CHAPTER ONE1.0 INTRODUCTION1.1 Background to the Study
For better performance and management, organisations require engaged personnel (Roberts, 2004). Engaged personnel can help employees to acquire a work-life balance which will lead to increased organisational performance and reduced turnover (Beauregard and Henry, 2009).
How employees engage at the workplace has grown into an area of interest in the last decade, and is still a core problem for organisations since the number of disengaged employees is usually higher than that of engaged ones (Gallup survey, 2013). There exists a gap on the subject of Employee Engagement (EE) in the academic literature about the correlation between Employee Engagement and generational differences in the workplace.
Although engagement of a companys employees has had many definitions by various scholars, there is no specific agreement on what the universal definition should be (Kahn, 1990). Also despite the fact that there is a wide research on employee engagement, there is no research on the correlation between Generations X, Y and Z and their engagement at the workplace. Since generation Z are not old enough to have joined the workplace, this study concentrates more generation X and Y. Kahn (1990) describes engagement as a phenomenon consisting of three factors: meaningfulness, safety, and availability. Schaufeli and Bakker (2004) believe that engaged personnel carries on to improving themselves as they remain in their workplaces.
In the 21st century, the majority of employers search only for employees who could be assets to the company and those employees who are flexible in change. Generations X, Y, and Z possess different outlooks regarding what is important in employees lives, including what the employees prefer in terms of positions, in terms of the security of their jobs as well as the enjoyment accompanied by generation X, Y and Z families. People have varying goals and needs that create challenges for the managers; especially with regards to training, retraining, and recruiting work personnel who are qualified. Generations X, Y, and Z differ in terms of personal goals, and dedication to work, regarding how they relate to customers. This difference could be a challenge for any company, particularly when it comes to placing different personnel into suitable positions in the firm.
Typically, generation X grew up in a two income household, and during this period, there was a high divorce rate. During this period more women joined the workforce, and in the process, it spawned the children of the latchkey age (Twenge, Campbell & Freeman, 2012). Generation X tend to value their freedom and their responsibility to the employer and families, and they tend to hate micromanagement in a company. Generation X is more eager to get ahead, they are never afraid of changing employers, and they tend to adapt better to changes in lifestyle.
Hays (2017) also found 94% of Generation Z employees felt it was very important to get on well with colleagues/leaders in the workplace compared to 84% of the Baby boomer generation, reiterating the importance of leadership behavior and communication at these more junior levels, although caution must be taken due to the consultancy nature of this study. It is estimated that by the age of 40, an employee can expect to switch up to between 8-12 jobs, reiterating the importance not to assume age and corporate job level are interchangeable factors of retention (MacGlaham, 2008, cited in Chowdhury, 2015).
Generation Y people are different from generation X in that they are more tech savvy given that they grew up with the presence of technology like cell phones, laptops extra (Simon, 2010). People in this generation have a preference in communication especially through e-mails, text messages and they tend to prefer technology that is webinars and online to the traditional presentations of lecture (Lyons, 2007; Kane, 2010). Generation Y tends to prefer fast track and are always willing to forego high pay to work fewer hours, have a schedule that is flexible as well as having a better work/life balance. Haynes (2011) explains that generation Y tends to have higher employer expectation and are never afraid to ask a question, and they search for work which has a learning curve that is solid.
There is a wide literature debate that focuses on how Generation X, Y, and Z experience engagement. However different variables, such as age, can be linked to employees' engagement process to form a more overarching conceptual framework (Haynes, 2011; Kane, 2010; Twenge, Campbell and Freeman, 2012; Brown and Crace, 1996; Giancola, 2006). To examine the relationship between the characteristic differences among Generations X, Y and Z and the reason for their work engagement, this study aims to look at three successive generations' work attitudes (Collins, 2013). Their attitudes will be linked to their generational characteristics.
Studies on various generations are one of the topics that have been researched widely; however, there is not enough research on employee engagement in generations X, Y and Z and comparisons as well as the definitive characteristics (Haynes, 2011). Employee engagement as a subject, though, has been well researched. The literature on employee engagement in various social generations is a topic that has not been satisfactorily investigated (Gallup, 2013). Therefore, there is the need for research to be conducted to better describe the engagement and comparisons between generations X, Y, and Z.
1.2 Statement of the ProblemThe purpose of this project is to evaluate the impact of employee engagement (EE) training in the workplace with close reference to Dynamic Futures. The project also aims at examining the comparisons of members of Generations X, Y and Z within Dynamic Futures. Employees abilities with regard to bridging the differences in generations among people is a growing concern, especially in the workplace (Giancola, 2006). With the increasing age diversity in the current workforce, being understanding and able to get along with people from different generations will most likely affect the companys profit as well as the environment at the workplace (McDonald and Hite, 2008). Employers are, therefore, expected to understand every generational interaction for better assessment and provide each persons challenges while the employees will be expected to positively contribute to the company in creating company goals and achieving them (Kahn, 1990). To achieve this, all levels of the company, including the management and its employees should understand the operations of each generation (Lyons, 2007). This is because it is critical to determine how different generations can work together for both the companys and individuals success.
1.3 Research ObjectivesThe main aim of this project is to create a connection between the training of generations X, Y and Z, and their reasons for working in an engaged way at Dynamic Futures. Employees stay in employers company through engagement. To fulfil this aim, and focusing on Dynamic Futures, the research objectives include:
To examine the perceived differences among Generations X, Y and Z in terms of the work environment and employee engagement.
To explore the impact of distinctive employee engagement training on members of Generations X, Y, and Z.
To investigate the employee engagement level of Generation X, Y, and Z after training.
1.4 Research QuestionsThe research questions for this project include:
What are the perceived differences between Generations X, Y, and Z in the work environment in relation to employee engagement?
What is the impact of distinct employee engagement training among Generations X, Y and Z?
What is the employee engagement level of Generations X, Y, and Z after the relevant training?
1.5 Significance of the StudyCompanies, just like Dynamic Futures, have progressively become interested in employing people who possess higher skills and abilities that will give the company a better competitive advantage in the industry (Myers and Sadaghiani, 2010). Businesses must adjust to internal and external changes to have a competitive advantage. It is therefore important for companies to understand the different generations values and strategies, and how they relate with other generations. They have to deve...
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