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Predictors of employee engagement: a public sector unit experience
A look at current trends and data
Article Type: Research and Results From: Strategic HR Review, Volume 14, Issue 1/2
Soni Agrawal is based at Department of Human Resource Management, International Management Institute, New Delhi, Delhi, India.
There is a continuous exploration of the utility of the concept “employee engagement”. Employee engagement is an emerging concept and reflects higher motivational state of employees (Harter et al., 2002).
Employee engagement refers to behaviour of individuals, they bring in or leave out and their personal selves during their work performance (Kahn, 1990). In the academic literature, employee engagement is used as an attitude as well as behaviour. Engaged employees are highly motivated. They are devoted for the well-being and growth of the organization. This is an elusive force that motivates employees to provide higher levels of performance. The psychological presence as shown by employees has been captured by earlier researchers with the help of different sets of variables.
Rothbard (2001) defined employee engagement as the psychological presence of employees in the organization that involves two components, attention and absorption. Attention refers to cognitive availability and the amount of time spent on thinking of the role. Absorption implies being engrossed in a role. Quite often, engagement as a psychological state, as well as observable behaviour, is measured simultaneously. Some of the scholars have suggested that researchers should focus on dimensions of motivational energy influenced by latent conditions within an employee’s work environment that results in observable behaviour (Rich et al., 2010).
Engaged employees are full of positive energy. They are eager to contribute for the well-being and growth of the organization. They sense a personal attachment with their workplace. Schaufeli et al. (2002) defined employee engagement “as a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption”. Kahn (1990) conducted a qualitative research and tried to derive factors that influence engagement and disengagement at the workplace using data of 16 counselors of a summer camp and 16 employees of an architectural firm. He conceptualized employee engagement as psychological presence of an employee when one executes one’s organizational tasks. He inferred, from the results, that psychological circumstances are essential to justify individual engagement at the workplace. The results explained “in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, or emotionally during their role performances”. Robinson et al. (2004) defined employee engagement as a positive attitude of employees towards the organization. An engaged employee is aware of business contexts and works towards improving performance for the benefit of the organization. International Survey Research (2003) described employee engagement as a practice by which a firm enhances involvement and contribution of its human resource for achieving greater business outcome. Thus, based on research, it can be inferred that employee engagement is a mix of employees’ cognitive, behavioural and effective dedication to his or her organization.
According to Maslach et al. (2001), employee engagement is characterized by energy, involvement and efficacy, and it is opposite to three dimensions of burnout: exhaustion, cynicism and inefficacy. According to them, this is not a momentary state, rather a more persistent and pervasive affective–cognitive state, which is not focussed on any particular object, event, individual or behaviour. They further argued that although engagement is conceptually opposite to burnout, these two constructs represent independent states with dissimilar structures that must be measured by different instruments. Saks (2006) expressed the need for employee engagement to be viewed both in terms of job engagement and organizational engagement for strategic understanding of the construct.
From the above discussion, it can be inferred that employee engagement is crucial for an organization. Engaged employees are involved in their work, and they are very enthusiastic. They care for the organization and are loyal. They are willing to put extra efforts, resulting in growth and development of the organization. The positive result of employee engagement is: employees are satisfied with their work. They appreciate the organization and want to stay with the organization for a longer period of time. In general, they are committed and feel proud of being associated with the organization. Engaged employees contribute directly to the bottom line, and their engagement is echoed in their service. Engaged employees help the organization and generate patronage and customer loyalty.
According to Bakker and Schaufeli (2008), organizations need employees, who feel vigor and are dedicated to their work. Schaufeli and Salanova (2007) described that engaged employees are energetically connected to their work. On the contrary, an organization would not be able to get 100 per cent loyalty and commitment from employees if she is unable to understand what employees need and value. This might result that employees find their work meaningless, which is often associated with apathy and detachment.
