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Nik Penhale Smith

Effectory International

Online and Content Marketing specialist , HR Author & LinkedIn publisher

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The essential role of HR in employees’ engagement and commitment


How to create high employee engagement and commitment has become a central focus point for many organisations’ strategies. The added value that engaged and committed employees have is increasingly being recognised by CEOs, stakeholders, managers and HR.

Our latest research shows that despite this recognition, there’s still much work to be done to realise employees’ full potential. Global engagement and commitment stands at 25.3%, whilst Europe lags behind with 23.9%.

The four influencers

In Effectory International’s previous article on HRZone, my colleague Astrid Erlandsson talked about employee engagement at length.  Specifically, Astrid discussed the results from our investigation into which employee survey statements have the biggest influence on employee engagement and commitment in Europe.

She revealed that the four statements with the biggest influence are:

  • My manager motivates me in my work
  • The work of my team contributes to the success of the organisation
  • I feel that I fit in at my organisation
  • I feel that I am appreciated by my organisation

How HR can create impact

Elaborating on Astrid’s article I would like to add additional insights on how HR can positively impact two of the above influencers.

1) Employees fit within organisations

Firstly, HR can add value by helping to cultivate employees’ cultural fit with their organisations.

HR can begin this process by hiring perspective employees on cultural fit. Helping to create an initial compatibility between employee and organisation provides a good basis for an employee’s engagement and commitment.  No matter how talented perspective employees may be, there shouldn’t be any doubt as to their fit with the organisation’s culture. Skills can be taught, cultural cannot.

Following on from this, there is a key role for HR in keeping hired employees at the organisation. HR occupy a unique position within organisations as they mediate between stakeholders and business objectives, and employees. By inhabiting such a unique position, HR are best placed to create synergy between the direction set by stakeholders and the culture at the organisation. By helping to create synergy and avoiding potential rifts between the two, HR are safeguarding the culture that employees align with.

Alongside maintaining employees feeling of fitting, HR can also enhance employees’ fit by ensuring the continuous communication of the organisation’s values, and what they stand for. When employees know what an organisation stands for, it becomes easier for them to regularly gauge their fit with the organisation. In their unique position as mediators, HR are perfectly placed to facilitate this by helping to keep the communication of organisational values on the agenda.

2) Appreciation from the organisation

In liaison with managers, HR can further add value by helping to ensure that outstanding individual and team performances are recognised and subsequently rewarded. As the majority of HR are involved with measuring tools (such as employee engagement surveys), there is a great opportunity for HR to take the lead in sharing performance related insights and highlighting outstanding performers. 

Extending this, the same insights can also be used to build a culture of praise and recognition. Ideally employees should not only receive appreciation from managers, but also from colleagues. By encouraging employees and managers to create appreciative work atmospheres, HR can contribute to the development of positive environments.

From our research we know that when appreciative work environments are created, there is a higher chance that engagement and commitment will grow.

Further impact

Alongside our research into the influencers of engagement and commitment, we recently undertook a study to investigate and identify the policy and practice similarities of highly engaged organisations. We analysed all of our employee engagement surveys, and the results uncovered 8 traits that highly engaged organisation have in common:

  • A compelling organisational direction
  • Inspiring leadership
  • Removing senseless bureaucracy
  • Less management
  • Value the specialists
  • Social innovation
  • Transparency and information sharing
  • A modern compensation system

Each of the 8 represents an additional avenue open to HR to implement policies or practices that help to drive employee engagement and commitment. Effectory International believe that either  by addressing one of the 8 above or by taking the lead in the two mentioned influencers, HR can have a big impact on engagement and commitment in 2015.

In doing so, HR can show stakeholders both their contribution to business performance, as well as their added value as business partners.

The insights that formed the basis of this article came from the following reports:

If you are interested in reading more and downloading your free copy, please click on the above links.

Author Profile Picture
Nik Penhale Smith

Online and Content Marketing specialist , HR Author & LinkedIn publisher

Read more from Nik Penhale Smith

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