Employee Engagement

This is an extract from one of my CIPD Advanced Diploma candidates which she has kindly allowed me to share. It’s an excellent example of evaluative writing. It has academic content, is interesting to read, is highly topical and informative.

Recruit for engagement

Practices aimed at increasing employee engagement levels will not be effective on employees who do not want to be engaged. Bersin argues that if individuals do not want to be engaged it means that they are not in the right role, stating that “the wrong person cannot be ‘engaged’ regardless of what HR does.”[1] This comes down to recruiting the right person for the right role. Kelleher agrees, stating that “Some companies don’t have an engagement problem, they have a hiring problem.”[2] It follows, therefore, that there is a body of research which supports Albrecht’s theory for “an evidence based selection process to predict from among a group of applicants those who are most likely to be engaged on the job.”[3] Indeed the CIPD provides that if organisations want employees that are highly engaged then “recruitment practices and performance management are important engagement tools.”[4]

Recruiting for engagement is a logical approach to ensuring employees are aligned on an engagement index to the role they are applying for. However, this theory creates two issues: firstly, there is a contrasting body of thought which argues that it is not reasonable for organisations to expect individuals to be highly engaged all of the time. And secondly, organisations cannot expect recruiting for engagement to solve all their employee engagement problems. Instead, this research needs to be read and used alongside multiple other employee engagement tools. This is because if an organisation begins recruiting for engagement, unless they are a brand new company, they will have existing employees who may not have been recruited through an engagement lens, so they will be sat amongst longer serving employees who are not necessarily engaged by their work. Furthermore, research by Gallup has found that new starters have an ‘engagement honeymoon’ when they first join, which is when employees are typically most engaged over their entire working life at an organisation.[5] Whilst it is understandable that new joiners are likely to be highly engaged due to their enthusiasm and excitement for starting with an organisation, it is highly concerning that after the initial 6 month period engagement begins to drop off as the individual learns more about the organisation and how it operates, furthermore levels of engagement then tend to remain flat for the rest of an employee’s career. [6]

The above research demonstrates that recruiting for engagement is highly important for ensuring that the right person is in the right role. However, it also shows that organisations’ engagement strategies need to go much further than an employee’s joining experience if it wants to see consistently high engagement scores across the lifetime of its workforce.

[1] BERSIN, J. (2014) It’s time to rethink the ‘employee engagement’ issue, Forbes

[2] KELLEHER, B. in KRUSE, K. (2015) 27 Best employee engagement quotes

[3] ALBRECHT, S. & BAKKER, A. & GRUMAN, J. Employee engagement, human resource management practices and competitive advantage, P.14

[4] ANONYMOUS (2015) Employee engagement: an introduction, CIPD

[5] SORENSON, S. & GARMAN, K. (2013) Engaging employees after the honeymoon period, Gallup

[6] SORENSON, S. & GARMAN, K. (2013) Engaging employees after the honeymoon period, Gallup