Employee engagement is an area of interest for researchers to understand whether employee engagement is a repackaging of similar constructs such as job satisfaction, job involvement, motivation and organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB), which were suggested important by earlier researches. Or there is something distinct and new waiting for exploration. There seems to be some confusion how, if at all, engagement is distinct from similar other constructs. The central question is what extra benefit an organization will get with having highly engaged employees. Is there any difference between employee engagement and other satisfaction surveys what organizations are generally conducting? Moreover, how the measurement of employee engagement is going to add value in improving work performance. The questions are prudent. Thus, the following section attempts to define how employee engagement is different from other similar constructs and why measurement of employee engagement is important for an organization.
There are different constructs that were found similar to the construct employee engagement, but, in actuality, all these terms are not the same.
Job satisfaction, in general, can be understood as a positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences. Harter et al. (2002) also defined individuals who work with enthusiasm and are satisfied with their job roles are considered as satisfied. In addition, Shuck et al. (2012) mentioned that levels of job satisfaction can be affected by a variety of organizational antecedents that are job fit and the organizational climate that influence positively.
Organizational commitment is the degree to which an individual is committed towards organization’s goals. How much a person has a sense of belongingness, personal attachment to the organization like a part of the family (Meyer and Allen, 1997). Although, Flemming et al. (2005) used the term committed employees as a synonym to engaged employees, it can be inferred that both the constructs of engagement and commitment are not the same. Employees, who are dedicated to organizations like their job responsibilities are committed to the organization.
OCB is a discretionary behaviour that is beyond formal obligations. These are desirable behaviours and are shown to be related to job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Little and Little (2006) have argued that OCB is an outcome of job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Thus, OCB can also be considered as one of the important facets of engagement, rather than engagement per se.
Results of the study of May et al. (2004) found job involvement is an antecedent of job engagement. Job engagement is the result of cognitive judgement of need-satisfying abilities of the job and is tied up with self-image. Job involvement according to Paullay et al. (1994) is the degree to which one is cognitively preoccupied with, involved in and concerned with one’s present job. Employee engagement entails the active use of emotions and behaviours in addition to cognition. Individuals who experience deep interest in their roles are found engaged subsequently. Frank et al. (2004) expressed that in engagement, it is important as how much discretionary efforts are exhibited by employees during their jobs. Job involvement is a state of engagement that implies a positive and relatively complete state of involvement and devotion of oneself in the job (Brown, 1996). Also, engagement can be distinguished from job involvement, as, in job involvement, the focus is more on work rather than organization.
Thus, it can be concluded that engagement is a broader concept than job involvement. It focusses on individual’s relationship not only with work roles but also with the organization. As it stands today, employee engagement construct is a complex all-encompassing omnibus concept having multiple meanings, overlapping with several well-known concepts, and incorporating both employee attitude and behaviour. According to Wellins and Concelman (2007), “engagement is an amalgamation of engagement, loyalty, productivity, and ownership”.
Social Exchange Theory has been discussed by a number of researchers in the context of employee engagement and seems appropriate, most accepted and widely studied theory in recent research on employee engagement. The central tenet of the theory is that people make social decisions based on perceived cost and benefits. As per the theory, there are two types of relationships at workplace. Economic relationship, which is tangible and appears to be short, and social exchange relationships that are related to close personal attachment and open-ended obligation (Cropanzano and Mitchell, 2005). The logic behind is employees, who are satisfied with their jobs and like the work culture, appreciate resources given to them by the organization, feels obliged and are always eager to give their best to the organization.
According to Saks (2006), the good way for employees to repay their organization is through their level of engagement. Employees choose whether or not to engage themselves in relation to the resources they get from their organization. Employee engagement involves emotional and psychological relationship between employees and their organization that can be transmitted into negative, as well as positive behaviours, displayed by employees at their workplace.
Measuring employee engagement
Employee engagement has been measured by different researchers in different ways. Some researchers used one or two variables for measuring employee engagement; on the other hand, a few researchers used even three variables for measuring employee engagement construct.
The level of engagement among employees depends on the environment where an employee works. To some extent, personal characteristics of employees too influence the level of engagement.
Researchers, who used a single variable to measure employee engagement, found the predictors of employee engagement are meaningful work, safety, availability of co-workers and supervision. Among all, meaningful work was found having the strongest link with engagement (May et al., 2004). The study of Tao et al. (1998) found that factors such as organizational climate, supervisory behaviour, organizational tenure, role clarity and inter-personal relations among employees play a significant role in employee engagement.
