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Determinants Of Employee Engagement

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Critically evaluate the use of key motivational theories in increasing Employee engagement.


In the present business state of affairs, human resource management is one of the key aspects to be considered in maintaining the effective working environment in the organizations (Armstrong and Taylor 2014). Employee engagement is one of the key objectives for the human resource management for the organizations. It refers to the implementing various activities and practices to increase the level of motivation of the employees in the organizations. The more motivated will be the employees, the more will be their level of productivity in the workplace. Thus, eventually it will help to increase the organizational effectiveness of the organizations. There are various theories being given by different author regarding the employee engagement (Anitha 2014). This essay will discuss about different theories being given and will be compared with one another to determine their effectiveness. In addition, the theories being implemented by various organizations will also be discussed in this essay.

The first theory to be discussed is the Maslow’s needs theory. According to this theory, there are five basic aspects of needs for motivating human beings. The needs are being presented in a hierarchical structure based on their importance in the human life. According to this theory the first or the most basic need is physiological needs (Lester 2013). This refers to the basic needs of air, water, food and shelter. The next step is the safety needs, which refers to the associated safety and security required by the individuals. It includes job security, financial security and health security. The next step is the social needs which refer to the care and belongingness of the individuals. Effective working environment is also being included in this part (Korzyynski 2013). Esteem needs is the next part which includes self respect, confidence and recognition. The last part being the self actualization needs. It refers to the growth or potential to grow being possessed by the individuals.

Thus, following this theory in the organization will help to improve the motivation of the employees. This is due to the reason that, the physiological needs of the employees can be fulfilled by providing those best possible salaries. In the case of the safety needs, effective working environment being implemented by the organizations for their employees will help to provide safety and security to the employees in their workplace. Initiating various employee welfare schemes and effective team work in the organizations will enable the employees in fulfilling their social needs (Gallie et al. 2012). Promotion and continuous growth in the organization will help the employees in fulfilling their esteem needs. The last needs of self actualization of the employees can be fulfilled by utilizing the potential of the employees optimally. Moreover, the growth policy of the organization should provide the opportunities to their employees in promoting them up to the top level management.


However, a limitation is being identified with this theory. This theory is state about various needs of the employees, however, in the practical situation; all the employees will not have the same level of needs (Taormina and Gao 2013). In addition, not all the employees will have all these stated needs. Thus, this theory may not be applied in every organization. For instance, Google applied this theory in their internal management. They take care of all the required needs of the employees from all the hierarchical levels. The varied and diversified needs of different employees are being taken care of (Gallie et al. 2012). Thus, Google is known for effective employee engagement policies. In addition, the employees in Google is much more engaged and motivated than any other competitor’s employees.

The next theory to be discussed is McClelland’s theory of needs. According to this theory, employees can be motivated by basic three needs. These include need for power, achievement and affiliation (Royle and Hall 2012). Need for power can be provided to the employees by offering effective growth structure in the organization. It will help the best performers to climb the hierarchical ladder more effectively and quickly (Weske 2012). Need for achievement can be fulfilled by offering the employees more challenging job which will increase the feeling of achievement among the employees upon accomplishment. Need for affiliation of the employees can be fulfilled by implementing effective working environment in the organization. It will help to increase the level of mutual understanding and cooperation among the employees.

Compared to the Maslow’s need theory, this theory offers more holistic approach of motivating the employees. Organizations will have more ease in dividing the policies regarding the employee engagement due to the reason that they have to divide it in three aspects compared to the five aspects of Maslow’s (Andrew and Sofian 2012). However, this theory also contains limitations. One of the key limitations of this theory is that, organizations will find it difficult to provide all the employees the need of power or achievement. For instance, Decathlon provides their employees ample opportunities in promotion and job growth (Royle and Hall 2012). However, they also finds it difficult it fulfilling a particular type of needs for all the employees.

The next theory is Herzberg’s two factor theory. According to this theory, organizations should consider two factors, motivators and hygiene factors to maintain the level of motivation for the employees (Malik and Naeem 2013). The motivators refer to the factors which enhance the level of satisfaction among the employees. However, absence of these factors will not lead to dissatisfaction of the employees. On the other hand, hygiene factors refer to the factors which prevent the dissatisfaction of the employees. Implementing these factors will also not increase the satisfaction of the employees. These are the basic needs to be considered in the organization. This theory is much more realistic compared to other two theories. This theory helps the organizations to identify the factors for maintaining and enhancing the motivation level of the employees. However, the limitation that has been identified with this theory is lack of relativity with the practical situation. There are various needs of the employees (Tarique 2014). Several employees can get satisfied with fulfillment of the hygiene factors; on the other hand, employees can get dissatisfied even with the fulfillment of the motivators. Thus, these factors are being depended on the individual preference patterns.


For instance, Microsoft maintains the effective working environment in their internal organization by offering the basic or hygiene needs of the employees. It helps them in preventing the dissatisfaction of the employees (Malik and Naeem 2013). On the other hand, motivational factors such as rewards, incentives, promotional opportunities and job recognition are being provided by them to the employees in order to motivate them to increasing their productivity.

