An MSc in HRM lecture for University of Sussex

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Employee Engagement in Practice


Written by John Berry on 17th April 2020. Revised 26th October 2020.

30 min read

Below is a lecture to University of Sussex Human Resource Management MSc course in Strategic Human Resource Management and Employee Engagement (780N1) 2020 cohort.

The focus is the dyadic pair - manager and employee – the aim here is to give HR practitioners an understanding of how, in practice, their function, HR, can support managers in achieving employee engagement.

The lecture will also be useful to practicing managers because it defines job engagement and discusses how it is measured and improved.

Start the video and you can use this text to follow what's said.

Like many university lectures, it lasts 45 minutes. But do skip through for an overview. Here's the transcript.

Slide 1 - Title

This presentation, entitled Employee Engagement in Practice, was to be given as a guest lecture to the 2020 cohort on the Human Resource Management MSc course at the University of Sussex. It was to be given on the 22nd April 2020. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic got in the way and it’s now here as a video instead.

I’m John Berry. I’ve been a manager for the best part of 40 years. I now a management consultant, helping managers get the best out of their people.

There’s much discussion about how business today needs entrepreneurs and leaders, with less emphasis on management. Often management is thought of as administration. As a manager and consultant, I don’t differentiate between entrepreneurship, leadership and management. For me, the manager is the person who accepts responsibility for the success of the firm or other organisation or venture. Given that responsibility, they will necessarily be entrepreneur, leader and manager in equal measure.

In this lecture, I’m focussing on the necessary actions of managers who have accepted responsibility for the people in their company, organisation, group or team. Those managers are typically supported by specialist consultants in human resource management, particularly in larger firms. The MSc is designed for those HR practitioners.

HR is delivered in many ways in organisations and I am agnostic on how this is done. My focus is the dyadic pair - the manager and employee – and I aim here to give HR practitioners an understanding of how, in practice, their function, HR, can support managers in achieving employee engagement.

I’ll talk for about an hour and here are the high-level topics that I’ll cover.

Slide 2 - Scope

I mentioned that I wanted to discuss employee engagement in practice, but first I want to set out some definitions.

I then want to ask why it is that anyone is interested in engaged employees. Why does it matter. How does the organisation benefit over perhaps just having people who come in, do a job and go home? What’s special about engagement? And how does engagement fit with other concepts like commitment and motivation?

You’ll guess of course that engagement is useful, otherwise we wouldn’t be here discussing it. Given that engagement is a desirable quality to achieve in a person, I want to discuss how managers might go about achieving it and indeed how they might go about improving it.

And then finally I want to get to the nub of the subject. I want to look at some practical cases – some people – employees – who might or might not be ‘engaged’. I want to say something about each person and ask, ‘what could the manager do to achieve greater engagement in this employee’. Of course, we won’t actually meet the employees or observe them in work, so our information on them will be limited, but I want to get you to think about what to do in practice.

And then of course, we wrap it up with a quick summary of the main points.

Slide 3 - Definitions

Of all organisational psychology concepts, ‘engagement’ must be the least well defined and the one that managers most confuse with other concepts.

Ask a manager what he or she needs from their employees and they’ll most likely reply ‘engagement’. But equally, they’ll maybe say ‘commitment’. Or, if they are managers who follow the trite statements made by many business leaders, they’ll say ‘the right attitude’.

One could also throw in other desirables like ‘job involvement’, ‘motivation’ and if looking at desirable outcomes for the employee, ‘job satisfaction’.

Like any problem, before we can develop strategies to get engagement, we must define the concept. We must ask, ‘how are you characterising that’?

It’s helpful to expand the concept to say what we are engaging with. In this case, it’s not the employer. That would be ‘work commitment’. It’s job engagement – engagement with the job done. That differentiation is absolutely fundamental to characterisation and to eventual understanding.

So, having said it’s the job the employee is engaging with, we need to see how the employee and the job interact.

Slide 4 – Management model

This is a model that is built from many organisational psychology theories and sub-models.

The job characteristics sub-model (on the far left) has it that the job a person does motivates them. All other things being equal, that motivation is turned into behaviour. Moving right on the diagram, given the right conditions in the work environment, behaviour becomes performance. And given the right environment within the firm, performance leads to outcomes. Outcomes from one employee aggregate with outcomes from others to produce output for the firm.

Leadership and culture, or climate, moderate an employee’s motivation.

You’ll see here, a host of other variables like implicit motives, self-efficacy and skills. Each moderates and enables the primary function to work. So, the employee can only convert their behaviour into performance if they, for example, have adequate skills enabling this.