The study of James et al. (2011) reported that supervisory support, recognition, employee satisfaction with the schedule, job clarity and career development are the predictors of employee engagement. Garg and Kumar (2012) found that well-defined career opportunity to employees, fair pay and benefits and the brand image of the organization offer good value and are positively related to employee engagement. The study of Rashid et al. (2011) found a significant relationship between employee engagement and decision-making, performance and reward system. The results of the study of Gubman (2004) indicated that engagement is determined by positive influence of employee psychology towards the organization, as well as passion of an employee towards work.
Saks (2006) used two variables to measure employee engagement, i.e. job engagement and organizational engagement. Job engagement was measured with five items and organizational engagement with six items. The results of the study found that there is a positive relationship between job characteristics and perceived organizational support with job engagement. Andrew and Sofian (2012), in his study, reported that job engagement and organization engagement are positively related to each other. Relationship with fellow workers influences job engagement positively.
Mohpatra and Sharma (2010) tried to assess the contribution of different predictors on employee engagement and found that objectivity, pay and job content are related to organization engagement. The critical predictors, as derived from the study, were compensation and benefits, performance management, job content and learning and development.
The study of Sharma and Raina (2010) revealed that career opportunity and pay were the critical predictors of job engagement, whereas objectivity and recognition explained variance for organization engagement.
The three-dimensional employee engagement measures of Schaufeli et al. (2002) were used by Kumar and Giri (2009). The results of the study reported that perceived organizational support was significantly correlated with employee engagement. The study of Chaudhary et al. (2012) also used three-dimensional measurement of employee engagement developed by Schaufeli et al. (2002), and found that perceived human resource climate of the organization was positively and significantly correlated with the three dimensions of engagement, namely, vigour, dedication and absorption.
The strong presence and influence of personality factors were also sensed by some earlier researchers. According to Robinson et al. (2004), individual differences play a significant role in determining the level of employee engagement. According to Bowditch and Buono (2001), personality of an individual acts as a kind of perceptual filter or frame of reference that influences impression. According to Maslach et al. (2001), engaged employees have an internal locus of control and ability to cope up with day-to-day problems in a better way.
Wayne (1989) claimed that personal attributes play a significant role. In his study, teamwork and work ethics were used interchangeably. These attributes refer usefulness and importance or worth of an employee. Work ethic stands for individual responsibility, self-management, self-esteem, integrity and sociability. This directly correlates with ability of an individual and long-term survival of that individual with the organization (Petty, 2009).
In few earlier studies, some contradictory results were also noted. Sharma and Raina (2010), in a study of executives of a private manufacturing organization, revealed that predictors such as locus of control and work ethic have no impact on employee engagement. Whereas, in the same year, in a study of executives of a public sector organization, it was found that there is a positive and significant relationship between work ethic and employee engagement (Mohpatra and Sharma, 2010). However, in general, locus of control failed to be a critical predictor of employee engagement in subsequent studies.
Besides organizational and personal factors, there are few other factors that play a significant role and influence employee engagement. Employees with different academic and social background, gender and culture have different expectations. In a way, these factors influence loyalty and engagement with the work place. These factors are experience of employees, age, gender and longer tenure in the present organization. The study of Kumar and Giri (2009) found that employee engagement is positively related to age, as well as experience. Another study by Abdulla and Shaw (1999) found a weak relationship between employee engagement and work experience, whereas organizational tenure was found to have a positive correlation with employee engagement.
Operationalization of variables
It is difficult to operationalize the complex construct employee engagement for the purpose of measurement. All existing measures of employee engagement are based on paper-and-pencil or online responses of employees, wherein data relating to both attitude and behaviour are based entirely on self-reporting of employees. Because an alternative, more effective, methodology is yet to be developed, the present study of employee engagement is based on the same methodology of self-reports obtained through a structured questionnaire.
