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The Power of Employee Engagement in Organizational Change

Feb 24, 2023 | 0 comments

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Feb 24, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

Executive summary

Organizational change management is a vital part of growth in any business. Today’s organizations cannot ignore the importance of change management or the elements that go with the same. Employees are often part and parcel of the change. In fact, it has been suggested that successful organizational change comes from understanding the importance of employees in the process. Managers however, are not clear on the strategies that can be employed to ensure employee engagement. To this end, this study will explore some of the strategies employed by managers, their success and expected challenges in employee engagement. Recommendations and conclusions will be made with regard to which strategies seem to have the highest success and the environments upon which they can be used.

The study will be carried out using at least four organizations, which will be elected purposively based on the number of years they have existed and accessibility of employees. Once the four companies have been selected, the researcher will then randomly select the employees to be involved in the survey. Data from managers will be gathered using interview schedules while, that of employees will be gathered using questionnaires. It is expected that the results of the study will positively identify increased employee engagement as a vital component of successful organizational change. In addition, several strategies employed by managers will be identified and analyzed with regard to their rate of success.

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1.0 Background of the Problem

In today’s economy, organizations are expected and indeed often deal with change at every juncture of growth. Organizations resistant to change find themselves extinct and taken over by younger, more fluid and adaptable competition. majority of today’s organization have indeed become so adapted to change so that they are transforming their strategies and formulating plans in order to deal efficiently with future change. This is so that they can ensure that when change occurs, they are the first to adapt and take over the change thereby becoming leaders where the competition is concerned.

For managers however, a bigger concern exists; employees today are often feeling threatened by organizational change. In the past decade, employees have had to develop survival tactics when it comes to maintaining their jobs. When change occurs, employees may lose their status, their role in the company and become forced to adapt to duties and roles they are less than familiar with. The result is that they often resist the organizational change. (Bridger 2014) found that during the process of organizational change, organizations are likely to face a high turnover of employees. Majority of the efforts directed at making change a success, often fail when employees are resistant. It is therefore important to study how employees feel and think during this process in order to develop strong and reliable strategies for managing change. One of the most important strategies for managers is employee engagement during the process of change. This study seeks to understand how employee engagement can improve response to change and hasten the process of adaptation in the organizational culture.

1.1 Statement of the Problem

Organizational change is a phenomenon that modern managers have deal with and work with in the current economic climate. Studies have shown that for managers to succeed in implementing change, employees need to be part of and in line with the goals for change. Whereas the managers can come up with exciting plans and strategies for the implementation of change, it is up to the employees to make these plans a reality. In majority of the companies however, employees remain resistant to change. Success in organizational change is therefore limited. Despite managers understanding the value of employees in adapting organization change, little if any efforts are granted towards engaging employees in the process of change, a fact that has led to deterioration and failure of many organizational change efforts.

1.2 Objectives of the study

1.2.1 Broad objective

The study seeks to analyze the importance of employee engagement in bringing about change within an organization. This study will be informed by the following specific objectives:

  • Examine the contribution made by employee engagement in the process of organizational change.
    analyze the strategies employed by managers in ensuring success and influence in employee engagement
  • Determine the perceptions of employees with regard to strategies employed in employee engagement and how they assist in managing organizational change.

1.2.2 Research questions

what is the main contribution granted by employee engagement towards successful organizational change
which are some of the strategies employed by managers in ensuring successful employee engagement
how do the employees perceive the strategies employed by managers in employee engagement and their contribution to organizational change management


2.1 Understanding Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is the use of strategies and goals in order to positively evaluate and bring the emotional as well as behavioral reaction of employees into the picture. Traditionally, managers often made the decisions behind locked doors; change was implemented in closed meetings with high ranking members of the executive. The duty of the employee was to implement the change without need fully understanding the why and the how (Elsmore 2001). However, as (Cook 2008) states the value of employees has increased tremendously. Managers have come to understand that success for their organizational goals and strategies comes simply from the employees. This means that employees need to be given a sit in the closed door meetings and executive retreats. He continues to state that an employee, whose contribution is valued, is more likely to put in 100% effort towards ensuring that the company successfully adapts to the change. These employees provide a rare and unique resource for the manager, one which is unequaled in terms of talent and skill coupled with unique knowledge of the organization itself.

