ABSTRACT (EXECUTIVE SUMMARY)
This report critically reviews and analyses the concept of employee engagement as it occurs in human resource management. The essay critiques the core elements and features of employee engagement and how it relates to motivation. It reviews how employee engagement can help a firm to achieve optimal results. These pointers were applied to Apple and the paper concludes with a series of recommendations on how Apple can improve its status through employee engagement.
The research identifies that employee engagement is about getting workers to focus on organisational tasks by dedication, vigour and absorption in meeting organisational tasks. This is similar to motivation because they both aim at achieving the highest levels of productivity which in turn leads to profitability and growth in organisations. The study identifies that Apple has a system of promoting excellence in its activities and it sets high targets that employees are encouraged to achieve through close monitoring. The research recommends that Apple should improve employee engagement by hiring the best workers and keeping them under observation to identify how they react to employee engagement. Also, employee engagement in Apple should be stretched to cover retail workers who are often excluded in employee engagement drives.
Employee engagement is an important and fundamental aspect of human resource management. There is the need for some kind of involvement and inputs to be taken by employers from employees and vice versa. This is builds the relationships between the people in an organisation and strengthens the organisational culture of the organisation.
This report examines practical aspects of employee engagement in three parts. In the first part, the theoretical elements and aspects of employee engagement will be reviewed and analysed. The second part will examine the state of motivation and employee engagement in a selected company, Apple. This will lead to the third part which will involve the presentation of recommendations for the improvement of employee engagement in Apple.
This part will examine the theory of employee relations and how it links to different aspects of organisations. This includes the relationship between employee engagement and motivation, profitability and other aspects of the improvement of organisations.
2. Definition of Employee Engagement
An engaged employee is one who is enthusiastic and committed to the work that s/he does in a company. Where an employee is highly engaged, that employee is able to give off his or her best levels of inputs in order to meet organisational goals and objectives. This implies that employee engagement is a process through which an employee gets a sense of connection and identity in relation to an organisation.
Employee engagement is strongly linked to the move from transactional leadership in human resource management to transformational leadership. Employee engagement is about trying to link the physical, emotional and cognitive elements of an employee in the attainment of organisational objectives.
One definition of employee engagement is that it is “a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterised by vigour, dedication and absorption”. Therefore, employee engagement is about creating a mindset amongst employees that makes them dedicated and ambitious about completing work tasks to the highest levels and standards possible.
Employee engagement is achieved by harnessing workers’ selves and linking it to their work roles and helps people to apply themselves and achieve fulfilment physically, cognitively and emotionally whilst they complete work tasks.
3. Types of Employee Engagement
There are several dimensions through which employee engagement can be categorised. One of such approaches is to examine the extent to which employees are meeting their full potential. On that basis, there are three categories of employees that can be found in the workplace:
Actively Disengaged employees
Engaged employees work with a high level of passion and they feel a strong connection to the company they work for. They are innovative and they are highly motivated. Not-Engaged employees are essentially workers who are distant emotionally and cognitively from what they do. They are not passionate and they lack inspiration to complete job tasks. On the other hand, actively disengaged workers are unhappy workers who simply act out. They undermine what their co-workers accomplish and do not have any connection or attachment to the work at hand.
In terms of approaches, there are several methods of ensuring that employee engagement is achieved in an organisational setting. They include:
Encouraging open communication;
Real-time progress reports;
Corporate philanthropic projects aimed at specific disengaged workers;
Provision of leisure as a means of promoting a structured leap towards higher productivity.
4. Dimensions of Employee Engagement
There are many different pointers and views that define the dimensions of employee engagement. However, all the approaches to the definition of dimensions for employee engagement have to do with the three core elements of employee engagement:
This leads to the formulation of the behavioural and trait engagement processes of the self-determination theory (SDT). The CIPD on the other hand, deduced that the main dimensions of employment engagement and these are:
Intellectual engagement is about getting a worker to think hard about the job and find new and innovative ways of doing the job better. This is done through various settings and experiences that enhance thinking and analysis. Affective engagement is about thinking positively and finding new ways of improving all the time in the workplace. This helps the employee to find better ways of delivering services. Finally, social engagement is about interactions and other connections with other people and positioning that to achieve improvement in the work environment.
