Employee Engagement

What Does It Mean to Be Engaged at Work?

Being engaged at work does not necessarily mean that the employee must work after his working hours and put aside his whole private life just for the sake of a company. Being engaged at work means the company and the employee have the same goals. Both sides need to be on the same page on what they are trying to achieve and their overall mission. If that is met, then it can be said that there’s a good engagement, and both – the employee and employer are engaged. Engagement is like a two-way street, where without one isn’t the other one, personal growth is required for both sides and not only one of the parties involved. The employer is the best showcase and example for the rest involved. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there has to be money involved to increase personal growth; it is sometimes enough with a superior for an employee to follow and learn from.

Employer’s role in providing the engagement needed

Nowadays, employers are expected to offer their employees career ladders that take care of employee’s career growth, that is, help progress in their duties and responsibility and in that way also increase their pay. Offering career growth within the company itself can lead to a long-term relationship between the employer and the employee based on trust and loyalty between the two. According to John Kotler’s work in 2012, it is stated that an employer’s role as someone to look up to or as a mentor is essential to young employees, who have just started working in that company. He states that many successful executives have had employers like that in their early careers, which resulted in becoming so successful careers.

Employee vs. employer

As we found out already that engagement is a two-way street, but who should then take responsibility for the loss of engagement? If it is a two-way street, we could split in 50% for each, and the real situation is somewhat similar. In 2014 we could see blame being thrown from one to another. Around 70% of employees believed that the employer is responsible for providing their development possibilities. In contrast, around 80% of employers thought that employees should improve their skills and build their careers on their own. This is why both party commitment is so crucial to achieving everyone’s goals. Another big question in employee and employer relationships is more important for the employer and the company. Is it someone who is not on the same page as the company and does not care about their values, but has a lot of experience and knowledge to share or someone with great engagement and interest in the core values, but less knowledge to give?

Willpower’s effect of engagement

The short definition of willpower is conscious and effortful regulation of the self by the self. In other words, one has to be aware that he has to give his energy and time to achieve the goal. Will is also crucial in employee engagement, because not willing to do anything for improvements will not lead to any progress. In today’s society, we miss out on will for many. For instance, in 2011, about one-third of the respondents to a Stress in America survey admitted that will is the biggest obstacle for them to achieve something. Still, the real number could be even bigger, because there probably are people who do not want to admit it. Sometimes people only use their short-term will, which in this case particularly is, frankly speaking, not enough, because changing habits and people, in general, takes a lot of time, so the need for willpower is necessary to last for a longer period of time, but it, of course, is a depletable resource that we use, that is why it is so important to use it very effectively.

Engagement at work in different regions

For this, we are offering to look at data collected by Kincentric in 2019. Looking at the world map in Kincentric research, we see an increase in engagement in many countries, and the global trend is the same; however, we see that it differs in different regions and countries. At first, if we take North America, then engagement in the U.S. hasn’t changed since last year, but Canada has seen a decent drop, whereas in Latin America largest markets like Brazil and Argentina have stayed consistent. Next, Europe has remained the same, but there has been a reasonable increase in northern, eastern, and central Europe; however, the rest of the region has seen a significant drop. Surprisingly, the Middle East, and Asian countries like India, China, and Indonesia have experienced a climb in engagement. So it can be clearly seen that engagement differs quite a bit in different parts of the world, so we can look at the things that make the difference between the regions. The first and foremost would be the people, including religion, social environment in the country, age, and experience. Other factors could be the country’s economic situation or region, overall work environment, education level, etc.

Does the level of industrialization affect engagement in the area?

Research in 2014 showed that more than 50% of the EU countries had higher unemployment in cities rather than in the suburbs or more rural areas. This shows how disengaged people aged 15 – 74 (also known as the economically active age) are. This could be, because the more advanced cities implement more technology and systems in their infrastructure and other fields. However, more rural areas can’t get the newest advancements for a few reasons, so a lot of human work is required there. 

The process of becoming more engaged takes time, but more importantly – our willpower. Unfortunately, the lack of will is the most crucial aspect that will slow down the increasing engagement at work. Business leaders must first find out what the main reasons are for low employee engagement. These issues also need to be discussed extensively with the employees themselves, so that both management and work teams commit to improving the situation and helping each other.

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