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Employee Engagement

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I’m Sophie, People Advisor at Amido and I joined a year ago in June 2018 bringing with me a variety of experiences within different industries to support and drive the People team at Amido. I am highly passionate about employee engagement; having carried out my research project in this area whilst studying for a Masters in HR and my professional qualification with CIPD, prior to joining Amido.

Employee engagement is an increasingly significant concept in organisational psychology and human resources; mutually beneficial in the employment relationship. Highly engaged employees have enhanced working experiences, which increases organisational productivity and performance. Kahn (1990), the founding father of employee engagement, established that engagement is influenced by three antecedent psychological conditions; meaningful work, psychological safety and availability. Employees are engaged through feeling that their role is purposeful to both their organisation and themselves; have safety in producing output without a fear of negative consequences; and have the necessary physical, emotional, and psychological resources available.

Consequently, meeting these criteria can lead to a state of flow, which can occur during any meaningful and positive experience. If you’ve ever felt surprised at the amount of time that has passed by during work or when involved in a task, you were most probably in a state of flow. Flow optimises short-term output through being completely absorbed with intense involvement during moment-to-moment activity (Csikszentmihalyi, Abuhamdeh and Nakamura, 2005). Flow is interlinked with employee engagement through harnessing a sense of involvement in the enjoyable experience between the psychological self and the physical role, maximising performance (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990).

Csikszentmihalyi (1990) refers to nine flow characteristics that “combine and interact to make up these experiences”, shown below:

Characteristics of Flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990)

Characteristic of flow VS Meaning

1) A sense of control – Control over the demands of the activity without conscious effort

2) Action-awareness merging – Deep involvement, activity feels spontaneous and automatic

3) Altered sense of time – Sense of time perceived differently to normal, faster or slower

4) Autotelic/enjoyable experience – Intrinsically rewarding and enjoyable experience

5) Challenge-skill balance – Balance between demands and skills of the activity and employee

6) Clear goals – Extent employees know exactly what they are going to do

7) Concentration on the task at hand – Employee is at total focus with the activity engaged in

8) Loss of self-consciousness – Not being concerned with oneself whilst engaging in the activity

9) Unambiguous feedback – Feedback allowing employees to know that they are performing well

Touching upon an example at Amido; we pride ourselves on the environment and culture our people have created as ‘friends that do’. Interaction and collaboration are critically important to the overall experience at work, supporting flow behaviour. Research suggests organisations who invest in the social connections of staff, have higher satisfaction levels, leading to lower turnover rates and increased revenue growth (Lawson, McKinsey and Company, 2009). Everyone at Amido can join communities, both technical – in relation to their role, and non-technical, such as our CSR and Wellbeing Community. Communities allow for knowledge sharing across the business, opportunities to work with peers across different functions and collaborate on exciting projects outside of our day to day role. Likewise, we meet regularly all together during our Company Days, Brown Bags and Lunch N’ Learns, where we catch up, celebrate our achievements and look forward to what is coming next.

Connections and support in the workplace are both important aspects during an individual’s career for development and employee engagement. Employees who have direct and frequent support from a significant co-worker, such as their Line Manager, increases the development of engagement. This supports Kahn’s (1990) psychological safety condition; encouraging interpersonal relationships and providing safe and meaningful work, allows employees to be themselves, positively fostering employee engagement. Line Managers at Amido have a vital role in creating an inclusive working environment to attract and retain valuable skills and talent, providing day-to-day leadership, removing barriers and building a culture where everyone is respected and has the opportunity to reach their potential. Employees catch up regularly with their Line Manager throughout their Amido career, from understanding how projects are going, what training would be useful, to talking through a 6-month, 1 year and 2-year development plan. Coaching, listening, giving feedback, and supporting our employees is fundamental in creating and maintaining meaningful relationships. Through this, employees will have high engagement, whilst keeping the great working culture we have at Amido.

We’re always looking for great people to join our team. If you would like to join us, take a look at our website and see whether we can be a right match for you.

References

1. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Australia.

2. Csikszentmihalyi, M., Abuhamdeh, S. and Nakamura, J. (2005). Flow. In: A. Elliot and C. Dweck, ed., Handbook of Competence and Motivation. New York: The Guilford Press, pp.598–698.

3. Kahn, W. (1990). Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement and Disengagement at Work. Academy of Management Journal, 33(4), pp.692-724.

4. Lawson, E., Mckinsey and Company (2009). Engaged Staff: What Do They Look Like and Why Might You Want Them. The Work Foundation. pp.2-6.

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