An analysis of the benefits of employee engagement on organisational performance: A case for companies in the commercial sector in Harare
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In a challenging economic environment coupled with globalisation and increasing competitive market forces, organisations are looking for critical strategies to get ahead. The challenge for managers is offering something different that is not only geared for sustaining operations but also for growing businesses and challenging for market domination. Resources, technology, off-the-shelf programmes and models have all been explored but successful companies have realised that the greatest benefit to business success is having engaged employees. The purpose of the study was to analyse the benefits of employee engagement on company performance in the commercial sector in Harare. This study adopted the qualitative approach and twelve participants were purposively selected from various institutions and different capacities in the commercial sector from HR consultancy, human resources practitioners, business owners, worker representatives, supervisors to shop floor workers. A semi-structured interview guide was used to collect rich data from participants and the interview sessions were recorded and transcribed. Data collected was analysed through content and thematic analysis to address the objectives of the study. The research findings indicated that employee engagement mainly contributes to company success through customer satisfaction, profitability, reduced labour turnover, productivity and cost reduction. The study indicated that the key drivers of employee engagement in the commercial sector were effective communication, relationship with immediate superior, employee development, fair remuneration and leadership involvement. The main barriers to engagement were identified as poor communication, unsupportive organisational structure and poor leadership, lack of policy on engagement, lack of adequate financial resources and poor industrial relations climate. These barriers can be countered by managing resistance, developing an engagement policy, training, effective recruitment, leadership involvement and gathering engagement data in the organisation. It was recommended that companies in the commercial sector should develop an Engagement Policies coordinated by engagement committees and guided by a proposed engagement model adapted from the Aon Hewitt model. The recruitment policy, performance management system, organisational matrices must incorporate engagement 5 issues. Compensation should be based on salary surveys and recognised job grading systems.