Employee Engagement in Karachi’s Pharmaceutical Industry Abstract Employee engagement is today’s buzz word. It is not much practiced in Pakistani organizations especially in Pharma industry. Earlier researches and literature reviewed indicates that there are three types of employee engagement: Engaged- employees who work with passion and feel happy, Not Engaged- employees who are just passing their time, Disengaged-employees who are unhappy and undermine work. This study highlights the level of employee engagement and tries to explore ‘how engaged are Pharma employees’ i. . how they feel about their work! A survey of 300 employees of local and multinational pharmaceuticals was conducted. Gallup engagement questionnaire Q12 was used to assess the level of engagement. The study shows that only 20% employees i. e. less than one fourth of the employees are engaged, 22% not engaged and 58% i. e. more than half of the employees are disengaged. Keywords Employee engagement, meaningful work, organizational commitment, job satisfaction, human resource development Introduction Employee engagement is today’s HR buzz word.
Recent study by Gallup indicated that Singaporean employers loose $30 billion dollars every year. Employee engagement is about involving of employee in the job with his/her heart and soul. It is about the ‘passion for work’. The extent to which employees commit to something or someone in the organization, and how long they stay as a result of that commitment. According to (Corporate Executive Board, 2004) engagement is the state in which individuals are emotionally and intellectually committed to the organization as measured by three primary behaviors: Say, Stay and Strive. Richard S. Wellins, 2004) defines engagement as the extent to which people enjoy and believe in what they do and feel valued for doing it. This definition gives us three dimensions to take a closer look at; enjoyment, belief and value. In straight forward words, employees are the back-bone of an organization and thus organizations should prioritize them at the work place. Employee engagement refers to a state where the employees are fully immersed in their work and are psychologically attached to their organization and work.
According to (Baldwin, 2006) change is being the one of the constants in this world. According to her it is the signal for rebirth. (Stamm, 2012)stated that several research studies across countries and industries show that the group of employees, who is passionate about their jobs and the organizations in which they working in, are a minor percentage. According to (Wellins, 2004) only 19% employees are highly engaged. If we talk in simple context employee engagement can be taken as the feeling of employees that they are related to what they believe in and are valued for it.
There are multiple definitions of employee engagement in relation to several dimensions of the vast concept. (Zeal Solutions Ltd, 2012)stated that organizations have evolved from the concept of ‘personnel management’ Past decades have been the key to realizations in regard to benefits of empowerment, people development, recognition, team work and most importantly employee engagement culture in any organization. Let us now look at a few definitions from different sources. The extent to which employees commit to something or someone in the organization, and how long they stay as a result of that commitment. Corporate Executive Board, 2004) define engagement as the state in which individuals are emotionally and intellectually committed to the organization as measured by three primary behaviors: Say, Stay and Strive. The extent to which people enjoy and believe in what they do and feel valued for doing it. This definition gives us three dimensions to take a closer look at; enjoyment, belief and value. According to (Wellins, 2004) engagement is not a onetime thing. For the achievement of actually sustainable competitive advantage any organization has to find a way to create and maintain the level of energy and passion.
They need to consider the organizational culture. Answer questions like how to footer a culture that gives birth to high frequencies of employee engagement and last but not the least, what should be done in order to promote a culture that is critical for achieving competitive advantage and linking it with the engaged culture (William H. Macey, 2011) Commitment & Satisfaction Is Not Equal To Engagement: An employee who is satisfied with his job profile would mostly think of staying away from doing anything which would bring a bad name to his team as well as his business.
