This paper discusses the tensions between constrained work (characterised by high intensity, low control and low skill employment) and organisations requiring high quality work and cultures of engagement. It argues that enriching jobs will develop engagement and boost productivity – even in low skilled jobs – and this needs to be a priority for sustainable economic growth in the UK. In particular, the paper provides recommendations for employers who aim to improve the level of employee engagement in their organisation.

Staff engagement

Employment engagement has emerged as a core priority for business strategists and senior leaders in the bid to improve organisational performance. Despite the lack of a uniform definition of the term, its broad concept of describing a work culture where employees are committed to go above and beyond the business goals of their organisation has made it an attractive concept to HR managers and organisational leaders.

Employee engagement = more productive workforce

A culture of employee engagement contributes towards sustaining a happy, healthy and productive workforce. There is evidence to suggest that ‘good work’ (or high quality jobs) and employee engagement can have many benefits for individuals, organisations and the wider UK economy. For example engaged employers report fewer days of sickness absence (2.69 days compared with 6.19 days), are less likely to leave an organisation voluntarily (disengaged employees are 4 times more likely to leave an organisation than an average employee), and foster increased productivity and performance (investing as little as 10% in strategies that foster engagement could contribute £49 billion towards UK economic growth). Engaged employees are also increasingly innovative and more likely to make full use of their skills and profits, which can lead to greater levels of customer and client satisfaction.

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Do you agree (or disagree!) with the points raised by the Work Foundation about employee engagement?  How does your organisation boost productivity? Use the comments section below to share your views.

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