Employee commitment, a determining factor of organizational success, is a subject on which research and studies have been growing in recent years. Searching for scientific publications in ProQuest with the terms “employee engagement” or “work engagement” (in the abstract section), we found 7,480 journals in the last ten years and 4,597 in the previous five.
If we search with these same terms in academic Google, the result rises to 14,900 results, only in the last 12 months. Undoubtedly, employees’ commitment to the organization is a topic of interest and study.
What is employee engagement?
Although there is currently still some disagreement in the definition of commitment (especially between the academic and organizational fields), different perspectives agree in pointing it out as an attitude at work that is characterized by vigor (energy), involvement (emotional), and absorption (cognitive). This approach is compatible with extensive research by Kahn (1990), who defined employee engagement as the degree to which they invest their physical, cognitive, and emotional energies in their performance.
In this framework, vigor refers to showing high energy levels, willingness to invest effort, and persistence. Involvement relates to feelings of identification with what one is doing and experiencing excitement, pride, challenge, or inspiration with the work activity. Finally, absorption is characterized by total concentration, immersion, and self-absorption in one’s own work.
There is also extensive and fruitful research to analyze the relationships between the engagement construct and the personality factors of the Big Five model (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Thus, positive relationships have been identified with Responsibility since high levels imply a greater tendency to get involved and dedicate themselves carefully to tasks, and also with Extraversion given the profile of enthusiasm and activation that it implies. On the contrary, commitment is inversely related to the Neuroticism factor, possibly explained by the negative perception of the environment manifested by people with a high level of this personality factor.
But most of the studies carried out in the last ten years have focused on two fundamental aspects:
- Study the concept of commitment ( engagement ) as a theoretical construct different from other close ones, such as job satisfaction, the intention to remain in the organization, or the contribution to it.
- Establish a committed relationship with :
- The contextual factors that may influence it, and
- The work results in performance, performance, absenteeism, turnover, and even financial impact or occupational health.
Referring to the concept of commitment as a different construct from other work attitudes, a meta-analysis of 49 published scientific articles carried out by Mackay, Allen, and Landis (2017) indicates that when commitment is evaluated, it shows a stronger relationship with the effectiveness and performance of employees than other measures related to work attitudes such as satisfaction or the intention to remain in the company.
The results suggest that a composite measure of the three axes of commitment (vigor – dedication – absorption) is a more direct predictor of employee effectiveness than the aggregate of job satisfaction, contribution, and desire to stay.
Contextual factors impacting engagement
Considering the contextual factors that can impact commitment, some studies show how a high level of commitment is more likely to emerge in employees when they receive social support in their workplace when they receive feedback about their performance when They are given autonomy, and the opportunity to learn and when the tasks to be carried out are varied (Christian et al., 2011).
The impact of employee engagement on the organization
Regarding the impact of commitment in an organization, numerous studies have focused on demonstrating the intuitive relationship between a high level of commitment and better performance (Rich, 2010; Macey & Schneider, 2008). Thus, it has been shown how employee commitment has been linked to better performance results and better professional performance assessments. It has also been linked to more excellent initiatives and a greater likelihood of promotion.
Likewise, it appears linked to a lower rate of absenteeism or delays and a lower intention to leave the company. Even in specific sectors, it has been shown how having employees with high levels of commitment has had an impact on the income statement, specifically in those areas where direct employee-customer treatment is the core of the business (hotels or restaurants).
In short, from the HR function, it is worth investing in knowing and improving the commitment of our employees. Therefore, it is essential to measure the employee’s commitment correctly, attending to those data that can inform us of the level of energy, dedication, and commitment the professionals show.
It is also important to use analysis techniques that allow us to identify the contextual factors that impact commitment and which strategic results for the organization are impacted.
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