the quality and productivity of the organization and its employees (Abraham, 2012). This assignment will focus on exploring employee engagement, barriers to it and their impact taking the help of a contextual organization based example.
The concept of employee engagement can be defined as a mutual relationship between the employees of an organization and the organization itself, that allows the employee to be absolutely invested in the job responsibilities that the employee has and feel enthusiastic about fulfilling these responsibilities extreme care and zeal. On a more elaborative note, employee engagement is proactive and optimistic psychological state of mind in an employee, operationalized by the intensity and impact of cognitive, emotional and behavioural energy in the said employee while in a professional setting (Shuck & Reio Jr, 2014). There are different contributing variables to formulation of the desirable employee engagement, such as involvement of the employee towards the organization and its culture, commitment of the employees towards the betterment of the organization and lastly, the productivity of the employee that serves for the betterment of the organization (Gupta & Kumar, 2012).
Barriers to employee engagement:
As important as employee engagement is facilitating contextual ambidexterity in the employees improving the performance multiple-folds, there are prevalent barriers that restrict the development of exceptional employee engagement, and the contributing factors behind those barriers are the elements of the organizational environment. One of the key barriers to employee engagement can be the lack of clarity in the staff regarding their position, their job responsibility and their scope in the organization. Often the employees do not have a clear idea about employee engagement to begin with, while some confuse it with just job satisfaction, some consider it just organizational citizenship behaviour. Professional uncertainty is another very common barrier to generating optimal employee engagement, in scenarios where the employees are not certain about their exact position in the organization they cannot be expected to be completely invested to their job. Another very common organizational barrier to employee engagement is the lack of adequate leadership management and adaptable and motivational organizational culture in the organization; it has to be understood that in order to foster an environment of complete employee ambidexterity in the organization, it is crucial for the employees to feel valued, supported and motivated. In a organization where the culture is not supportive of equality, compassion, justice and inclusive diversity, an employee cannot feel any connection to the organization and its growth (Mirvis, 2012).
Example of barrier and its impact:
All the barriers mentioned above have differential impact on the employee engagement, however one of the most common example of such a barrier that is experienced in almost all kinds of contexts is the unsupportive organizational culture in the organization. According to several research studies, the link between organizational commitment and a fortifying culture in the organization is profound; the job satisfaction in an employee is brought forward by the help of a congenial and collaborative culture in the organization. According to authors, the consistent experience of an employee in an organization is a fundamental decisive factor in generating engagement, in cases where the employee feels supported and encouraged, the rate of employee engagement has been detected to be high in many of the cohort analysis studies, whereas in companies where the employees feel pressurized, exploited and uncomfortable to voice their grievances, the level of employee engagement has been discovered to be extremely low (Mirvis, 2012).
Considering the three main sector of employee engagement, a non motivational organization culture disrupts the cognitive, emotional and behavioural engagement at the same time. Where the lack of equality and justice affects the mental state of the employee, the lack of bias and inclusiveness affects the morale of the employee. Moreover the lack of supportive and motivational leadership in the professional setting affects the behaviour of employee towards the organization as well (Mishra, Boynton & Mishra, 2014).
Taking example from my own professional experience, the most vital barrier experienced had been due to the lack of compassionate or supportive environment in the company. It has to be understood in this context, that in present day, the most of the business process function in the team setting, and motivational leadership is one influential factor in the organizational culture that has the potential to transform the culture to make the employees feel more welcome and valuable to the organization. In case, proper conflict resolution, justice and encouraging communication skills are lacking in the leadership sector, the employee engagement rate suffers drastically and it gradually impacts not only the quality and productivity of the organization, but also the staff retention rate, market reputation and brand image (Sarangi & Srivastava, 2012).
Employee engagement is an essential tool to facilitate ambidexterity in the organization and continue sustainable growth in the market. Therefore, the need for maintaining optimal employee engagement is an essential pursuit for the organization. However in order to determine how to enhance employee engagement for a corporate organization, it is extremely important to identify the barriers that restricts its progress. There are different scales and analytical tools to measure the level of employee engagement in an organization, for instance Shuck employee engagement scale, which outlines cognitive, emotional and behavioural engagement of an employee to the organization. It is an excellent tool for measuring the individual components of employee engagement and having an overall idea as well (Shuck & Reio Jr, 2014). Another abundantly used tool is the Utrecht engagement scale, that incorporates vigour, dedication and absorption of an employee to their organization; although these scale only provides an overall scale, not giving the opportunity to assess the individual contributing factors to engagement so that the sectors can be individually assessed. Hence, the most beneficial engagement scale for assessment should be the Shuck employee engagement scale which provides individual score for all three sectors (Truss et al., 2013).
On a concluding note, it can be said that employee engagement is crucial for the benefit of both the organization and the employee; on one hand where the organization gains improved quality, productivity, and loyalty, the employee gains improved skills, understanding and appreciation which will help him grow his career further. Therefore, the organization must take initiative to judge the levels of employee engagement in the employees, taking the help of the tools mentioned, so that the barriers can be identifies and addressed; and the organization can facilitate absolute employee engagement and ambidexterity.
Abraham, S. (2012). Job Satisfaction as an Antecedent to Employee Engagement. SIES Journal of Management, 8(2).
Anitha, J. (2014). Determinants of employee engagement and their impact on employee performance. International journal of productivity and performance management.
Gupta, V., & Kumar, S. (2012). Impact of performance appraisal justice on employee engagement: a study of Indian professionals. Employee Relations, 35(1), 61-78.
Mirvis, P. (2012). Employee engagement and CSR. California Management Review, 54(4), 93-117.
Mishra, K., Boynton, L., & Mishra, A. (2014). Driving employee engagement: The expanded role of internal communications. International Journal of Business Communication, 51(2), 183-202.
Sarangi, S., & Srivastava, R. K. (2012). Impact of organizational culture and communication on employee engagement: An investigation of Indian private banks. South Asian journal of management, 19(3), 18.
Shuck, B., & Reio Jr, T. G. (2014). Employee engagement and well-being: A moderation model and implications for practice. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 21(1), 43-58.
Truss, C., Shantz, A., Soane, E., Alfes, K., & Delbridge, R. (2013). Employee engagement, organisational performance and individual well-being: exploring the evidence, developing the theory.