5. Relationship Between Employee Engagement And Employee Motivation
Employee engagement is a form of enhancement in the level of inputs a worker makes to a firm or an organisation. Stated differently, employee engagement aims at getting employees to work to the highest level of their abilities and competencies. On the other hand, motivation aspires to get employees to give off their best and inspire workers to achieve the highest levels of output in their operations. It is apparent that the two ideas and concepts overlap at some point and they work together to achieve the same goals and objectives at some point in the organisation.
5.1. Definition of Motivation
“Motivation is the driving force within individuals, by which they attempt to achieve a given goal in order to fulfil a specific need or expectation.”. Therefore, it is an internal drive that is built through various forms of factors that are manipulated to get the individual or employee to identify the need to work hard and put in more effort to achieve the best of the goals and expectations of an organisation.
In the broader sense, motivation provides an explanation of how people behave in certain ways in the organisational setting. And based on that, people can find the best ways to induce people to work to achieve specific ends and goals in an organisational setting. This view indicates that employee engagement is one of the approaches through which the highest level of motivation can be achieved. This is because both employee engagement and motivation achieve the same goal of getting the employees to give off their best in different aspects of productivity.
5.2. Motivational Theories
There are several approaches through which motivation is achieved. One of them is Taylor’s scientific motivation theory which is similar to the Theory X manager. And this is done by the view that workers do not genuinely enjoy working. They just want to get their salary and ensure they always get their salaries. Therefore, they can only be motivated if there is someone who closely supervises them and ensures that they are doing what they have to do. This is the trait of the Theory X manager in Douglas McGregor’s theory where he said such managers achieve their goal of motivating workers through the use of threats which induces the workers to work harder to achieve organisational goals.
A social theory on motivation that is based on the needs of individuals at different points in time is the Maslow hierarchy of needs. In this theory, Maslow posits that there are different stages in the expectations and needs of people. And at each stage, there are different forms of motivation which are often tied to the needs of individuals. These needs are:
Basic physiological needs;
Self esteem needs
These five stages therefore defines what an individual wants and based on this, the individual is motivated to achieve these goals and ends. Thus, motivation to every person is based on which state the individual is at. And based on that, a person can find the best ways and means to achieve his or her personal motivational goals and needs.
5.3. Extrinsic Motivation
Extrinsic motivation involves the things that motivates a person, but comes from outside the individual or person. Extrinsic motivation includes things like rewards, ranks and other social statuses that relates to a given job or task. Other things like competition qualify to be called extrinsic motivation because they are external and induce the individual to work to achieve certain goals and ends.
5.4. Intrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation involves the internal factors that drives an individual to seek to achieve a given end or goal in life. They include internal factors and variables like beliefs and emotional state of a person and they drive the individual to achieve certain goals and ends in specific jobs and tasks. Intrinsic motivation is about what a person wants and thus, directs his or her effort and focus to achieve the best results. A person might want answers to some of society’ greatest questions in life and why leaders, politicians and celebrities do certain things – such a person might end up becoming a journalist. Another person might have a desire to end a given social problem and as such, might end up becoming a politician. These are all internal and intrinsic motivational factors that induce certain actions and results.
5.5. The Impact of employee motivation on Employee Engagement
Employee motivation and employee engagement aim at one unified goal, employee productivity. This is because they all aim at getting the worker to be more efficient and effective in achieving the same goal and objective.
Employee engagement is about getting employees to focus and work effectively and efficiently. Studies have shown that employees work best and stay more focused when:
There is a clearly defined goal,
There is a process through which performance can be measured,
A feel of reward when the goals are met &
A meaningful reward for the achievement of the goal
These pointers are related to motivation. Points 1 and 2 are related to intrinsic motivation because it is about the main things and the main pointers that enable an individual to link his internal desires to work and achieve effective results to the actual work tasks and obligations at hand. This includes various aspects of internal motivation and self-belief and self efficacy orientation which are formulated when the work process is properly coordinated.
The 3rd and 4th points are achieved through extrinsic motivation which is done through the provision of rewards and recognition of effort. Therefore, it can be concluded that motivation and employee engagement are intertwined and they must work to complement each other in order to achieve the same goals.
