By Linda Fisher Thornton
While there is not yet one common definition of employee engagement, according to Mandrake, “common themes found in most definitions include a commitment to and belief in the organization and its values and a willingness and ability to contribute ‘discretionary effort’ to help the organization succeed” (Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Engagement: Making the Connection, Mandrake).
What really drives engagement? To what degree does ethics play a part? In this post I’ll explore 5 ways that an organization’s ethics impacts employee engagement.
1. Commitment to Ethics and Ethical Culture
“Positive perceptions of an organization’s ethical culture are associated with higher levels of engagement. Furthermore, management’s commitment to ethics is particularly important for employee engagement.”
“A company’s ethics and the ethical health of its culture affect its ability to engage employees on the job.”
2. Personal Alignment with the Organization’s Values
“Among the survey’s more than 90 statements, the one that showed the highest correlation with engagement was, ‘I am committed to my organization’s core values.'”
3. Fairness and Transparency
“Fairness and transparency are fundamental yet powerful concepts that can make a lasting impression on employees and employers. These principles have the potential to influence many organizational outcomes in the workplace, including
job satisfaction and organizational commitment.”
4. Respectful Treatment
“For the third year in a row, the largest percentage of respondents have indicated that respectful treatment of all employees at all levels was a very important contributor to their job satisfaction… employee perceptions related to respect touch many facets of the workplace, ranging from diversity and inclusion to prevention of workplace violence and harassment.”
5. Corporate Social Responsibility for Purpose, Meaning and Impact
“Social impact programs and shared-value activities create a more engaged workforce.”
“Studies show that CSR is an emerging and increasingly important driver of employee engagement… Employees make three distinct judgments about their employing organization’s CSR efforts. That is, employees judge the social concern imbedded in an organization’s actions (procedural CSR), the outcomes that result from such actions (distributive CSR), and how individuals, both within and outside the organization, are treated interpersonally as these actions are carried out (interactional CSR).”
Ethics is increasingly important in attracting and engaging top talent. The organizations that make these five ethical areas a priority will be moving in the right direction. The catch is that priorities like “ethical culture” and “respectful treatment” have to happen everywhere in the organization every time, so organizational leaders need to be on board and prepared for the challenge.
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