Professor Katie Truss has presented latest research findings on employee engagement at a lively meeting of Surrey and North Hampshire CIPD at Surrey University. As well as discussing the key drivers of engagement and the meaning of engagement in different organisational contexts, Katie also explained the toxic effects of ‘deadly combinations’ of efforts to raise engagement in settings that are not conducive to high engagement levels. In particular, she highlighted the corrosive effects of entrenched workplace bullying, intimidation and victimisation that can undermine otherwise well-intended engagement strategies, as well as the damaging effect of using engagement itself as a form of ‘command and control’ management.
‘Although there are many things that managers can do to raise engagement levels such as ensuring employees have a genuine say, are treated with respect, and are offered well-designed jobs that enable them to use their skills, these will never work unless employees feel that their workplace is psychologically safe,’ she noted.
The group identified the importance of the line manager in ensuring staff were engaged, and the role of senior managers in creating a climate for engagement.
‘Employee Engagement in Theory and Practice’, edited by Katie Truss, Kerstin Alfes, Rick Delbridge, Amanda Shantz and Emma Soane, is due to be published by Routledge in October 2013.