Data were collected with the help of online survey, as the respondent organization was more comfortable with online research. To collect data, a link was forwarded to the employees of the organization, and they were asked to fill the form online. They were requested to submit the form within two weeks. Researchers received 34 filled questionnaires after two weeks. A reminder was sent to all the employees, who had not exercised yet, requesting them to fill the questionnaire and submit them. Even after 2-3 reminders, the researcher could not get the responses. A meeting was held with the Executive Director human resource (HR) to explore the possibility as how more data can be collected further. During the discussion, it was derived that questionnaire survey form will be kept to each and every employee’s work desk and will be collected personally after three days’ time. Initially, employees did not support, but when the researcher visited the organization and pursued employees personally; they could get 112 filled forms in total. Although, the sample is small, it was found appropriate to run the model. Finally, researcher decided to continue the study with 102 responses, as a few of the questionnaires could not be used because of incomplete data.
The primary objective of the study is to investigate and understand whether employees working in the organization differ from each other in terms of their level of engagement. Here, in this study, two variables of job engagement and organizational engagement are used as dependent factors, personal attributes and situational or organizational factors are used as independent factors. Moreover, regression analyses were conducted taking demographic and background variables to understand the influence of the variables on employee engagement.
In this study, potential predictors of employee engagement are personal factors and situational/organization factors. Employee engagement was measured with the help of two variables “job engagement” and “organization engagement”. Both the factors were measured by a set of ten items each. Personal factors were measured with the help of two variables “locus of control” and “work ethic” and each having ten items each. Organizational or situational factors are career development, interpersonal relationships, job characteristics, objectivity, pay, benefits and performance evaluation. Each factor is having five items. A few demographic variables were also included in this study such as age, gender, experience and level/designation in the organization.
Operationalization of the factors
Dependent variables here are job engagement and organization engagement and the rest are independent variables.
Employees find their job assignments exciting and attractive. They feel excited and willing to work. They find their job roles meaningful. They have a feeling that they are contributing to the success of the organization.
The variable is defined as employees feeling a sense of strong belongingness towards the organization. They are willing to work beyond the call of duty. They have a sense of pride when they introduce themselves as a member of the organization to a stranger.
Locus of control.
Locus of control refers to the extent to which individuals believe that they can control events that affect them. It is the belief on one’s ability and effort that pays them back and is related to reward and satisfaction.
Work ethic is a value, based on hard work and diligence. It is a belief in the moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance its characteristics. It believes that one should do enough justice with the work. A job well done is a reward in itself.
HR practices that influence job engagement and organizational engagement
Employees get sufficient opportunities for their career development with the help of on-the-job training, job rotation and interdepartmental transfers, which provide them ample opportunities for learning and growth. The organization has internal promotion policies and structured succession planning.
Employees of the organization have mutual trust and understanding among fellow employees. They have cordial relations among each other. They are willing and ready to work as a team to pursue organizational goals. Employees do not hesitate to share the information with each other.
Organization provides adequate support and variety of job assignments to their employees. The role and responsibilities are clearly defined. Time to time, some challenging tasks are also assigned that help their professional growth. Adequate flexibility is provided to fulfil the goals.
The organization has clearly defined personal policies and service rules that are consistently followed. Recruitment is strictly based on merit. Employees are treated impartially, as no favouritism is entertained. Performance appraisal and promotion policies of the company are fair and transparent.
Pay and benefits
Salaries, allowances and benefits are designed considering qualification and expertise, which is commensurate with job responsibilities. Compensation package is designed in such a manner that hierarchical differences are well protected. Welfare benefit plans of this company meet basic needs of employees and their families.
Performance management system
Company targets are set along with the consent of employees, which are specific, attainable and achievable. Performance is measured on regular intervals, and timely feedback is provided to the employees.
About the organization
The studied public sector organization is a leading techno-financial institution in the country in housing and urban development sector. Since inception in 1970, its operations increased manifold and had emerged as the prime housing and infrastructure finance company in India. The cardinal objective of the organization is to undertake housing and urban infrastructure development programmes in the country, provide long-term finance for construction of houses for residential purposes in urban and rural areas. The organization provides loan assistance to weaker sections at subsidized interest rates and undertakes special projects for such category of clients.
The public sector organization has a social mandate to meet the housing needs of the poor and disadvantaged sections of the country. More than 95 per cent of residential dwelling units sanctioned by the organization are for to economic weaker section (EWS)/low income group (LIG) category clients.