Now, we all accept that job engagement is desirable. But why? I want to use this comprehensive model to discuss how job engagement plays on this cascade from job to outcomes. I hope that by doing this, job engagement becomes more than just a statement about something desirable, and then a load of one-liners about how to get it.

And of course, I want to give you something on which to base discussions on how to achieve job engagement in practice.

Slide 5 – Definitions

Let’s finish this discussion about definitions with some clear statements to try to drive a wedge between some of the concepts.

Employees commit to their employer. If the employer engages in sound HR practices, like regular and fair pay, the employee will want to come to work. Wanting to come to work, called affective commitment, is one of HR’s goals. It’s one thing for someone to feel they have to attend, but it’s so much more valuable to have them want to be there.

Once the employee wants to be there, managers can then use other tactics to get motivation and ultimately desirable outcomes. If a person wants to be there, other things are possible. Conversely, if they don’t want to be there, the cause is lost and there’s no point in discussing how we get them engaged.

Now, I particularly like Bakker’s definitions of engagement. He characterises job engagement by high energy input, addressing the job with vigour, dedication and being absorbed in the job. As an analogy, I also like the dictionary definition of being ‘meshed’ with the job. I’ve used the blue three-gear gear set to indicate when I’m talking specifically about this concept, just as a reminder.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the other key attribute wanted by managers - motivation. Motivation is not inherent in the employee – it is the external influences that cause an employee to act and keep acting. I particularly like the five-step definition from Kanfer that I’ve shown here.

So be clear. Commitment gets the employee to the workplace. Engagement is about how an employee meshes with the job they do. And motivation is what drives them to achieve outcomes. They are three distinct concepts.

Slide 6 – Engagement

So, what characterises engagement? How would we know if someone was engaged with their job?

Bakker characterises job engagement as something identified by vigorous effort put in, dedication (to the job) and absorption (in the job).

This is not just any old job that the employee is doing. It’s one they love.

As you might imagine, anything that heightens vigour, dedication and absorption in the job is going to be valued by managers. I’ve implied that there is a link between job engagement and performance – but is that real? Is there science there??

Slide 7 – Why engagement?

I mentioned that managers find engagement attractive. Certainly, it’s far more talked of than commitment though, of course, the two are frequently confused. Managers want to think that their staff are engaged. And generally, they think that if staff are engaged, that’s a good thing with good outcomes.

Whilst there are some very good works published on engagement, it’s not been a concept of much study. A small number of academic studies suggest that there is a direct relationship between engagement and performance. That, of course, is the news that managers want to hear.

But most of the studies that have been done suggest relationships between engagement and a host of useful concepts like -

• innovativeness,
• creativity,
• organisational citizenship,
• learning new skills,
• deepening knowledge,
• overcoming difficulties,
• solving challenging problems,
• extra-to-role performance,
• leadership,
• taking the initiative,
• reduced personal stress, and
• subject mastery.

You’ll remember that innovation, for example, is a group outcome that exists given certain favourable environmental conditions in a firm. It’s not directly about an employee’s performance, more about the way a group of people behave, and hence it’s about a change in what’s done rather than efficacy in any one employee. For innovation, we’d expect all members of the group to be engaged with their job.

Relationships between variables like engagement and proactivity, initiative-taking, wellbeing, discretionary behaviour and enthusiasm might be called ‘second order’. Those outcomes may, given other favourable conditions, lead to the desired outcomes, but engagement itself does not lead to performance improvement as managers think and would want.

So enough about what engagement is. How does job engagement work? How does it fit with the feed-forward model linking the job a person does with their outcomes?

Slide 8 – How engagement works

Engagement works… engagement occurs, when the employee, as job holder, performs in the job. That performance materialises as an achievement and taps the employee’s explicit motives. Those explicit motives might be in the form of objectives for which the employee will get reward or recognition. That achievement then moderates the employee motivation and hence mediates the link between the job done and the employee behaviour.

You’ll see then that in a modelling sense, we’ve created a self-reinforcing loop. The more appropriate performance, the greater the achievement. The more achievement, the more motivation. The more motivation, the more performance, and so on.

This mechanism for engagement relies on the job and the performance being in line with the employee’s explicit motives. The job, and all moderators, need to be in line with agreed objectives, for example.

This mechanism might explain an engaged sales person paid for performance or perhaps a health practitioner who builds personal recognition in the community.

