Emotional engagement

Latest research from the CIPD in partnership with Kingston Business School has been evaluating how best to measure employee engagement.  Their research has identified a difference between emotional and transactional engagement and the implications for worker behaviour and attitudes.  Emotional engagement relates to people’s passion for their work, whether they would recommend the organisation to friends and the extent to which they will invest discretionary effort. The research demonstrates that higher emotional engagement leads to high task performance, more citizenship behaviour, less deviant behaviour and lower intention to leave.  Where organisations are placing employees under greater work pressure, they run the risk of damaging emotional engagement and replacing this with transactional engagement where people become more focused on achieving minimum performance standards rather than ‘going the extra mile’.

What is important about this research is that it indicates the need for HR practitioners to:

  • include emotional measures in employee engagement surveys and what people are emotionally engaged with – passion for their work, effort for their team and/or pride in the organisation
  • design HR practices that promote positive feelings about work – whether they feel they identify with the organisation, its mission and its values as well as the personal support offered by their manager
  • understand what motivates employees and how to offer suitable support for different types of people in the organisation
  • limit intensification of work over long periods as this has been demonstrated to negatively affect emotional engagement
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