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Employee Engagement Paper

Employee Engagement Paper

One could do an overall examination of an organization and find several strengths and opportunities to grow. Things it can teach other organizations to do better, versus other aspects that it wouldn’t hurt to spend more resources, investments, and time to perfect. These decisions, although usually made by the business owner, should sometimes be left to an organizational consultant who has seen multiple thriving and failing business practices from an outside, unbiased perspective. From many years experience in part time and full time work, this author would name the two best practices to effectively engage employees as the following: extensive, open communication from leadership and providing incentives for a healthy, fun company culture that inspires employees to want to wake up every morning.

The Importance of Employee Engagement

Having a product that an employee believes in is a great foundation, but without the incentives to repeatedly sell/manufacture it at this company versus any other, what’s going to ensure that your employee is going to stay loyal to you, versus taking the next best offer? This is what keeps an employer successful and ahead of the curve.

Research shows that an employee’s worries regarding job satisfaction and likelihood to stay at a company are highly influenced by employee engagement and benefits. According to

Gallup, only 32% of people in the United States are engaged at work, and only 13% worldwide. But the research company suggests five strategies to improve it, because research alone doesn’t get the job done:

“Integrate engagement into the company's human capital strategy, use a scientifically validated instrument to measure engagement, understand where the company is today, and where it wants to be in the future, look beyond engagement as a single construct, align engagement with other workplace priorities.”

From this research, we can take away that this takes clear initiative from leadership and commitment to communicating it with their employees, promote growth and also providing resources for self-development. Maintaining this communication mitigates employees’ worries or fears that they aren’t going to get what they need. Another study by Gallup found that “30% of U.S. workers are worried about their benefits being cut, 20% worry about a pay cut, and 19% worry about being laid off.” This sense of uncertainty after years of being in a recession show that employers should be transparent with information and consistently try to boost confidence and morale in their staff. This is promoted by open-door policies and daily, weekly or monthly company-wide newsletters so that employees are never in the dark.

Company culture also gives employees a purpose and making this office feel like their second home, because it is. Make sure they like being there. Working for companies that put an enormous amount of effort into culture in contrast with working for others who don’t even talk about it or put any resources towards it, dictate the level of employee engagement and job satisfaction. The result in the desire to be there is black and white.

Zillow, a progressive real estate company

This author has heard testimonials from friends and coworkers of employees that work at the real estate company, Zillow that it is a great company to work for. This organization implements both of these practices and truly promotes work/life balance and caring for its employees. After doing research on their job-listing page, the rumors were found to be true. Only 10 years old, Zillow has become “the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help.” When looking at the benefits based on the Irvine location, the list was impressive, this is what it includes: “Competitive compensation, stock options, 401k plans with matching, life insurance/AD&D, short- and long-term disability, free parking, 100% of employee premiums for medical, prescription, vision and dental covered.” On top of all these, the company takes health benefits/initiatives above and beyond the next level by providing the following as well: “We pay for 80% of dependent premiums, we help pay for your monthly gym membership, every employee gets a Fitbit, convertible desks (stand or sit), four reservable treadmill desks, flexible spending accounts, employee assistance program and a twenty-four-hour nurse time.”

Aside from all of those, Zillow is very generous with their PTO, sick time, paid holidays, and family leave/care. This is what builds Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, "the notion that people are motivated by a variety of wants, some more fundamental than others (pg.120)." These consist of "physiological well-being and safety, love/belonging (social needs and inclusion), ego needs (self-esteem, respect recognition). At the top of the hierarchy is self-actualization--developing to one's fullest and actualizing one's ultimate goal (pg.121)." Without these basic needs met, an employee has a hard time focusing on finding their reason, motivation, their “why” for doing what they do everyday.

Those aspects, alone, make it a healthy work environment, but to take it a step further, the company even creates a fun place to be. Most people spend at least 40 hours in the office per week, that’s a quarter of the week, minimum. One could say work is his or her second home. Since so much time is spent in the office, employers are starting to realize that company culture is important to one’s likelihood to stay there and be productive. Zillow has developed this environment by providing “catered happy hours, awards to Zuperstar employees, trivia nights, holiday celebrations, [in-office] Ping-Pong, a collaborative/friendly environment, fitness challenges with colleagues via EveryMove, high-profile guest speakers including authors, politicians, CEOs and famous chefs, and involvement in our community through a host of charity events and fundraisers.”

According to Bolman and Deal, the Basic Human Resource Strategies include: “Build and implement an HR strategy, hire the right people, keep them, invest in them, empower them and promote diversity. (p. 140)” These perks that are offered by progressive companies are ultimately just meeting basic HR strategy goals set by leaders who know that they’re necessary means to keep employees involved and their desire to be there alive. Specifically, we achieve these five goals by promoting egalitarianism, which “implies a democratic workplace where employees participate in making decisions. This idea goes beyond participation, often viewed as a matter of style and climate rather than sharing authority (pg. 153).” This ties in the idea of having strong communication, which results in a hardworking and autonomous team. With this communication, a self-sufficient group or employees is born.


This author’s recommendation for other organizations is to have open, transparent and consistent communication. And to look at Zillow as an example and others similar to them and the research provided by Gallup. This is a key way to get to know their employee’s needs, desires and fears, in order to keep them happily working and making the owner money.

Employee engagement, if done correctly and consistently, can enhance leader effectiveness. By seeing how others around us are succeeding and following in their footsteps, we can all build highly effective communicative and healthy teams.


Bolman, L. G., Deal, T. E. (2013). Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and

Leadership (5th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Gallup, I. (2016). The Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis. Retrieved September 14, 2016, from

Gallup, I. (2016). U.S. Workers Still Worry Most About Benefits Cuts. Retrieved September 14,

2016, from cuts.aspx?


Zillow, I. (n.d.). Jobs Overview - Zillow. Retrieved September 13, 2016, from

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