Alternatively, the performance must tap the employee’s intrinsic motives. This is most likely when the performance allows the employee to learn. Learning causes a ‘buzz’. It allows the employee to use and grow their personal resources, their skills and knowledge. And the result is a heightened motivation. Motivation causes performance, which in a reinforcing loop causes more learning and ultimately more motivation, and so on.

Again, it’s a self-reinforcing loop that works, provided that the conditions are right for the employee.

This mechanism for engagement relies on the job environment being in line with the employee’s own career aspirations and fuelling their need for personal growth.

As an example, this model might fit a research scientist, or indeed you, as students.

Slide 9 – But…

One of the values of thinking about engagement using models like this is that it helps visualise the huge number of variables at play. You’ll have seen on the previous slides that motivation relies significantly on the job a person does. And if the job does not motivate, then no amount of the right conditions will right that wrong. The job must be right for the person.

So, for engagement, we have to get the right person in the right job.

This is one of the major flaws in the typical manager’s thinking. Often managers will be interested in launching initiatives that might, in their mind, build engagement, when in fact they need to check first that their recruitment process is effective. They need to check first that the right person has been hired. And that task is one of HR’s primary contributions to enabling engagement.

You may have come across the term P-E fit elsewhere. The P-E fit, the person-environment fit – must be optimised.

If the person is a farmer and they really want to be a doctor, it’s probable that no amount of downstream intervention will enable engagement.

Slide 10 – Where engagement fits

So, we have the right person in the right job. And their performance taps their extrinsic or intrinsic motives in the reinforcing loop I described. Everything is set, so what happens?

Think of it like a machine. If the HR conditions are right, and the employee starts work, they enter the committed zone. Motivation is low, and we get a low level of performance. As the employee engages with the job and is motivated, and the manager intervenes in the employee’s life with reinforcing management action, the employee enters the motivated zone. Performance has risen.

Given the right conditions for engagement, as we’ve discussed earlier, the employee enters the reinforcing loop and builds their motivation. Even greater performance results. Bakker calls this super-motivation and that’s a nice descriptor. First the employee gets motivated. Then if the conditions for engagement are right, great things happen. But remember that I described engagement as a second-order effect. If everything’s right, performance rises.

Engagement’s a funny thing. On the one hand, having a job with which the employee is engaged can guard the employee against poor wellbeing. On the other hand, if the employee is in super-motivation and fails to get enough down-time, enough rest, exercise and good food, he or she could continue in this self-reinforcing loop until their ‘machine’ runs out of resources and they crash – they burn out.

Thinking about engagement, not as something in isolation, but as something on a continuum from commitment through motivation and on to engagement is, I think, useful. We’ll see shortly some of the uses to which this model can be put.

Slide 11 – Definitions

So we’re just under half way through discussing engagement.

I’m just going to pause and define some of the management concepts I’ve mentioned, and add a few more to help in the second half of this lecture.

I mentioned interventions.

For the purposes of this lecture, interventions come in two forms – those done by HR as a central function, and those done by managers in their work with their employees. HR interventions are group or company-wide. Manager interventions are personal, idiosyncratic to the employee.

An outcome is a change in one or more of the company’s key performance indicators. We also talk of outcomes when discussing secondary effects like innovativeness.

And of course, strategy is what managers develop to drive the whole firm towards those desirable outcomes.

Slide 12 – Management scope

Managers have the ability, then, to act, first with company-wide interventions, and second, with idiosyncratic interventions, interventions specific to each employee.

So, here’s a question for you.

Is job engagement idiosyncratic? Knowing what you know, from what we’ve covered so far, can job engagement be built with pan-organisation interventions?

Let’s answer that in the coming slides.

Slide 13 – Key questions

The model I described where I plotted motivation on the x-axis and performance on the y-axis suggests a plethora of questions. Whilst it is a model, it embraces the three key management concepts of commitment, motivation and job engagement, and adds the idea of burnout.

Slide 14 – Key questions

If I tell you that all interventions take management effort, and that management effort is a cost to the company, the inevitable question results – how much management effort is reasonable to cause the desired performance.

Of course, that goes back to the central questions of what performance is, and how much performance the firm needs from its employees.

And using the graphical model, that demands that the manager asks, ‘If I’m going to have to put a lot of effort in, how high up the motivation-performance curve to I have to be? And given the answer to that, do I need engaged employees?’ ‘Do I need to have all employees in the Optimum Working Zone. And are there many optimum working zones for different employees in different jobs? It may be sufficient just to have motivated employees.’