He would prefer working rather than wasting his valuable time in fruitless tasks. Engaged and satisfied employees always try their level best to work hard and justify their remunerations. It has further been observed that an employee engaged in work tends to avoid combating with others and thus enjoys a congenial relationship with his colleagues. Both the two terms; employee engagement and employee relationship have a direct correlation with each other. In the real sense, employee engagement is directly proportional to employee relationship. More the employees are engaged in their work; the better the relation among them. Employee Engagement and Employee Relationship) Disregarding the general understanding that employee satisfaction is employee engagement, author Sarah Cook discusses the typical questions that organizations and employers raise. Firstly, the difference between employee engagement, commitment and satisfaction, and secondly, employee satisfaction and loyalty is already measured, so what else is new? (Cook, 2008) Sarah’s concern remains with the concept that a loyal and satisfied employed is not necessarily engaged and will offer discretionary effort.
She refers to Gallup’s research stating that regardless of level of employee’s satisfaction in the job and their stay period in the organization; only about 29% are fully engaged employees. Furthermore non-engaged employees do not demonstrate pride, energy and passion which are the essence of employee engagement. (Enagagement versus satisfaction and loyalty, 2008)Jack Welch, CEO of GE said: “Real communication is an attitude, it is an environment, it involves more listening than talking. It is a constant interactive process aimed at consensus. ”Three levels of involvement have been identified and discussed by Sarah Cook.
These levels are: With an employee’s direct line manager, With other teams and groups, With the organization as a whole (Cook, 2008) Components of Engagement-There are two principal factors that drive employee engagement. These factors are based on statistical analysis and extensively supported by comprehensive industry research. With the organization-It configures how engaged employees are with the organization as a whole, and by extension, how they feel about their senior level management. This aspect has to do with trust and confidence in organizational leadership as well as values, fairness, and respect – i. . how people like to be treated by other parties, both at work and outside of work. With ‘My Manager’-It is a more specific measure of how employees feel about their direct supervisors. Topics include feeling valued, receiving feedback being treated fairly, and direction, and in general, having a staunch working relationship between employee and manager based on mutual respect. (Customer Insight) Engagement across the globe-The global recession has taken its toll on employees as benefit cuts, pay freezes, and layoffs seep into the workforce, making it more complicated to maintain high levels of engagement.
Against this environment, it is more imperative than ever for employers to develop and maintain a highly engaged workforce. Engaged employees deliver enhanced performance, which is significant for business success. They understand their role in the corporate strategy, have a strong connection and dedication to the company, are more involved, and strive to go above and beyond in their jobs. The bottom line is that employee engagement matters—now more than ever. (Aon Hewitt, 2012)
Global Trends: Over the past three years, everybody has faced human capital challenges and doubtful economic conditions. The economic depression that started in 2008 has had a considerable impact on companies and the consequential decisions made by management. Further, the last few years of development seen in emerging markets such as China, India, Brazil, and sub-Sahara Africa has forced a diverse set of management decisions to maintain engagement levels of employees who are proving testing to attract and retain. These decisions have impacted employee engagement levels and perceptions worldwide.
The study also shows that: Engagement levels are stabilizing globally but shifting across regions- Despite the economic recession, engagement levels have remained comparatively stable at 58% in 2011, up 2 percentage points from 56% in 2010. We see the largest upward movement in Asia Pacific, a slim increase in Europe, small descending movement in Latin America, with North America staying unchanged. Employee engagement lags economic indicators-Engagement appears to have fallen a year after the economic crisis in 2009 and had a slight recovery a year after economic indicators showed some relative improvement from 2009 to 2010.
This trend was visible in all regions across the globe. Emerging markets showed a bit more instability. Four employees out of ten are not engaged worldwide. Engagement level by region also varies. While 42% of employees are somewhat or completely disengaged, almost three-fifths (58%) of employees globally are considered in the engaged status. Employees’ motivation to stay and exert extra effort falls short-While engagement levels are relatively stable, 2012 will be a challenging year for retention as employees hunt for new opportunities outside their organization as a result of limited career development and advancement opportunities.
Some engagement drivers improved, but not the ones that matter most-Across all possible engagement drivers we examined, we have seen some noteworthy improvement in Business Unit Leadership, HR Practices and Brand Alignment (fulfilling the employment contract or value proposition with employees). But, none of these areas showed up over and over again as a top driver of engagement. Career opportunities, recognition, and organization reputation are consistently top engagement drivers-Companies should focus their efforts on improving these areas in order to have the most immediate positive impact on overall engagement scores.
