Thoughts about engagement at work
I would like to share my thoughts about the topic „engagement at work“, that was discussed in todays class. We defined engagement, pointed out the positive effects engagement has and how a leader can build engagement at work. I will focus my thoughts on the negative points engagement can have from a company and employee point of view and I will also share my point of view about the attention this topic receives.
From the definition provided by Christian, Garza and Slaugther, 2011 that says engagement at work can be described as a “psychological connection with the performance of word tasks rather than an attitude toward features of the organization or the job”, one can observe that engagement is something that goes beyond pure job or task satisfaction. It goes deeper and leads to better performance, more innovation and very committed people. An outcome every company and every employee wants to have. That said, I would like to bring up my first point. I think pushing this topic and creating awareness to a broader audience leaves to very unrealistic expectations for employees. Of course, engagement has its positive sides for both parties and nowadays work life balance and job satisfaction is important, but I seriously doubt that there are enough meaningful and exciting jobs to expect every single worker to be engaged. It might be even profitable to lower expectations of people on how engaged they can be at work, so employees can be surprised and even more satisfied when their expectations are exceeded and they might be not disappointed if engagement is low, because their expectations were not that high.
Another thing I would like to mention is, that engagement at work should never be seen as the final outcome and it should not be misunderstood by employees. One should always remind itself of the goal of a company, namely, making money. Of course, work engagement makes employees feel happier, more satisfied and very committed. It also increases productivity for the company and hence the employees can contribute to the success of the company. Still, work engagement is the mean that helps an organization to be more successful. Employees should never misinterpret it, the firm is not interest in a persons well being like your family is, it is only a mean to achieve a goal. Also from a companies perspective, it should not loose control of this process and it should not forget what the final goal is. I do not say that this relationship is a bad one, I would only like to shed some light on it, as I think that people often forget what the goal is, from both sides.
My last point on this topic is simply that a company should not overemphasize work engagement. The positive effects it brings, are only there up to a certain point. Over engagement can lead to very happy employees that do not feel the need and urgency to work. Hence processes might be slowed down and the drive for new innovation might be missing. All in all, I think one should have a balance between too much of engagement and none to create a productive working climate.