To answer these questions, you need to think about typical jobs, their ability to motivate, and the ability of a manager to set up conditions for self-reinforcing loops. Take a shop assistant, for example. Is there a condition where he or she might usefully become engaged? And that demands we know a lot about the shop, its customers, its products and services and its strategy.

But I would suggest that many managers would simply not be prepared to pay for engagement. That’s an issue that you might think about further.

Slide 15 – Improving engagement in a company

So enough then about engagement as a concept. How do we go about doing it?

Slide 16 – Getting started

How does anyone start talking about engagement in a company?

There is a fair amount now on engagement in management magazines. It has become vogue in some circles to seek engagement – though do remember that often the term is confused with commitment, motivation, attitudes and other terms popular with the untrained manager. So perhaps job engagement could be a strategic goal.

Usually, though, it’s some bright spark at a management meeting who pipes up, saying, ‘I think our employee engagement sucks’.

You’ll notice I’ve deliberately said ‘employee engagement’. That’s one of the many management misunderstandings that I discussed earlier. The statement’s usually made because the management team are coming under pressure because something’s wrong – some KPIs are below par.

So, someone from management is given the job to go and talk to HR about what HR is going to do about getting higher employee engagement. I’m deliberately being controversial here. As I’ve already noted, engagement is a line management issue and not something to be solved company-wide.

However it occurs, you, as HR manager, are now in consultant mode, advising managers on how to improve job engagement – if indeed this is what they actually want to change.

Slide 17 – Implementation

The solution to this problem – the claim that employee engagement is low – can follow a typical lifecycle. The first activity, after deciding that action is needed, is to quantify the present problem. Once present levels of engagement are quantified, you can decide objectives, determine the interventions that you feel will solve the problem, re-assess the outcomes of those interventions and see if your interventions have improved engagement.

But don’t forget, you do need to go back to management to confirm that what they mean is job engagement – and not commitment or motivation or some other concept mis-described. There’s so much scope here for doing the wrong thing.

Slide 18 – Planning – measuring engagement

So how do we measure job engagement? If engagement can be characterised. And if it can be described by such visible displays like vigour, can it be measured?

Fundamentally, managers can sense engagement. They can, day to day, look at their employees and conclude on some crude scale, that some employees are highly engaged with their jobs while others are not so.

Of course, one of the global problems today is that managers are moving away from their employees. The proximity, the distance from manager to employee hour by hour, is increasing. There are many reasons for this, beyond the scope of this lecture.

Overall, managers are becoming less and less inclined to manage by ‘walking about’, preferring to send emails. Management by walking about was a term taught to managers in the 80s.

If managers want to practice assessing engagement, they should train to be good at it. This training should follow the classic progression; understanding job engagement – learning sensing – then intervening, changing things – and finally assessing the effect of those interventions, then repeating that sequence continually.

But if distance is increasing, management sensing, the simplest way of assessing engagement, is becoming less prevalent, and hence less effective.

Many managers today revert to surveys. The two most prevalent in job engagement are the Gallup G12 and the UWES (University of Utrecht) surveys. The Gallup G12 assesses the environment for job engagement, and hence does not actually assess job engagement itself, while UWES attempts to measure job engagement directly. Both give a score for each person completing the survey.

Ultimately, and when completed by a large number of people, both allow a statistical report to be built – defining the percentage of employees with high job engagement, or whatever. Both give a score that can be compared with the same group at a different time, or with other groups in the same company, or between companies. The UWES survey reports against the three factors – vigour, dedication and absorption.

So let’s assume that the trigger is a desire to increase job engagement in employees. The first activity must be to determine what the engagement is today. That done, we can then set an objective for the engagement of tomorrow and then discuss actions needed to make the improvement employee by employee.

Slide 19 – planning – setting objectives

We’ve discussed the idea that job engagement is a second order effect. There’s little evidence that job engagement drives performance directly. But there are relationships between job engagement and concepts like innovativeness and those concepts are often highly prized by managers.

When defining what’s to be changed, it’s worth remembering that often managers focus on outcomes like turnover and profit. The HR manager and line manager will need to discuss and agree the second-order outcomes that will in turn enable those.

When setting objectives, there needs always to be a discussion about what is to be achieved – is it just about improving job engagement, or are we expecting improvements in job engagement to flow through into normal company KPIs? As with all objective setting, we need to determine how the result is to be measured or we’ll never know if the outcome was worth the effort.

And there needs to be common understanding about how job engagement will be reported, and how the reports will be interpreted by managers.

