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BE OUR GUEST: Mission possible or impossible?

Nicole Knight

BE OUR GUEST: Mission  possible or impossible?

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Recruiting the right employees into the organisation has always been a challenge for employers. Assuming that the right employees have been selected, another challenge presents itself, the issue of motivating employees beyond the “honeymoon” orientation phase.
Engaged employees work with passion, feel a profound connection to their company, drive motivation and move the organisation forward. Engagement speaks to the “harnessing of organisation members’ selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances” (Khan, 1990, p.694).
Achieving a highly engaged workforce, however, is not an easy task. During recessionary times it becomes even more challenging to maintain high morale within organisations.  
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Job specific orientation into the mission, vision, values of the job is necessary.
2. Engagement must begin at the top of the organisation.
3. There must be opportunities for career development.
4. Equip employees with the requisite tools to function in their jobs. Working conditions should also foster positive social relationships at work.
5. Provide appropriate training for employees. In recessionary times the right employees need to be targeted for training.
6. A robust feedback system must be developed. Managers as well as employees must be held responsible for their levels of engagement. Performance appraisal systems must be tied to the overall objectives of the organisation.
7. Incentives are critical. Research shows a strong positive relationship between employee performance and enhanced pay, recognition and praise.
8. By placing emphasis on top performers and engaging them it reduces the turnover of the high performers within the organisation. Employers should also seek to highlight all employees’ strengths during performance appraisals.
9. Two-way communication. In addition to sharing decision-making and so on, it is critical for employees to be kept abreast of organisational changes. When employees are unclear of objectives, goals and initiatives, it causes mistrust and promotes a disengaged workforce. 10. Creating a culture of engagement.
Finally, it is important to underscore that employees must take responsibility for their personal work ethic.
Nicole Knight is a lecturer in the Department of Management Studies, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.