The next theory to be discussed is the ERG theory of motivation. This theory is being designed to better synchronize the Maslow’s theory of motivation (Caulton 2012). According to this theory, three needs are to be considered by the organizations in order to increase the level of motivation among the employees. These are existence needs, relatedness needs and growth needs. Existence needs refers to the basic two needs being mentioned in the Maslow’s need theory. This includes the basic necessities of the employees in their life. Relatedness needs refer to the social and esteem needs which can be fulfilled by providing the effective working environment in the organization. Growth needs refers to the achievement and personal growth of the employees (Weng and McElroy 2012). The main advantage of this theory over Maslow’s is that, this theory considers more practical overview compared to the Maslow’s. According to this theory, the dissatisfaction of the employees regarding not fulfilling the basic needs can be overcome by fulfilling the esteem and social needs and vice versa. On the other hand, Maslow stated that it is a gradual process and should cover all the aspects for employee engagement.

One limitation being identified with this theory is regarding its effectiveness in the employee engagement. This is due to the reason that, there are may be several employees whose dissatisfaction for not fulfilling the basic needs cannot be overcome by fulfilling other needs. They have other perspective which is not being considered in this theory. For instance, employee engagement in Emirates faces issues due to the reason that, several employees are being dissatisfied with their basic needs and several other are satisfied and vice versa (Abraham 2012). Now, this is quite difficult for the organization to overcome all the dissatisfactions of the employees by implementing a singular approach of employee engagement (Caulton 2012).

The next theory is the Vroom’s expectancy theory. This theory states a complete different approach compared to the above discussed ones. According to this theory, the motivation for the employees is more of expected outcome of the employees from a particular job unlike the other theories where needs of the employees are being considered to enhance the level of motivation of the employees (Parijat and Bagga 2014). This theory states that the expectation of an employee regarding the rewards and recognition being achieved from performing the task is the main factor for employee motivation. Thus, organization should enhance the employee importance and offers job having greater sense of achievement (Dalal et al. 2012). The main advantage of this theory over others is its employee orientation. Unlike the other theories, this theory offers the opportunity to consider the diversified and varied expectations of the employees and offering jobs accordingly. However, this theory also comprise of limitations. One of the key limitations of this theory is that, the system of rewarding the employees is not always being proportioned with the performance. Various organizations offer rewards based on the skills, qualification and the position of the employees. Thus, this theory will not be applicable in this case.

For instance, Daimler considers their employees as their one of the key stakeholders for the organization. Thus, the employees are given importance in accomplishment of the responsibilities (Parijat and Bagga 2014). The jobs are being designed in the organization in such a way that it will provide the sense of achievement for the employees.


The next theory is the goal setting theory of motivation. According to this theory, the goals or objectives of the job being offered to the employees is the key factor for enhancing the employee performance (Miner 2015). The more challenging and creative job to be offered to the employees along with necessary feedback, the more will be the employee motivation. Setting of effective goals helps the employees in having the clear and precise idea about what and how to accomplish the job role. The main advantage of this theory is having no need of implementing any schemes or policies in the organization in order to enhance the employee motivation. This theory helps the organizations in providing feedback to the employees and vice versa (Whitaker and Levy 2012). Thus, the communication channel gets enhanced. Moreover, it covers the holistic and diversified employee requirement in order to motivate them in their workplace.

One of the key limitations being identified with this theory is not considering the diversified skills possessed by different employees. Many employees are there who get motivated with less challenging role rather than having more challenging roles. In addition, complex and difficult goals further de-motivate the employees. For instance, Dell uses this goal setting theory in increasing the motivation of the employees (Miner 2015). The employees are being properly guided and mentored in their job responsibilities. Thus, the employees feel more involved and engaged in their workplace.

The next theory to be discussed is the equity theory of motivation. According to this theory, ethics in the organizations are also one of the key determinants to enhance the motivational level of the employees (Al-Zawahreh and Al-Madi 2012). This theory states that, the extent to which fairness, transparencies and ethics being followed by the organization influence the employees in enhancing their level of engagement. The more the organizations will follow ethical principles, the more will be the positive motivation of the employees. Compared to the other motivational theories, this theory considers the ethics over any materialistic needs of the employees in determining the level of motivation.

However, one limitation being identified with this theory is that, all the employees may not be motivated with the ethical principles being followed by the organization. Majority of the employees are being motivated by having materialistic appraisals by the organizations. Thus, this theory cannot be applied with all the employees and organizations. For instance, Microsoft is one of the leading organizations in terms of fairness and following ethical principles. However, the employees in the organization may not be motivated by portraying these examples to them (Al-Zawahreh and Al-Madi 2012). Thus, they have promotes various appraisals for their employees in order to motivate them.