According to (Cervai et al. 2014) the variables describing and defining employee engagement are simple based on the nature of the relationship between employees and the organization that they work for. An engaged employee is aware of the organization goals and strategies but also aware of the expected challenges in meeting the same goals. Values of such an employee are therefore in line with the values of the organization. Employee engagement is not only to the advantage of the organization, the employee as well enjoys some benefits. Top among them is increased job satisfaction, where employees feel they are appreciated and rewarded adequately for their efforts within the organization. When organizations are small, employee engagement tends to be high, however as they grow bigger and bigger engagement becomes lower and could sometimes lead to a complete disengagement. Employees of large multi-nationals for example often feel that they are completely disengaged from the company, (Sisson 1996). The company itself may pay higher salaries, provide unique and exemplary benefits and still employees continue to feel dissatisfied in their jobs. Such companies are also likely to suffer in terms of high turnover rates, with more and more employees leaving employment and an even larger number suffering from burnout due to disengagement from the process of decision making and the company it.

2.2. Employee Engagement and Involvement

There has often existed a difficulty in distinguishing between employee engagement and involvement. Managers may request feedback from employees and even allow them a say in the goals, strategies and plans of the organization. However, if the employees are not fully involved efforts will not yield results. Managers need to clearly understand that employees have the ability to make decisions, tackle challenges and provide relevant information for various procedures in the company (McGee 2011). This means therefore that employees cannot be fully engaged unless they are fully involved in the company affairs. They are aware not only of the strategies, but simple successes and challenges that the company is encountering. Employee involvement according to (Garber 2013) connotes that employee engagement can only measured from the view of the employee. He is the only one who can determine the strength and value of the relationship with the organization. Managers may feel they have made great effort and stride towards engaging employees, however the efforts can only be measured through the response of the employees. In employee involvement, attitudes, behavior and outcomes become part and parcel of the engagement strategy.

Identified Gap: Managers undertake the responsibility of employee engagement with the aim of improving performance and productivity. However, it is important to note that employee engagement is not mechanical, involvement and commitment are vital components of ensuring success in engagement.

2.3. Employee Engagement and Organizational Change

Walker (2012) states that it is futile for managers to find themselves in the process of change with unmotivated, burnt out and purely uninterested employees. In such a case, failure is almost imminent. Despite managers understanding the value of employee engagement, it is surprising that only 10% of employees within the country are fully engaged. With organizations undergoing changes almost on a daily basis, this spells doom for industry performance and the economic mark sheet. The issue has now become an emergency with managerial performance being measured on the level of engagement of employees. To the stakeholders engagement means commitment, this then translates to extra effort which immediately increased productivity and ensures increased profits and growth. The need for change in way managers handle employees and change management is clear.

Managers often identify one area of the company or one set of goals that require change is order to be recognized for example; improving the customer satisfaction and retention rate, boosting the company performance index or improving efficiency in production. Once this set has been identifies, the managers must instill new capabilities required to support the transformational change. Employees are required to perhaps make extra effort, learn and master new skills or simply change the way that they perform their duty (Geary et al. 1994). Understanding this therefore, it means that employees become the backbone upon which the success of organizational change is built. Managers build the link between the organization executives and the employees. They are in touch with both groups. however, with today’s sense of boundaries in organizations, it is common for the executive to be completely de-linked with the employees so that employees question their own worth in the company and increasingly feel diminished. At the same time, managers are quickly losing the touch with the executives whereby they cannot seek clarification on simple maters of decision making. The result is that efforts within the organization are incoherent and disorganized. Therefore change often brings about more loss in terms of revenue and duplication of activities, which leads to frustration and finally complete burnout (Carbonara 2013).

Identified gaps: research has focused on understanding concepts of employee engagement and challenges faced by managers in ensuring employee engagement. Rarely has focus been drawn on the strategies employed by the managers to ensure success in employee engagement. In addition while, managers may consider their strategies a success, employees may not. Therefore this study uniquely combines the analysis of strategies employed in employee engagement and perceptions of employees with regard to the same.