The corporate office of the organization is in Delhi. The organization has 1 zonal office, 20 regional offices and 10 development offices. The organization was established with an equity base of Rs. 2 crores. The present capital base of the organization is Rs. 2,500 crore and paid-up capital is 2001.95 crore. The organization has created reserves of Rs. 4,218.99 and net worth is Rs. 6,220.89 crore.
Total number of employees in the organization’s Delhi office is 957 and around 65-70 per cent are executives. Executive-level officers are from levels E0 to E6. These executives are from different professional background such as finance, law, architecture, civil, public health, engineering, urban and regional planning, environment and transport, community development, information technology, economics, real estate development, HR public relations, etc.
The services provided by the organization include financial services and loan assistance (Institutional Finance, Individual Finance and Public Deposits); technical and consultancy services; training and capacity building: real estate development; and technology promotion.
The services and product portfolio of the organization can be classified into following seven categories:
2. urban infrastructure;
3. building technology promotion;
4. research and training;
6. human resource; and
7. financial services and loan assistance.
Sample and data
The study is conducted in a public sector organization. The objective of the present study is to ascertain the level of engagement of managerial employees and to identify the predictors of employee engagement.
The achieved sample meets the customary requirement of adequacy of sample size in terms of:
95 per cent level of confidence; and
5 per cent margin of error.
Moreover, as shown in Table I, the achieved sample represents a fairly good cross-section of the total managerial manpower in terms of occupational status.
Sample representation across managerial positions
The respondents are relatively experienced and between the age group of 20-35 years, as 51 per cent employees fall under this age group. However, 45 per cent employees are between 35-50 years, and only 6 per cent employees are above 50 years. The mean age for the sample of 102 managerial employees is 36.67 years. There are only 32 female employees (32 per cent), while all others are males. Most of the employees are either graduate (56 per cent) or post-graduates (44 per cent). The sample also reflects that majority of the employees are experienced as average experience of the employees is between 9 and 15 years (39 per cent). In total, 35 per cent employees are having experience of more than 15 years and the rest are having experience of less than 9 years. Most of the employees belong to middle management, followed by junior and senior management. Full detail of the profile is provided in the Appendix in Table I.
All the variables used (11 multi-item variables) in the present study are taken from earlier studies and are tested before for reliability. For the present study, reliability was tested once again before fitting the data into the model. Two conditions were applied for accepting a variable as reliable measure of construct. First, the reliability coefficient (Cronbach’s alpha) for the variable should be equal to or higher than 0.60. If this cut-off point could be reached by deleting one or more item(s), the said item(s) should be deleted. Second, in the finally retained set of items, the item-to-total correlation should be equal to or higher than 0.30. The application of these two conditions resulted in the reduction of items from five to two in case of variable “objectivity” to attain the required reliability. The total number of variables used for the study however remained the same (11) as shown below:
In the present study while calculating the reliability test, it was found that all the variables displayed a high degree of Cronbach’s alpha as presented in Table II. Moreover, in Table III, mean, standard deviation and mean score per cent are also presented for better clarifications. This further proves that the scales developed by earlier researchers are sound and can be used in further studies as well.
Items retained and Cronbach's alpha values of the variables
Mean score, standard deviation and other descriptive statistics for each of the selected variables (N = 102)
The twin objectives of the present study being ascertaining the level of employee engagement and identifying the factors that influence employee engagement, we now turn to analysis of data to discover the predictors of engagement. At the first step in this direction, inter-correlation matrix for all the 11 variables is presented in Table IV. A look at the table shows, barring a few variables as exception, most of the variables as having a low-to-medium degree of correlation. High degree of correlation is found between two personality variables and the seven measures of organizational climate.
Inter-correlation matrix for the selected variables (N = 102)
In this study, multivariate analysis was carried out using step-wise regression analysis technique. With the help of stepwise multiple regression, it is possible to identify a combination of independent variables that simultaneously meets the following two conditions:
it should explain the highest amount of variance in the outcome variable; and
the contribution of each variable in the said combination should be statistically significant.
The outcome of this analysis is reported in Tables V and VI.