6. How To Increase Employee Motivation And Employee Engagement
Employee engagement and employee motivation are both achieved through the formulation of a conscious process and system that is meant to deduce the needs of employees and achieve the best results. The strategic roadmap includes:
Employee Engagement Definition;
Future Vision of the Firm;
Define Goals and Outcomes;
Action Plan – Drivers;
There must be the definition of an employee engagement plan and target based on what is lacking and there must be a plan for motivating those who are not very much engaged or are disengaged or distant from the firm. This includes the identification of the main targets and the formulation of a system to achieve it.
Afterward, there is the need for a vision for motivation and how to promote engagement. This must be translated to a set of measurable and clear goals and objectives. Finally, there is the implementation and evaluation of the findings. This includes the formulation of a plan to achieve the core goals and objectives.
7. Advantages Of Employee Engagement
Employee engagement increases and improves the level of performance of an employee. This includes the improvement of productivity which leads to better results and more motivation for improvement. Higher productivity comes with two main advantages – customer satisfaction, improved competitive advantage for the firm, higher revenues, more profits and increases in return on investments
The improvement of return on investments causes a firm to grow. This includes the fact that there are higher revenues and there are more profits for the firm. And as such, the competitive posture of the firm is boosted and this leads to more results.
Employee retention is also assured through employee engagement because employees enjoy their work and as such, they are willing to tie their careers with the firm in question. This helps the firm to boost its competency and achieve a stock of effective and productive human capital.
8. Disadvantages Of Disengaged And Demotivated Employees
Disengaged employees are not inspired. Therefore, they fail to meet the target objectives of the organisation. This means that individually, they bring back the firm’s desire to meet certain goals and expectations. Disengaged employees also have a collective impact on the firm because they act as a weak link in the chain and as such, they set back the rest of the organisation due to their inefficiencies. In some cases, demotivated employees influence others negatively because of their dissatisfaction with their employers and dislike for certain forms of disciplinary measures that might be issued to get them to work harder.
This section of the research will focus on the case of Apple, a worldwide manufacturer of computers, tablets and other electronic products. This analysis will include the review of how employee engagement and motivation are achieved in Apple.
9. Introduction Of The Company Of Your Choose
Apple is a global computing giant and it manufactures and markets the best electronic products that are used by consumers throughout the world. Apple is known to have an exemplary leadership system that motivates and inspires the workers to achieve the best in everything they do.
10. Motivational Techniques of Apple
Apple is known for its exemplary and visionary CEO, Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs is known for instituting a an organisational culture that was based on motivation on different levels and in through different approaches which included:
Autonomy: the desire to get workers to direct their own lives and take their own decisions and be responsible for them;
Mastery: this was done by urging people to get better and better in something that is relevant to the company and its operations;
Purpose: There is the need to provide a system of yearning in order to get workers to stick to it and keep working to achieve it;
Awareness of Death: The idea that time is limited and there is the need to meet deadlines and do so quickly.
This was transposed to all units of Apple and all processes that were carried out were done in a way and manner that enabled the workers to meet these standings and pointers at all levels. Apple is known to provide extrinsic motivation including high salaries and a good remuneration package.
They hire self-directed workers with a hope of growing into the IT industry. And as a reward for this, the workers are systematically given 3% – 5% of the shares of the company each year. This boosts intrinsic motivation and enhances Apple in every aspect of its operations.
11. Employee Engagement in Apple
Apple is known for promoting teamwork in their activities. They view their workers as players and as such, they are expected to meet certain things and certain goals in every situation. Therefore, Apple sets up the purpose and goals of every activity and this is done by defining the benchmarks and metrics. Each worker’s obligations and objectives are defined and clearly laid out.
Once there is a project that is commenced, Apple is known to demand excellence from its employees in all situations and contexts. Therefore, the workers are required to achieve certain levels and certain standards of delivery in the entire process. This leads to major levels of demands and monitoring of employee cognitive, emotional and behavioural trends. Where there are shortfalls, it is required and expected to be carried out through different follow up engagements.
When the performance of a worker keeps falling, that individual is likely to be given a much lower job requirement. And this is meant to discourage incompetent persons from rising and encouraging those who are willing to be more engaged.
Also, Apple’s retail unit is known to be one that does not promote engagement that much. They engage independent marketers who often show signs of lacking motivation. Therefore, it is recommended that Apple sets up an employee engagement system at least, for the most exceptional workers who run the retail unit and system of Apple.
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