You might remember from earlier that managers are quite capable of sensing job engagement. We don’t have to always resort to surveys. At a much cruder but simpler level, managers can be asked to assess job engagement in their teams and groups and report this using an agreed scale.

Slide 20 – Building an intervention library

So what sort of thing can managers do to enhance job engagement for a particular employee?

I’d done a list here of examples.

Since we are talking here about job engagement, many of the possible interventions centre on the job and the way the employee relates to that job. Do remember that jobs are not God-given. Managers design jobs, and managers are able to re-design those jobs at any time.

I mention here that a job can be re-designed to bolster challenging work. Many managers are inclined today to still pursue Taylorism – standardising and specialising jobs. Standardisation and specialisation remove richness from jobs. One possible intervention is to allow the jobholder much more say in how the job is done. Another is to amalgamate several jobs into one and re-train all the jobholders to do that one enlarged job.

Along with that, there may be a need to enhance the tools used and the skills and knowledge applied.

Meaningfulness is a hugely popular topic today, with management gurus exhorting that we all need more meaning for our mental health. We need meaning for job engagement too. And the way that this is achieved is to ensure that the employee is not just in a job – they are in a career. They are going somewhere. I’ve said that interventions are idiosyncratic – unique to the person – but one simple intervention that could be applied company-wide is career counselling. Of course, there’s no point in providing career counselling when the jobholders have no scope for enhancing their careers within the company – there must be parallel action on opportunities for personal growth – or an acceptance that in building an employee’s career, the manager is increasing the likelihood that the employee will, in the long term, quit.

The point here is that there are interventions that can be made to enhance engagement.

So, what of HR’s role?

Slide 21 - Planning – deciding on interventions

I said that engagement is dyadic – it is the result of a relationship between the manager and the employee. Most HR action enhances commitment to the firm but as we saw, HR has a pivotal role in ensuring that the right person is in the right job – for maximising the P-E fit. Once the employee has been hired and turns up regularly, it’s for the manager to win engagement – if indeed he or she is inclined.

But few managers are expert at managing people. Most will glaze over when you start discussing job engagement. Remember that I mentioned that managers tend to confuse concepts like commitment, motivation, attitude and engagement.

HR’s job, then, is to lead as technical specialist; knowing that engagement is useful, being capable of researching to determine possible interventions. HR must ensure that all the foundations are in place. Engagement can’t happen unless the conditions are right.

The HR Business Partner is the line manager’s coach and specialist consultant.

That’s a very big job.

Slide 22 – Arrival – deciding when to stop

So, let’s say that the manager and HR business partner have got together and planned a series of interventions. Things are happening, let’s say. At what point does the manager say, ‘stop’, and admit that they are happy with what’s been achieved.

Well, I’d say you never stop. Most of the interventions I’ve mentioned like career coaching are continuous activities. And if the manager stops, and allows reversion to the pre-intervention state, job engagement will stop. As soon as an employee feels that the manager is no longer interested, as soon as the extra-to-role responsibilities cease, if that’s what was done to increase the employee’s engagement, then engagement will wane.

For job engagement to sustain, it must become part of normal management. And the conditions for it must be built in to ‘normal’ HR cycles like objective setting, performance appraisal and personal development planning.

So, to summarise.

Slide 23 – The role of the manager

The manager, the person accepting responsibility for the success of the venture, is the key player – responsible for the section, the group, the department, the project, the company. It is they who will be observing the employee day to day. It’s they who can launch the initiatives. It’s they who can budget for the spend to stimulate the improvement. And, arguably, it is they who will benefit directly from the new state of engagement.

But mostly, the manager is not a people expert. And remember that only about 20% of managers are actually trained. So, the HR business partner has a pivotal leadership and consulting role.

And I mentioned that job engagement costs. The cost-benefit balance must be worthwhile. It is for senior management to determine the strategy around commitment, motivation and engagement and to provide the budget in support.

Slide 24 – some individual cases

In the last ten minutes, I want to look at some individual cases, to amplify what I’ve been saying.

Remember that job engagement is idiosyncratic, so I’m going to be talking about individuals.

As I talk, I want you to be thinking,

‘Is there evidence that this person is already engaged with their job’?
‘Is this person in a job where they might benefit from engagement interventions?’
‘Is this a job that the company would likely want to achieve job engagement’.
And finally, ‘what sort of intervention would likely enhance job engagement’?

Slide 25 – Mike – the engineer

First, let’s look at Mike, the engineer. There’s nothing in the description of Mike’s work on the slide that would lead us to assert that Mike is engaged with his job. He’s a good worker, so he’s probably committed to the firm and suitably motivated.

