Employee engagement at Eskom Distribution Free State Operating Unit Head Office
Bok, Llewellyn Alistair
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Employee engagement has the potential to influence employee performance and management, yet it is not well understood by a number or organisations. The current challenge facing most organisations, however, is that employee engagement levels are very low which impacts the performance of the organisation negatively. The study centres on the Eskom Distribution Free State Operating Unit Head Office in order to evaluate the current level of employee engagement amongst employees. The study also aims at determining the relationship between employee engagement and certain biographical factors of employees. The Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) questionnaire that measures three aspects of engagement namely vigour, dedication and absorption was used in the study. The overall results indicated that the majority of the respondents are engaged. The study highlighted two profiles: a white male older than 50 years of age working in the Maintenance and Operations department, who is highly engaged versus a black female younger than 31 years of age with less than 5 years experience working in the Customer Services department, being the least engaged. Although the overall results indicated that respondents were engaged there were areas of concern. The results for vigour indicated a work environment that is not very supportive, meaning there is not a good work–life balance and employees are unwilling to go the extra mile for the organisation and easily get tired when doing their job. Respondents did not feel like going to work in the morning and did not have high levels of energy and mental resilience. The results for dedication paint a picture of employees who do not find their jobs inspirational or challenging and this may be because they cannot see the link between what they do and the organisation’s overall goals. The absorption results indicate non-commitment and a lack of involvement by employees in their jobs. They are not immersed in their jobs at all – it is only a means to an end. Continuous interventions are required from leadership to maintain and improve employee engagement. This includes roadshows to share the business priorities and focus areas as well as to reinforce the part each employee plays in achieving said priorities. It is also recommended that special engagement sessions be held with Customer Services employees since they are the least engaged. Management should ensure that employees have adequate job resources, that it is a correct job fit and that there is leadership support to enable employees to do their jobs well. Conduct quarterly employee engagement surveys in the Free State Operating Unit to see if the interventions are having the desired effect. Lastly, further investigation is recommended on the use of the internationally based and developed Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) in a South African context since the findings highlighted engagement differences among ethnic groups.