The last topic to be discussed in this essay is the Bandura social learning theory. This theory is not defining the concept of employee motivation like the other theories did (Rosenthal and Zimmerman 2014). According to this theory, the level of motivation of the employees can be influenced by following or imitation of the co-employees in the organization. Thus, it is the responsibility of the organization to implement the effective working environment in the internal premises in order to motivate the employees by following one another. The key limitation of this theory is that, it lacks the consideration of practical situation in the organizations. In the few organizations, employees may get influenced by some negative personalities of other co-workers. Thus, it will cause negative implications for the organizations.


Thus, from the above discussion of the various theories of motivation, it can be concluded that majority of the theories lacks the consideration of practical situations. Most of theories cannot be applicable by the organizations in a holistic approach. It is due to the reason that, the theories being discussed do not consider the diversity in the requirement of the employees (Facer et al. 2014). However, from the above discussion, it can be concluded that expectancy theory of motivation and goal setting theory of motivation is comparatively more effective than the other theories. This is due to the reason that other theories discussed about the needs of the employees to be fulfilled in order to increase their effectiveness. However, the needs of the employees is variable in nature and thus, it cannot be fulfilled by implementing a singular approach. Moreover, it is quite difficult for the organizations to promote separate initiatives for the employees. Thus, these theories cannot be applied in the practical situation.

Expectancy and goal setting model of motivation discussed about the expectation of the employees from their respective job responsibilities and the influence of goal setting. Thus, these theories can be applied in more holistic approach in the organizations. It will not require determining the individual perspective in implementation of the theories in the organization. Effective implementation of these theories in the organizations will help to create an effective working environment for the employees along with enhancing the level of motivation and engagement of the employees. It will enable the organizations in having increased the productivity level and increase in the core competencies in the market. Moreover, the more employee engagement will lead to more effective customer service. Thus, the image and goodwill of the organizations can also be get enhanced with the help of these theories



Abraham, S., 2012. Job Satisfaction as an Antecedent to Employee Engagement. SIES Journal of Management, 8(2).

Al-Zawahreh, A. and Al-Madi, F., 2012. The utility of equity theory in enhancing organizational effectiveness. European journal of economics, finance and administrative sciences, 46, pp.158-170.

Andrew, O.C. and Sofian, S., 2012. Individual factors and work outcomes of employee engagement. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 40, pp.498-508.

Anitha, J., 2014. Determinants of employee engagement and their impact on employee performance. International journal of productivity and performance management.

Armstrong, M. and Taylor, S., 2014. Armstrong's handbook of human resource management practice. Kogan Page Publishers.

Caulton, J.R., 2012. The development and use of the theory of erg: A literature review. Emerging Leadership Journeys, 5(1), pp.2-8.

Dalal, R.S., Baysinger, M., Brummel, B.J. and LeBreton, J.M., 2012. The relative importance of employee engagement, other job attitudes, and trait affect as predictors of job performance. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42(S1).

Facer Jr, D.C., Galloway, F., Inoue, N. and Zigarmi, D., 2014. Creation and initial validation of the Motivation Beliefs Inventory: Measuring leaders’ beliefs about employee motivation using four motivation theories. Journal of Business Administration Research, 3(1), p.1.

Gallie, D., Zhou, Y., Felstead, A. and Green, F., 2012. Teamwork, skill development and employee welfare. British Journal of Industrial Relations, 50(1), pp.23-46.

Korzynski, P., 2013. EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION IN NEW WORKING ENVIRONMENT. International journal of academic research, 5(5).

Lester, D., 2013. Measuring Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Psychological Reports, 113(1), pp.15-17.

Malik, M.E. and Naeem, B., 2013. Towards understanding controversy on Herzberg theory of motivation. World Applied Sciences Journal, 24(8), pp.1031-1036.

Miner, J.B., 2015. Organizational behavior 1: Essential theories of motivation and leadership. Routledge.

Parijat, P. and Bagga, S., 2014. Victor Vroom’s expectancy theory of motivation–An evaluation. International Research Journal of Business and Management (IRJBM), 7(9), pp.1-8.

Rosenthal, T.L. and Zimmerman, B.J., 2014. Social learning and cognition. Academic Press.

Royle, M.T. and Hall, A.T., 2012. The relationship between McClelland’s theory of needs, feeling individually accountable, and informal accountability for others.

Taormina, R.J. and Gao, J.H., 2013. Maslow and the motivation hierarchy: Measuring satisfaction of the needs. The American journal of psychology, 126(2), pp.155-177.

Tarique, I., 2014. Seven Trends in Corporate Training and Development: Strategies to Align Goals with Employee Needs. Pearson Education.

Weng, Q. and McElroy, J.C., 2012. Organizational career growth, affective occupational commitment and turnover intentions. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80(2), pp.256-265.

Weske, M., 2012. Business process management architectures. In Business Process Management (pp. 333-371). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Whitaker, B.G. and Levy, P., 2012. Linking feedback quality and goal orientation to feedback seeking and job performance. Human Performance, 25(2), pp.159-178.


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