Employee Engagement and its Acceptance in Indian Industry

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 2666 , Published on 29 September 2014

In today’s market scenario managers definitely agree that organizations demand more productivity and efficiency than any other times in the history. Businesses are trying to increase their performances to stay ahead of competitors. Thanks to advanced technologies, nowadays organizations leverage on the technology to make technical advances in operations. But as we evolve with the sophistication in technologies more challenges are posed to the line managers because organization will need more high performing talent with increased technical and professional competencie. But these high performing talent expect lot of ownership, job satisfaction, recognition, growth and status also as workforce makes up to 70% of companies cost, it has become utmost priority of the managers to shift the attention towards employee side of the organization .Firms has realized that any initiative taken by the firm without the involvement and engagement of the employees cannot be fruitful. Managers are eyeing on how to keep the employees content and satisfied in their job to retain the best talent to create HPWS.


“Employee engagement” is one of those slippery concepts that’s talked about a lot but is difficult to define. The theory, employee engagement arises from two notions that are the subjects of research-Commitment and Organizational Behavior but employee engagement is the amount to which employees contribute to the business growth and outcome. It’s a two way mutual process between the people and workforces. It is a state in which the workforce endeavors towards the company’s accomplishment and are driven to perform to the stage that exceeds the given job role. It tells how the employee feels about the employee, its leadership, the work atmosphere, compensation, R&R, they take delivery of for their efforts. Employee engagement drives the discretionary efforts, producing employee’s full productivity, highest assurance to the success of the firm

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For an organization, an environment comprised of workforce who are content with their job is a desirable state. But in current business situation, job fulfillment is merely doesn’t not suffice the link between positive business result and employee performance. Over past decades, organization interest and needs have evolved from creating an atmosphere where employees are just “satisfied” with benefits, pay and working environments to workforces who are “committed contributes” to the organization to those who are genuinely “engaged” in the work and are aligned to the vision of the organization. Engagement has become the “Holy Grail” of this century.Engaged workforce contribute to the overall productivity and performance of the firm, improving service quality, reducing turnover, increasing customer satisfaction and increasing financial results.


Is the Company engaged?

Engaged employees are more productive over disengaged employees. Companies who can positively engage their employees can achieve higher performance and deliver greater returns to shareholders. Unfortunately according to Gallup and Delloitte approximately around 16%-50% of the company workforce is actively disengaged. The changing nature of the work and the globalization has both affected the ways employee seeks from employer. In 1980s factors like personal accomplishment, job security, pay equity were the major drivers leading to employee satisfaction, but with the disruption of technology, emergence of global economy, reduced job security employees expectation from the job had changed. According the Penna research report (2007) meaning of work is to bring together workforce and organization to benefit both ways where employees experience a feeling of community, the space to be themselves and develop opportunity to contribute in a valuable way. Employees want to work in an organization where they find meaning in work and employees want to hire them to develop sustainable business model.

As business strive to develop competitive advantage in the global economy, employee engagement is vital for optimizing human capital. Employers need to identify those key drivers that lead to increased and higher employee engagement.

According to the oldest consulting group in conducting employee engagement, Gallup has found that line managers are the key to keep the workforce engaged. Gallup’s employee engagement survey is more than 30years of in depth research involving more than 17 million workforce employees, called Gallup’s Q12 survey: the 12 questions which will measure the employee engagement index and its impact on the business outcomes in productivity, safety incidents, profitability, abseentism etc.

Aon Hewitt’s engagement model describes the employment experience, on work, people, quality of life, company practices, total rewards and opportunities. By recognizing these key drivers, organization can understand how to meet the needs of their employees and focus on the definite areas of progress that have the greatest impact on engagement and business results.

Tower Watson identifies employee engagement index based on the sustainable engagement model which determines how engaged – attachment to the company and willingness to deliver extra effort, enabled – A work environment that caters to performance productivity and energized – emotional connect with the job.

Majority of the research firms have their own employee engagement frameworks, and most of the drivers similar and are non-financial in nature therefore the organization which is committed to leadership can achieve desired level of engagement with low cost. This also says that managers should keep financial aspect of employees in mind, by linking performance to rewards. Pay and benefits are equally important and the company must take care to pay at least on par with market average. However raising the pay is not the only driver which will motivate workforce, but along with that other steps mentioned above will take the organization to a great lengths and help in developing sustainable business model.


Employee engagement in India

As a part of the research, a complete study on the existing literature in the employee engagement survey was made which included primary and secondary research on the 22 key employee engagement players in the markets and in-depth interview was conducted with various HRs across industries like banking and financial services, engineering and manufacturing, FMCG, Pharmaceutical and healthcare, Technology, Telecom and retail on the basis of snowball sampling to identify the market potential for employee engagement survey in India(List of the companies interviewed is given in the appendix)

After conducting in-depth interview with the HRs it was seen that employee engagement survey is in the nascent stage in India and most of the companies other than MNC’s are in the process of implementing it. High market demand was seen in Technology sector medium to large scale and pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Demand in technology sector as most of the employees are of generation X and Y who constantly look out for challenges in job and are on move, if these workforce are not engaged then there are very high changes that these employees might look out for other jobs or might not be motivated enough to contribute to the organization which in turn might affect the business outcome of the organization. Whereas in pharmaceutical organization employee engagement is a new term, and as these firms are in the horizon of expansion, it is very important to engage the workforce to extract maximum from the employees to develop a sustainable and profitable business model.

It was also noticed that not all the drivers play the same importance in keeping the employees engaged. There are few drivers which motivate the employee more compared to others that is one of the prime reason why most of the research giants have developed “Hierarchy of engagement” which is derived from Maslow’s need hierarchy model. As per the hierarchy model the first level (Individual) is the categorization of basic needs which form basic category of employee engagement. These basic needs are must and should for job, though most of the needs are by default fulfilled by an organization, care should be taken not to let them unfulfilled else employees could be dissatisfied with the work and organization. The second category(management) falls under the managements hand especially line managers, these fall in intermediate category once the basic needs are met, employees look forward for these aspects. If this level is fulfilled employee job satisfaction can be improved.

Third level (organizational) meets the company commitment needs. If these needs are met then the employee is engagement and contributes to the company’s business outcome and is part of the organization growth. Though there is hierarchal structure followed based on motivation theory, it doesn’t mean that lower level has to be satisfied before going to higher. Its means that if low scores are present then even though you improve at organizational level will not help much unless basic needs are fulfilled eg working on community will not help much if basic infrastructure or employee doesn’t feel valued or respected.

Conclusion: Until now, there is no exact definition for employee engagement however there is growing need for it and it reflects the two way exchange of transaction and emotional relationship between the employer and employee. On thorough analysis of the EE literature it is noticed that there is close linkage between employee engagement an organizational performance outcomes. In India, a very high demand for employee engagement survey in India especially in technology and pharmaceutical and biomedical sector was noticed. Hence organization need to engage the high performing workforce to build champions for the organization to assure better service to clients and ultimately to grow in business.


This article has been authored by Prajna Alva from TAPMI







List of the companies interviewed as part of the research:


Bank of Baroda


Bajaj Allianz

Landmark group

Shinhan bank

Future Value Retail

ISG Novsoft Technologies


Reliance capital




Future Generali


Axis Bank



Jyothi Laboratories



Jindal Steel


Hero corp LTD

Reliance Communication




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