It’s likely that the manager would want Mike to be engaged. We learned that job engagement influenced concepts like innovativeness. So, if Mike were to be more innovative, that would likely be a good thing.

Innovation is a group activity, so to have Mike become more engaged and hence more innovative, he will need to be working with others. That’s a tangible job description intervention.

Mike’s job seems to be one that would have plenty opportunities for extra-to-role responsibilities, like external working groups or support to marketing. This may be a suitable way of changing the job to gain job engagement – though remember that every hour that’s given to this is an hour away from fee earning, so the manager will need to consider the cost versus the benefit.

I should mention that there is a generalisation sometimes postulated that so-called white collar workers can, and should, achieve engagement while with so-called blue collar workers, there’s no benefit to be had. I would dismiss this generalisation – it’s for the manager to determine in whom he needs engagement for each job and jobholder.

Slide 26 – Dave – the Director

Here’s Dave, the director. Well, there’s sound evidence that Dave is already highly engaged with his job – he has a voracious appetite for work and helps others achieve excellence. We could say he’s at the top of his game.

The question then is how we ensure that Dave sustains his engagement, growing his contribution to the firm, without burning out.

There is a developmental task – more about skills acquisition. His personal organisation might be improved, but this development is likely to be tricky to discuss with him.

In terms of job engagement, he would likely score highly.

Slide 27 – Ali, the marketer

And then to Ali, the marketer. Ali is obviously not engaged in her job. She has good performance and, considering the committed, motivated, engaged continuum, we might describe her as motivated. But her performance suggests that she falls short of engagement. We see no evidence of vigour, dedication and absorption.

Ali is an example of the dilemma for managers – does she really need to be engaged in order for the firm to feel that she contributes optimally. Her manager would need to determine whether they should invest in her engagement, or simply work with her on her imagination and creativity.

Looking back at the ‘job to performance’ cascade, we see that skills and knowledge are moderators – enablers – in performance.

We should not confuse skills and knowledge development to achieve performance, and skills and knowledge development to achieve engagement. The latter are likely more about securing the jobholder on a career trajectory than simply giving the right skills and knowledge to the right person to secure the right performance. In job engagement, personal development may be more about training for the future.

Slide 28 - Summary

There’s a relationship then between a person’s job engagement and other desirable personal outcomes like innovativeness. As a result, job engagement is something desirable. It’s something that a manager can win with the right management interventions.

I also cautioned that it might not be something in which the manager needs to invest. Many jobs and their associated jobholders must be committed, of course, And they must be motivated to perform. But not all jobholders need have job engagement – I think that Bakker’s description of engagement as super-motivation is apt. Super-motivation gives the idea of something out of the ordinary and that’s useful in understanding the concept.

Slide 29 – Summary

Job engagement can be measured. And it can be achieved through management intervention. But it’s not a company-wide concept – it’s not something that HR can develop a global intervention for. The HR manager’s role in achieving job engagement is as a consultant to the line manager. Job engagement is a line management concept.

Management is a contact sport. But today, more and more managers are distancing themselves from their employees. The result is that job engagement is often assessed with a questionnaire. Job engagement can be sensed by managers. In reality, a questionnaire should tell the manager what they already know. A questionnaire should simply confirm suspicions. If the results of the questionnaire come as a surprise to any manager, I would suggest that it’s time to question that manager’s competence.

Job engagement can be sensed by the manager. But to do that, they need to be close to their people. Then they must train to understand job engagement. They must learn to sense vigour, dedication and absorption in their people. They must have a repertoire of interventions available, and then they must act and sense again. Ultimately, a manager must repeat this cycle forever. It’s an integral part of the manager’s job.

Slide 30 – Bibliography

For specifics of what’s been covered, I suggest you refer to our book, Because Your People Matter.

If you want to go further into job engagement, I recommend Bakker’s book, or rather the book that he and Leiter have edited, entitled Work Engagement: A handbook of theory and research. This contains a number of excellent sections by various authors.

I also made reference to Kanfer in regard to motivation. This book edited by Kanfer, Chen and Prichard is entitled Work Motivation: past, present and future and is an excellent general text on the subject.

Slide 31 – Questions

Throughout the lecture, there was to be opportunity for questions.

Since the lecture is now a video, you are welcome to send in your questions to me using the form our my firm’s website at I’ll get this immediately and will get back to you within 48 hours. For UoS students, please put your company as’ UoS’ on the form.