Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Frank Horwitz and Pawan Budhwar
Chapter 12: Employee engagement in emerging markets
Employee engagement is a hot topic amongst managers, consultancies, policy bodies and academics alike and is considered a crucial element in the successful management of a productive workforce in organizations today. Engagement refers to employees having positive feelings about their work and their employing organization, as well as these positive feelings producing actions which improve their personal performance and the performance of the firm as a whole. Finding ways to engender such feelings and actions becomes absolutely critical when we consider the situation in a number of emerging markets today: massive rates of labour turnover of skilled and valuable employees are being experienced in dynamic emerging markets (as other chapters in this book highlight). This leads us to the question of what ‘employee engagement’ means in these rapidly changing contexts, and how firms might increase the engagement of their valued employees. Looking first at the example of China, there is a growing practice of firms poaching key staff from competitors and many Chinese workers are keen to switch employers for higher pay. What can be done to address this? According to the Towers Perrin Global Workforce Study (2007), Chinese employees saw learning and development as crucial factors offered by good employers to create engagement. The study claims there is a gap between the discretionary effort employees want to invest and how effective companies are at tapping into this (with only 16 per cent of employees in China describing themselves as fully engaged in their work).
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