Employee Engagement at 25: The Work Continues

What keeps the people at your organizations coming to work each day? Is it a paycheck? The opportunity to advance? A challenging assignment or worthy mission? All of the above or something else entirely? Find the answer to this critical question and you will have a key to unlocking your company’s full human capital potential.

This year, it turns out employees are placing the highest value on something that is at a more basic level: respect. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2016 Employment Job Satisfaction and Engagement research, “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels” was the top contributor to overall employee job satisfaction for the second year in a row. Next came pay, benefits, job security, opportunities to use skills/abilities and trust between employees and senior management. Read this issue of HR Magazine to see what this means for our organizations today.

The concept of “employee engagement” first emerged 25 years ago when Boston University professor William Kahn published an academic paper, “Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work.” In 1996, the SHRM Foundation gave the concept legs when it published a guide to increasing employee engagement, making SHRM the first professional society to consider it a best practice. Since that time, there has been much research and work around getting the best efforts out of people on the job.

The bottom line is there is no more one-size-fits-all approach to managing workforces. Organizations need a new kind of creativity, flexibility and approach to keeping employees motivated and satisfied. This is why in HR, the employee engagement work continues.


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