However, engagement drivers vary by region. (Aon Hewitt, 2012) Engagement Model Aon Hewitt defines engagement as the condition of emotional and intellectual attachment that motivates employees to do their finest work. The Aon Hewitt model examines both the individual’s state of engagement as well as organizational antecedents. This employee engagement model has been hardened and validated by over 15 years of investigation on millions of employees across a variety of companies and industries, and across Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America. The model is supported by years of esearch in the area of organizational psychology. Research has shown that there are typically six major categories (and 22 organizational antecedents), shown in the diagram below, known as “Engagement Drivers”—factors that can potentially drive an individual’s engagement. By identifying these drivers, employers can recognize how to meet the needs of their employees and center on the specific areas of development that have the major impact on engagement and company results. (Aon Hewitt, 2012) Cultural Perspective-Every organization has a culture. It may be a culture of innovation, quality service, operational efficiency, etc.
An organization with a culture for employee engagement, the main factor for employees to actually experience this is through the level of trust they have in the organization and its management. Clearly put, engagement, without trust, cannot exist. However building of trust is never so simple. Another important point for consideration is that culture in an organization do not just come out of the blue but actually emerge overtime based on several factors. However, primarily in the business, it comes through the personality and values of the founder. And then overtime this culture is reinforced by leaders in the future. (William H. Macey, 2011)
Measuring Engagements: Employee engagement is normally measured using an employee engagement survey that has been developed particularly for this purpose. Employee engagement surveys must be validated and benchmarked against other organizations if they are going to provide valuable results. Without these things, it is tricky to know what you are measuring and whether the results are positive or negative. (Customer Insight) Measuring engagement properly is beyond asking a few questions in yearly survey. For a useful measurement, organization has to consider at least the following points: ? ? ? ? Positive and negative drivers of engagement
Systems and processed which will help in the improvement of the organizations Attitudes and behaviors that represents the level of engagement types The actual outcomes of employee engagement (Zeal Solutions Ltd, 2012) Methodology Research Model Work-life Balance Employee Engagement Meaningful work Leaving current job Performance Leaves Availed Sample A sample of 300 participants was reviewed based on convenient sampling method from 50 pharmaceuticals of Karachi including locals and MNCs. The participants are permanent employees based in Karachi and employed in different functions. Ages of the respondents’ were from 28 to 40.
Further these employees are involved in managerial work from junior to mid positions. The sample size is a mixture of male and female respondents but males are more in quantity than females. Measure The questionnaire was derived from Gallup engagement questionnaire (Q12; 1993-98 Gallup Inc. ) Q12 comprises of 12 questions related to motivation, reward, meaningful work, supervisor support, and performance planning, learning and development opportunity. It is used to measure employee engagement. Participants rated their responses on a scale (highly disagree=1, to highly agree=5). Following structure was adopted when designing the questionnaire: Closed, structures questions ? 5-point and 4-point Likert scale summated rated question Procedure All participants were given a brief introduction regarding this research and questionnaire. Participation was voluntarily. The questionnaire was completed on-line and manually and they were ensuring that their data and information would be kept confidential; also they were informed about the purpose of the research. The data was collected individually. Results This study shows that employees of pharmaceutical organizations aren’t engaged! Only 20% employees i. e. less than one fourth of the employees are engaged, 22% not engaged and 58% i. . more than half of the employees are disengaged. Employee engagement has three dimensions: Emotional engagement- how much an individual is involved with the work; Cognitive engagement-how much an individual is focused with his/her work; Physical engagementhow much an individual is willing to go ‘for extra mile’ There are 3 types of employees: 1. Engaged Employees – employees who work with passion and feel happy. In this research, the comments marked as ‘Highly agree’ and ‘Agree’ are placed in this category 2. Not engaged employees – employees who are just passing their time.
