Today in class we talked about employee engagement by looking at it from two dimensions.
The first dimension is organisational identify. The basic idea is that when we admire our work organisation, we take pride in it and are willing to engage more strongly and co-operate with colleagues. It was interesting to note that when our professor asked for positive examples, the people who described their former companies still used the “we” and not the word “they” to describe them.
This makes sense. People like to connect and like to be proud of their respective culture, including the culture of their work place. I think this idea is the source of a large number of initiatives dealing with the condition of the work place and with CSR and sustainability programs that boost up morale and create employment pride.
The second dimension is organisational justice. People look for justice in their work environment in different ways. Different people (and this differs in different cultures) look for three kinds of justices: Distributive (regarding outcomes), Procedural (regarding process) and Interactional (regarding interpersonal relationships and provision of information).
My experience teaches me that a lot of times, procedural justice help people overcome difference in distributive justice. When people are aware and understand the process that led to the distribution decision, they are more willing to accept results that don’t favour them.
But I think the most important aspect is interactional justice. The way our direct manager treats us, taps into our strengths and help us excel in our job, is more important than any other factor. I think this is even more important than the pride we take in our work place. Yes. People like working for a good successful company, but most of them would prefer a remarkable manager.
Try to think about it, if you would quantify the number of complaints you here from your friends about the workplace – how many of them will be about their managers? I haven’t done my research, but I believe that this will be the main topic of complaints, overshadowing all the other reasons.
This means that companies should consecrate their efforts on recruiting and training great managers that will make employees feel interactional justice. These managers are the most important resource that companies have.
What about you? What do you think is the most important for employees in a workplace?