The above trend has led to majority of stakeholders in business learning that employee engagement is not an activity that is to be ticked off in the calendar of change. It is to become an everyday part of the organization culture. Employee engagement will build the agility of the company. Agility is vital when responding to change within the industry. Companies that have a higher rate of employee engagement are more likely to enjoy higher adaptability rates than competition. The company that is most adaptable to change also enjoys a unique position within the industry, one that is envied but cannot be taken away (Guest et al. 2001). (Holbeche and Mathews 2012) state that engaging employees should be part of the hiring process, the performance evaluation and the training and talent development conversations between managers and employees. When employees are engaged in this manner they are more aware of the roles that they play within the organization, therefore change initiatives become easier to adapt because every employee understands exactly what role they will play in success of the same.

Identified gap: studies have focused on understanding motivation behind employee engagement and the benefits of employee engagement in organizational change, however few are concerned with the perception of the employee when it comes to employee engagement and organizational change as this study determines to do.


3.1 Data sources and types

The data is expected to establish the direction and patterns that emerge when mangers actively engage employees in change management. With regard to the quantitative and qualitative variables, the aim is to establish the contribution that the employee engagement has on adaptation of change. These variables will specifically measure the activities of employee engagement that are common among the organizations. At the same time, the reasons for the popularity of some activities will also be established.

3.2. Study population

The study population will include the middle level managers within an organization coupled with their employees. While the managers will provide vital information with regard to some of the strategies they have employed to ensure employee engagement, the employees on the other hand will be more influential in determining the success of these strategies.

3.2.1 Unit of analysis

The strategies for change and employee engagement are employed within the organization. The unit of analysis therefore will be the organizations involved in the sample. These will allow for a study of the overall organizational structure while at the same time attesting to the wellbeing of individual employees within the organization.

3.3. Sampling Procedure

To generate quality and manageable data, the study will employ a multi-stage sampling procedure. The procedure will involve the following activities: (i) selection of the organization, (ii) selection of the managers to be interviewed within the organization and finally (iii) the selection of the employees that are employed and active within the organization. The employees within the organizations, that is, those employed for at least a year within the same organization will provide the sampling frame for the study.

3.3.1 Sample size determination

In selecting employees for face to face interview care will be taken to select only the employees who have been with the organisation for at least a year. This will act as the guiding criterion as suggested by (Zikmund 2003): employees who have been in the company for at least a year are integrated within the culture of the organisation and are more likely to provide relevant information with regard to the strategies of the organisation.

A non-probability random selection technique will be applied in determine the sample. Organisation will be chosen using a convenience sampling technique. That is, the researcher shall select organisations which they can access and which are moist likely to be less resistant to research. Secondly, employees shall be chosen based on a judgemental sample, that is, selection based on years of employment within the company as described below:

Business researchers offer a suggestion that at least a sample population of 10% should be taken for studies, the researcher will take a sample of 40% hence a sample size of the study will be 86 respondents consisting of either the owner or manager of the business, Supervisors, manager Attendants, and the employees of the organization. Judgmental sampling will be used to elect junior employees who have been with the company for at least five years. Employees will be selected based in experience and level of employment. This will ensure that data collected is rich and usable. Whereas the study would have preferred to employ a random sample a purposive sample has been selected boo ensure that the data collected covers at least a variety of different organizations within different industries. The purposive sample will be based on the following characteristics:

The organizations must be in existence for more than five years. This means that managers have at least employed various strategies in employee engagement and the organization culture has had time to develop among the employees.
The organizations shall be of different industries that is: service industries (such as hotels and delivery companies), production manufacturers (engaged in production of various products) and sales and client companies (such as publicity and marketing firms).
Organizations offer time and cooperation to the researcher for the information that he is seeking. It is important to note that some of the organizations within the sample maybe less than willing to cooperate in terms of research. In this case, it is best to move on and seek other alternative organizations.

3.4 Data Collection Methods

The data collection methods and tools will differ between managers and employees. This is because the information being south is much more different.

