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Take care with engagement surveys, employers urged
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Businesses and organisations need to be able to distinguish between transactional and emotional engagement, it has been suggested.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) warned that employees with high levels of transactional engagement may help mask people management problems.
Such individuals tend to respond positively to engagement surveys and display the outward behaviours associated with engagement, the HR body said.
But in reality, they are less likely to perform well or stay loyal to their employer in the long term.
Conversely, emotionally engaged employees, those who 'buy in' to their employers' mission and values, have higher levels of wellbeing.
They are more likely to remain engaged through good times and bad, the CIPD added.
As such, the body has warned employers against the use of one-dimensional surveys which fail to distinguish between the two types of engagement.
The researchers identified transactional engagement as being shaped by employees’ concern to earn a living and to meet minimal expectations of the employer and their co-workers
People’s positive feelings about their work stemmed from the job or task itself, from the challenge, variety and autonomy that their role bestowed on them.
Emotional engagement, meanwhile, is associated with different aspects of work that go beyond the job role itself, including colleagues, line managers, business unit, the organisation and clients or customers.
"High levels of transactional engagement were found to be potentially damaging for both individuals and the organisations they work for," the CIPD stated.
"Employees who are transactionally engaged report higher levels of stress and difficulties in achieving a work-life balance than those employees who are emotionally engaged."
Angela Baron, research adviser at the CIPD, said that businesses and organisations should definitely attempt to measure engagement.
However, it is not enough for organisations to focus on increasing their engagement scores without considering what type and locus of engagement is being measured, she stated.
"What people are engaged with, and the nature and driving force behind their engagement, also need taking into consideration, otherwise organisations risk misunderstanding the actual extent and nature of engagement," she added.
Posted by Stephen Wilkinson
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