Employee engagement in Higher EducationProfessor Geoff White29 March 2012
Why should HE managers beinterested in engagement?• Employee engagement is seen as key to improved business performance and employee wellbeing.• CIPD research has repeatedly shown the links between the way people are managed, employee attitudes and business performance.• When employers deliver on their commitments to employees they reinforce employees’ sense of fairness and trust in the organisation.• Line managers are key to the link between employee performance and ‘discretionary behaviour’ by employees.
Why should HE managers beinterested in engagement?A poorly engaged workforce tends to:• Have lower performance levels• Pay lower attention to quality issues• Be less innovative• Have higher levels of absenteeism• Has higher labour turnover• Be less likely to recommend their workplace (or its products) to others
2009 McLeod ReviewThe McLeod Review of employee engagement – conducted for the UK government in 2009 – recommended:• The government should work to raise awareness of the benefits of engagement and the techniques to achieve these.• A senior sponsor group should be set up to boost understanding.• The government and its agencies should work together to ensure that support is tailored to the needs of different sectors.
What do we mean by employeeengagement?• ‘A combination of commitment to the organisation and its values and a willingness to help out colleagues (organisational citizenship).• It goes beyond job satisfaction and is not simply about motivation.• Engagement is something an employee has to offer; it cannot be required as part of the employment contract’. CIPD
What does research show?• CIPD engaged a research team led by Kingston University to measure and analyse levels of engagement.• Three main measures – social, affective and intellectual engagement.• Social engagement is actively seeking opportunities to discuss work with colleagues.• Affective engagement is feeling positive about doing a good job• Intellectual engagement is thinking hard about the job and how it could be done better.
CIPD Research FindingsThe research measured these factors in terms of both degree (how engaged was the employee?) and frequency (how often was the employee engaged?).Degree of engagement• 8% strongly engaged• 70% moderately engaged• 1% very weakly engaged• 21% neither engaged nor disengagedFrequency of engagement• 18% engaged on a daily basis• 59% engaged ‘once a week’• 22% engaged ‘a few times a year’• 1% report never being engaged
CIPD Research Findings• Scores for social engagement were lowest• Scores for affective engagement were highest• Scores for intellectual engagement were intermediate.Why do we think this might be the case?
More CIPD research findings• Women more likely to be engaged than men• Older workers are more engaged than younger• New recruits more engaged than long stayers• Managers are more engaged than other staff• Those on flexible contracts more engaged than those who are not.• Public sector workers show higher levels of social and intellectual engagement while private sector workers are more engaged affectively.• Question: What are employees engaging with and what are implications for the organisation?
What are employees engagedwith?• Tasks, work or the job• Colleagues and work teams• Line managers• Their profession• The organisation• Clients and customers• Their families and friends
Sectors with the most engagedand disengaged employeesEngaged employees• HR consulting and training (46%)• Energy/utilities (40%)• Legal and business services (34%)• Association/not for profit (34%)Disengaged employees• Academia and HE (23%)• High technology (24%)• Chemicals (24%)• Retail (24%)• Government (25%)Blessing White (2008)
Drivers of engagement• Opportunities to feed your views upwards• Feeling well informed about what is happening in the organisation• Believing that your manager is committed to the organisation.• Involvement in decision making• Freedom to voice ideas, to which managers listen• Feeling enabled to perform well• Having opportunities to develop your job or role• Feeling the organisation cares about your health and wellbeing• Matching people to the right jobs.
Assessment tools• The engagement survey• The employee survey• The manager’s interview• Customer surveys
Manager strategies forengaging employees• Allowing workers to feed their views (employee voice) up the organisation.• Keeping employees informed about what is going on in the organisation.• Employees need to see that their managers are engaged with the organisation’s values and objectives in order to feel engaged.• Having fair and just management processes for dealing with performance issues.
Strategies for engagement:CIPD research findings• ‘Meaningfulness’ is the most important driver of engagement for all employee groups.• Two-thirds of employees found meaning in their work.• Senior management vision and communication are key drivers whereas senior management effectiveness is negatively related to engagement.• Positive perceptions of one’s line manager are strongly linked with engagement.
Conclusions? What can you do to beeffective in engaging employees?• Involve employees in decisions affecting their work.• Be prepared to listen to employee voice and act upon it• Communicate key organisational messages• Provide a motivational model – show enthusiasm for own work• Think about job design and new methods of working to engage colleagues• Offer help with job development opportunities
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