What Work Should Really Be: Work Engagement

Companies are always searching for ways to become more profitable and increase productivity, but at what cost? There are many issues that result in overworked and stressed out workers that can lead to health issues and other problems such as depression and alcohol abuse. A more recent concept to help battle this type of burnout is work engagement, which can be described as workers “who approach their work with energy, dedication, and focus” (Association for Psychological Science, 2011). So how can work engagement help?

The goal of empowering your employees with work engagement is to give them the sense of purpose and fulfillment in their job. When an employee feels engaged in the work place they tend to produce more and be more innovated while taking initiative to help improve the work environment and the service and/or product they are working for. Arnold Bakker (2014) mentions that “research has revealed that engaged employees are highly energetic, self-efficacious individuals who exercise influence over events that affect their lives,” this can be beneficial not only for the company but also the employee (Bakker, 2014). If employees are willing to go the extra mile and feel satisfied in their work place no matter their position then one may guess their livelihood may be more satisifying as well. If you were happy and enthusiastic about your work that would carry over into your everyday life, and when you feel better about yourself you tend to make better decision in your life.

These choices can lead to healthier lifestyles and more active as well which can lead to less time sick. With less time being sick means you are out of office less and go to the doctor less, a win win for reducing cost in healthcare and increasing productivity in companies. So many illnesses are stress related and a main trigger of stress is work. Since the majority of people work at least at some time in the life it would seem like a great place to start would be in the workplace. The best way to improve the overall health and well-being of a population is promote healthier lifestyles and prevention of stress and illness (Schneider, Gruman & Coutts, 2012). A model to back up the support for work engagement is the theory of planned behavior or more importantly perceived behavioral control, where a person believes they have a certain amount of control or influence over their behavior and this is an important element in employee engagement.

When employees feel like they have control over their work and are a part of something bigger they tend to give more. And when an employer gives the same energy back the mutual effect is a bonus for both sides. After reviewing some of the top companies to work for Google is up on top a lot, but why? Maybe it’s they give their employees the freedom to choose when they work, incredible perks and stimulating work environments, and also a say what happens in the company, while these kind of things may not be able to be offered from other companies the point is that they may hold “the future of workplace leadership” (Crowley, 2013).

This type of intervention in the work place could affect the population is such a positive manner. Not only is it studied in health psychology but also in positive psychology, work engagement can be a powerful tool for the future of people’s life quality. “Employees’ own personal resources- such as self as self-esteem and optimism- also contribute to work engagement” so imagine if this influence could start in the work place where almost everyone goes on a daily basis (Association for Psychological Science, 2011). That really is an inspiring thought to think that everyone could enjoy going to work and stop dreading Monday’s, I only hope that more companies will start adapting this type of thinking for society as whole, for we might all benefit in our daily lives as well as a population.



Association for Psychological Science. (2011, July 20). Work engagement, job satisfaction, and    productivity: They’re a virtuous cycle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110720142459.htm

Bakker, Arnold. (2014). Work engagement. Retrieved September 26,2014 from             http://www.arnoldbakker.com/workengagement.php

Bakker, Arnold & Leiter, Michael. (2010). Work Engagement: A handbook of essential theory and research. Psychology Press 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2014 from http://www.media.routledgeweb.com/pp/common/sample-chapter/9781841697369.pdf

Crowley, Mark C. (2013, March 21). Not A Happy Accident: How Google Deliberately Designs    Workplace Satisfaction. Fast Company Inc, Mansueto Ventures, LLC 2014. Retrieved  September 28, 2014 from http://www.fastcompany.com/3007268/where-are-they- now/not-happy-accident-how- google-deliberately-designs-workplace-satisfaction

Schneider, F.W., Gruman, J.A., & Coutts, L.M. (2012). Applied Social Psychology:           Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (Second ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.


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1 comment

  1. Very interesting post! It is something that I know I can relate to personally. Work-place stress is an issue that I have been dealing with for many years now and it is starting to take it’s toll on me. Lazarus and Folkman’s (1984) Transaction Model of Stress indicates health outcomes as the final stage of stress (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). If stress is not controlled and becomes a chronic issue, it can lead to a long list of illnesses and problems (Schneider, et al., 2012). I can attest to this. When my stress at work increase to levels I had not experienced before, I started dealing with health issues ranging from chronic fatigue and headaches, to digestive issues -all health problems I do not have a history of. I realize now, through the transaction model that I need to figure out a way to cope with the stress so that my body doesn’t take the brunt of it. Lazarus and Folkman list either problem-focused or emotion-focused coping as a solution but I feel as though I may need to partake in a bit of both (Schneider et al., 2012)! Haha. However, I feel that the problem-focused coping mechanism is what Google has implemented as part of their workplace culture. They have identified stressor atypical for corporate offices and have designed ways to attack those stressors directly. It seems as though their approach has been working as you stated Google is listed as one of the top companies to work for. Although solutions may differ from office to office, depending on culture, etc., I think a lot can be learned from Google. We spend such large amounts of our life at work, so why make it unbearable.

    Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., and Coutts, L. M. (Eds.) (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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