3.4.1 for managers

The research will employ an interview schedule for collection of data from managers. This is because the schedule will offer an ideal avenue to pursue new data that may arise during the interview. In addition, the interview schedule gives the manager, a chance to educate the researcher on the basics of the strategies being employed in employee engagement and change management. It has also been noted that majority of the managers are often quite busy, they may therefore forget to fill out questionnaires or do so haphazardly giving the study less than rich data.

3.4.2 for employees

Since the data collected from employees will be much more and easily verifiable, the data will be collected using the questionnaires. The researcher may not have the time to sit will all employees and engage them in a discussion. In addition, managers are going to be less than cooperative if the research will take employees away from their productivity. Therefore, questionnaires will be handed to the employees to be filled during their own private time and then collected 48 hours. Questionnaires will be filled an anonymously, this is because employees may feel they might be castigated or withhold information for fear of repercussions. For the selected sample, the researcher will be very careful to indicate the steps that have been taken to ensure confidentiality and anonymity.

3.5 Validity of research instruments

The content validity will be established through literature research on the topic, especially concentrating on other similar researches, consultations with the research supervisors and other experts from the Faculty of business. Such experts will be useful in assisting to determine if the study objectives have been adequately. Advice and a short pilot study will be used to formulate the instruments in such a manner that respondents are not confused by the questions or misguided by the instructions on the interview schedule.

By analyzing other research and literature, the researcher will be able to determine the validity of the research design. It is important to note that whereas the data gathered maybe good, but the research design can compromise the entire research. With a poor and sloppy research design, it is possible that much energy and time will be spent correcting inconsistencies from the design rather than engaging the research questions.

The findings from the pre-test study will be used to improve on the instruments, thus enhancing their validity.

3.6 Reliability of the instruments

Reliability refers to the stability and dependability of the instruments used to collect data. This study will establish reliability of the questions and the instruments themselves to consistently provide the same results, through a pilot study. The pilot study will be conducted on a small percentage of the expected study population number.

3.7. Data Analysis

This study will employ both qualitative and quantitative data analysis methods to present the results of the data collection. The data collected on the various variables being tested will be entered into the SPSS version 21 software package. Once entered, analysis that is comparisons, tabulations, computations and tests will be carried out to determine the interpretation of the results. Various statistical tests will be applied to interpret the collected information.


(Rate the answers to your questions from 0-10, with 0 being completely disagree and 10 being completely agree)

Analysis of manager strategy:

Understands the level of competition:

Has concern for my individual wellbeing

Will make good strategic decisions for the company in the future

Will seek my onions in matters that concern the company:

Analysis of engagement

The manager:

Treats us as employees fairly

Provides help when we need it

Appreciates and rewards contributions from employees

Addresses the challenges we are encountering fairly and conclusively

Allows employees to help in formulation of strategies

Respects the contributions of subordinate employees


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CARBONARA, S. (2013). Manager’s Guide to Employee Engagement. Mc-Graw- Hill Publishers

CERVAI, S., KEKÄLE, T., & CLAXTON, J. (2014). Employee Engagement. Bradford, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

COOK, S. (2008). The essential guide to employee engagement better business performance through staff satisfaction. London, Kogan Page.

GARBER, P. R. (2013). The manager’s employee engagement toolbox. Alexanria: ASTD press.

GEARY, J., & SISSON, K. (1994). Conceptualising direct participation in organisational change: the EPOC Project. Shankill, Co., Dublin, Ireland, Loughlinstown House.

GUEST, D., & CONWAY, N. (2001). Organisational change and the psychological contract: an analysis of the 1999 CIPD survey. London, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

HOLBECHE, L., & MATTHEWS, G. (2012). Engaged unleashing your organization’s potential through employee engagement. San Francisco, CA, Jossey-Bass.

ELSMORE, P. (2001). Organisational culture: organisational change? Aldershot, England, Gower.

MCGEE, R. (2011). Employee engagement. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

SISSON, K. (1996). Closing the gap, ideas and practice: direct participation in organisational change. Dublin, Ireland, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions

WALKER, S. (2012). Employee engagement and communication research measurement, strategy, and action. London, Kogan Page

ZIKMUND, W. G. (2003). Business research methods. Mason, OH, Thomson/South-Western.

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