The critical predictors of job engagement (N = 102)
The critical predictors of organization engagement (N = 102)
The values presented in Table IV present a high degree of multi-collinearity. Because of the fairly high degree of multi-collinearity, it is not possible to identify the real predictors of engagement based only on bivariate correlations presented in Table IV. The findings of the study are presented in subsequent tables in a summarized form. The two measures of employee engagement indicate that both the indicators are positive. Insofar as job engagement and organizational engagement are concerned, there is a significant moderate correlation between job engagement and organizational engagement (r = 0.40, p 0.001). However, the results of the t-test indicate that there is a significant difference [t = 11.60 (0.001)].
Regression results indicated multicollinearity among variables. The variables explained high Durbin–Watson (DW) values between locus of control and work ethic. As a corrective measure, locus of control was deducted from the model. Still, a very high value of DW was noticed among predictors (organizational factors). The DW value of objectivity, inter-personal relationship and job characteristics predicted high DW values, i.e. more than 9, 9 and 13, respectively. Thus, as a remedial measure, these three variables were also deleted from the model for further iterations.
Regression results with the corrected model found that the level of organization engagement is slightly higher (15.77 per cent) than job engagement (14 per cent). This indicates that employees not only appreciate the organization but also like the work in which they are involved and, thus, can be inferred as engaged.
Analysis results predicted organization engagement was influenced by personality factor [work ethic (β = 0.50, p = 001)]. Moreover, career development and benefit were found to be influencing organizational engagement as career development (producing significant beta values β = 35 per cent, p = 0.001 and benefit β = 28 per cent, p = 0.009).
Turning to perceived organizational factors that influence job engagement, it is found that only one factor, performance evaluation (41 per cent), was found to be significant and positively influenced job engagement, and no personality factor had positive and significant influence. Out of remaining five variables in the model, three are having negative ratings. These are, career development (−0.02 per cent), performance evaluation (−6 per cent) and job characteristics (−15 per cent). The remaining two parameters have low ratings. These are, pay (4 per cent) and work ethic (18 per cent). To sum up, the respondents are moderately engaged and involved towards their work.
As shown in Table VI, three variables, work ethic, career development and benefits, are the critical predictors of organization engagement. Even though the number of critical predictors of employee engagement reported in Tables VI is not many, their influence on employee engagement is acceptable.
Besides, two personality variables (locus of control and work ethic), data were collected on demographic variables and background of the employees under the following five heads: age, gender, level of education, length of work experience and designation. Relationship among five dimensions of demographic variables and between two dimensions of employee engagement was tested with the help of difference-of-means (t) tests. The results indicated that there is a statistically significant difference among employees with different age group and education. The results also disclosed a significant difference among employees in terms of organizational engagement, but as far as job engagement is concerned, there was no difference among employees, as results indicated that experience of employees has no influence on job engagement. Moreover, there was no significant influence of designation of both job and organizational engagement.
From the results, it may be concluded that demographic variables has significant influence on employee engagement. The reason behind this might be that with experience and age, the level of engagement also get augmented, and engagement towards organization or loyalty towards organization becomes positive. In general, it is assumed that older and experienced employees are more engaged with the organization. The assumption is based on the logic that an employee, who is working in an organization for a longer period of time is having a sense of belongingness with its organization.
Discussion and conclusion
Employee engagement is a concept that, if implemented properly, makes a lot of sense. Even though employee engagement construct is more popular in the world of practice than academics, the latter must address this topic for at least two reasons. First, this construct has its roots in well-known academic constructs such as job satisfaction, job involvement, organizational engagement, OCB and flow. Second, the ultimate test of the worth of any academic/theoretical proposition is its applicability and acceptance by the world of practice. Guided by these two considerations, the author has launched a series of studies on employee engagement in India. The study on which this paper is based is a part of the said series.
The present study was carried out in a public sector organization with a sample of 102 managerial employees out of the total strength of 689. The collection of data was initially conducted through a structured questionnaire completed online by the respondents. But due to low response, personal visits were organized to collect data further. Saks’s (2006), two-dimensional measure of employee engagement is used. The use of these two dimensions helped in identifying the distinguishing characteristics of each dimension. Moreover, in the results, the predictors that influenced job and organizational engagement are also found to be different. For example, the findings of the study showed that the level of job engagement is slightly lower than that of organizational engagement. The difference-of-means test (using paired samples) produced a t-value of 11.61 (df = 101), which is significant at 0.001 level.
