Perspectives, Issues, Research and Practice
New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Simon L. Albrecht
Alan M. Saks and Jamie A. Gruman Introduction Employee engagement has received a great deal of attention in the last five years, especially in the popular press and among consulting firms. It has often been touted as the key to an organization’s success and competitiveness. Numerous writers have sung the praises of engagement as a key driver of individual attitudes, behavior, and performance as well as organizational performance, productivity, retention, financial performance, and even shareholder return (Harter et al., 2002; Bates, 2004; Baumruk, 2004; Richman, 2006). It has also been reported that employee engagement is on the decline and there is a deepening disengagement among employees today (Bates, 2004; Richman, 2006). For example, roughly half of all Americans in the workforce are not fully engaged or they are disengaged, leading to what has been referred to as an “engagement gap” that is costing US businesses $300 billion a year in lost productivity (Kowalski, 2003; Bates, 2004; Johnson, 2004). Given the importance of employee engagement to organizations, combined with the deepening disengagement among workers today, a key issue is how to promote the engagement of employees. As noted by May et al. (2004), “Engagement is important for managers to cultivate given that disengagement, or alienation, is central to the problem of workers’ lack of commitment and motivation” (p. 13). In this chapter, we argue that organizations should begin to cultivate employee engagement as soon as a new hire joins an organization and that the socialization process represents an especially opportune time...
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