Here the comment marked as ‘Neither agree nor disagree’ are placed 3. Disengaged Employees – employees who are unhappy and undermine work, the comments marked as ‘Disagree and Highly Disagree’ are placed in this category Emotional engagement: when the respondents were asked the question, ‘I am excited when I am performing my job’; only 17% of employees said agree and 4% said ‘highly agree’ which shows that 21% employees are ‘Engaged’. On the other side 45% respondents showed ‘disagree’ and 13% showed ‘highly disagree’ which shows that 58% employees are emotionally disengaged. Also, 21% employees are Not Engaged.
Cognitive Engagement: when the respondents were asked the question, ‘I can easily focus on the tasks and assignments when I perform my job’; only 16% of employees said agree and 5% said ‘highly agree’ which shows that 21% employees are ‘Engaged’. On the other side 48% respondents showed ‘disagree’ and 10% showed ‘highly disagree’ which shows that 58% employees are cognitively disengaged. Also, 21% employees are Not Engaged. Physical Engagement: when the respondents were asked the question, ‘I put my full energy when I perform my job’; only 17% of employees said agree and 3% said ‘highly agree’ which shows that 20% employees are ‘Engaged’.
On the other side 47% respondents showed ‘disagree’ and 11% showed ‘highly disagree’ which shows that 58% employees are physically disengaged. Also, 22% employees are Not Engaged Engaged, Not engaged and Disengaged: by adding all three components of engagement and getting the average, this research indicates that only 16% of employees said agree and 3% said ‘highly agree’ which shows that 20% employees are ‘Engaged’. On the other side 47% respondents showed ‘disagree’ and 11% showed ‘highly disagree’ which shows that 58% employees are disengaged. Also, 22% employees are Not Engaged
If we add agree with highly agree and disagree with highly disagree, then this research shows that 20% employees are engaged, 22% not engaged and 58% employees are disengaged. It can be stated that one-fourth of pharmaceutical employees based in Karachi are engaged with their jobs and the 60% of the employees are disengaged with their work! Reasons for engagement and disengagement: the researcher tried to find out the reasons for engaged and disengaged employees. Based on earlier researches one of the significant component for engagement is worklife balance and meaningful work. In this study the focus is kept on these two factors.
Work-Life Balance: when the respondents were asked the question, ‘My organization provides work-life balance to’; 13% of employees said agree and only 1% said ‘highly agree’. On the other side 49% respondents showed ‘disagree’ and 11% showed ‘highly disagree’; 26% employees showed ‘neither agree nor disagree’. Meaningful work: when the respondents were asked the question, ‘My job activities are significant to me’; 17% of employees said agree and only 2% said ‘highly agree’. On the other side 58% respondents showed ‘disagree’ and 8% showed ‘highly disagree’; 16% employees showed ‘neither agree nor disagree’.
Outcomes of engagement and disengagement: the researcher tried to find out the most common and important benefit associated with employee engagement. Two factors were chosen for this category: i) employees intention for leaving the job; ii) how much sick or casual leaves are availed by employees in the current year. Leaving the job: when the respondents were asked the question, ‘I have never thought about leaving my job’; 17% of employees said agree and only 1% said ‘highly agree’. On the other side 67% respondents showed ‘disagree’ and 10% showed ‘highly disagree’; 5% employees showed ‘neither agree nor disagree’.
Sick/Causal leaves: when the respondents were asked the question, ‘Last year I availed my _______ leaves’ ; 16% of employees said full, only 9% said nil, 8% said quarter, and 67% said half. Discussion Engagement Among the three engagement types, level of emotional engagement is the highest among all. Nearly two in ten pharma-employees are emotionally engaged, less than 2 in ten are cognitively and physically engaged. Moreover, nearly two-third employees are emotionally, cognitively and physically disengaged with their present work. One of the important reasons for employee engagement is found to be associated with work-life balance and eaningful work. The absence of these two important factors leads to employee disengagement. These findings are consistent with previous researches such as (Neil Chalofsky, Vijay Kumar, 2009), (CIPD, 2006) who reported that employee engagement is associated with meaningful work and work-life balance. Engaged employees found to have more significant work and balance in their lives! Work-Life Balance: Almost or more than 50% employees feel that they don’t have work-life balance and less than quarter employees feel to have balance in their work-life.