The study showed some interesting results as variables measuring personality traits derived high level of multi-collinearity. Thus, as a remedial measure, locus of control was dropped for further analysis. Although, in earlier studies, both locus of control and work ethic were used and had given significant results, although the present study could not provide similar kinds of results. The above results prove that each study is unique and because of different factors in an organization, results may vary.
Compared to these personal attributes, the organisational climate experienced by the respondents is not found to be rated equally high between the two measures of employee engagement at least in case of job engagement. The mean score for the nine dimensions of climate ranges between 1.36 (interpersonal relationship) to 2.36 (work ethic). These findings suggest that there is considerable scope for improvement of some of the policies and practices in the sphere of human resource management (HRM).
There is yet another reason for the organization to improve some of its HRM policies and practices. Out of the seven dimensions of organizational climate, only one factor, performance evaluation, emerged as the predictor of job engagement. Performance evaluation, which emerged as the single most important predictor of job engagement, was also found to be one of the critical predictors of job engagement and organization engagement in one of the earlier studies of current series (Sharma and Ningthaujam, 2014). The other critical predictors found in the earlier studies on the subject, but not found in the present study, indicate that one cannot follow a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Each organization is unique in terms of its organizational climate and the profile of its workforce.
In other words, employee engagement in the present study is not found as the product of any management initiatives that are perceived favourably by employees other than performance evaluation.
On the other hand, employee engagement measured with the help of organizational engagement is influenced by situational factors: work ethic, career development and benefits. The findings of this study have reiterated that employee behaviour (like human behaviour in general) is a product of organization factor within which she operates. Because of this unique feature, different combinations of personality attributes and certain dimensions of the perceived organizational climate are likely to determine the level of employee engagement in any given organization. One more outcome of the research is as the results reinforced the importance of social exchange theory. It is suggested that managers need to understand that there is a need to provide resources, benefit and support to employees that will oblige them to reciprocate in ways of higher level of engagement.
Some of the limitations of the present study need to be acknowledged. The sample size is relatively small. The present sample size is 102, which is hardly one-third of all employees targeted for data collection. This represents concerns and certain limitations from a statistical point of view. Because of this limitation of sample size; some of the independent variables might have been excluded from the list of critical predictors of employee engagement. Another limitation of the study relates to the scope of the coverage of the present study. Because the study is conducted in a public sector unit (PSU), the results of the findings cannot be generalized with other PSUs. The reason behind is that each PSU is unique in terms of number of employees, the nature of work and the organizational culture. Although being a PSU, most of the policies are framed at department of public enterprise level, and all of them have to abide by those directions; however, there is a scope of flexibility among them in terms of accepting and adapting them according to their requirements.
Notwithstanding these limitations, the contribution of this study can be seen in number of ways. The paper contains a fairly comprehensive literature review covering studies both in India and abroad. Consistent with the study of Saks (2006), the findings of the current series of studies on employee engagement in the Indian context support the two-dimensional conceptualization of engagement. The significance of the present study also lies in the use of a large number of self-developed scales to measure the level of employee engagement and its potential predictors. The reliability of all 11 measures was established by adopting the customary norms used to determine the psychometric property of a variable. Our search for the critical predictors of employee engagement includes both personal and situational factors. Last but not the least, rigorous statistical methods were used for analyzing the primary data generated by the study for drawing conclusions.
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About the author
Soni Agrawal holds a Doctorate in Management from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. She has more than two years of academic experience and about six years of corporate experience. She has also made publications in reputed national and international journals. She has attended and presented several papers and also chaired session in international and national conferences. She had reviewed a number of manuscripts for national and international journals. Her research interest areas are HR Analytics, human resource management, training organizational behavior, performance management, performance measurement, career and succession planning, and offshore outsourcing. She is also an editorial member of African Journal of Marketing Management Research and Business and Management Journal. Soni Agrawal can be contacted at: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org