Is employee engagement on its way out in favour of the psychological contract?
The Work Foundation has published some research which looks at “understanding the deal”.
They interviewed 134 employees from 6 companies. This research argues
that the recent popularity and focus on employee engagement is
“misplaced and organisations should instead focus on practical measures
to assist employees in delivering high standards of work”.
The employment deal is essentially the psychological contract, which previously fell out of favour
but is ultimately at the centre of employee engagement. However, both
employee engagement and the psychological contract suffer from a lack
of agreed definition and therefore clarity. There is no consistency in
measuring employee engagement between different organisations, which in
turn means that no comparisons can be made between external company
reports. Without this clarity line managers will struggle with the
concepts and delivering on them.
Previously the psychological contact was in favour, now it is
employee engagement. Could the psychological contract be coming around
again? Is it wise for either of these concepts to be used without
appropriate clarity and definition?