This is one of the important reasons for engaging or disengaging employees. Engaged employees are more likely to have work-life balance than disengaged employees. These findings are similar with the annual report of (CIPD, 2006), which showed that work-life balance is associated with employee engagement, the more employees have work-life balance in the workplace the more they are engaged. Meaningful work: Less than two-third employees reported that their work isn’t significant or meaningful to them and less than one-quarter employees just feel that their work is meaningful to them.
Engaged employees feel to have more significant work than disengaged or not engaged employees. These findings are consistent with previous researches such as (Neil Chalofsky, Vijay Kumar, 2009) who reported that meaningful work is one of the important factors for employee engagement. Leaving the job More than two-third employees showed disagreement to the question that they never thought to leave their present job, which is an extremely high number! Disengaged employees feel their job boring hence they are either looking for another job or in the process of leaving.
The result agrees with the (Paul Fairlie, 2011), reported that engaged employees are less likely to quit their organization and stays longer, hence the retention is high on those organizations where employees are more engaged. Sick/Causal leaves More than two-third employees availed full and half sick/casual leaves, which shows that employees are disengaged with their work. Less than one-third employees availed zero or minimum leaves. One of the main reasons for these people to avail less leaves is their engagement with the work. This finding is consistent with the previous researches such as (Paul Fairlie, 2011),
Implications for managers Levels of engagement appear to have considerable benefits for employees and employers. Since it is positively associated with job satisfaction, therefore employees need to for those organizations where engagement levels are high and opportunities for engagement are provided. For managers and employers – to retain competent and high performing employees, you need to raise the level of engagement at workplace. This is the fact that lesser the level of engagement, lesser the employees are engaged and more is the level of disengagement.
This research also explores the cost associated with disengagement; the average salary of 300 pharmaemployees is 20,000PKR / employee/month. Annually this amount for 300 employees is 72,000,000PKR. This research shows that 58% employees are disengaged; therefore the amount associated for disengagement is 41. 7 million PKR. Earlier in the literature review it is discussed that disengaged employees are those who just spend their time in organizations! Therefore every year Pakistani pharma-employers are wasting this amount annually.
Employers can save this amount by working on engagement issue. This is the fact that most people feel that they don’t have work-life balance and the research findings shows that two-third of pharma-employees don’t have work-life balance. One of the main reasons is long working hours i. e. employees know the time for ‘check-in’ and don’t know the time for ‘check-out’. Only a small portion of pharma-employees have work-life balance which suggests that to have engaged workforce, managers and employers need to provide or introduce work-life programs and trainings to their employees.
The vast majority of the employees seem not having a meaningful or significant work at workplace which makes them unhappy and dissatisfied. It bring the notion to them that they are involved in a work which isn’t not meaningful to them and as well as organizations. It may be the fact that employees feel that they aren’t using their capabilities to full extent. One of the reasons for this is employees feel that they aren’t involved in a valuable work. Majority of the employees seem to leave the current job and they are either looking for another one or in the planning phase. One of the basic reasons is job dissatisfaction and disengagement.
Managers can increase the retention rate by looking the ways through which employees can be engaged This is the fact that when people are motivated and engaged then they take lesser sick and annual leaves. The findings of this shows that disengaged employees availed nearly full or half leaves, which ultimately increases medical and other cost associated with it. Therefore if managers want to reduce absenteeism rate, maximize productivity, reduce cost, they need to find ways to raise the level of engagement. REFERENCES 1. Hewitt, A. (2012), Trends in Global Employee Engagement Report 2. Cook, S. (2008).
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