HR Management

Three Common Misunderstandings In Engagement with Local Staff

One of the initiatives that global companies which are successful worldwide are working on is the improvement of engagement with local staff. Here we will explain three common misunderstandings in initiatives by global companies to improve local staff engagement.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is used not only to describe the motivation and loyalty of employees but also in a more conscious sense of the synergy between companies and their employees. Specifically, it indicates relationships where strong employee-company ties and employees’ voluntary desire to contribute to their organisations benefit both employees and companies. It can be said to be especially necessary for global companies with employees from various backgrounds.

3 common misunderstandings in engagement

3 terms that are often easy to misunderstand when discussing engagement are “loyalty”, “motivation” and “commitment”. These are very similar terms, but in order to improve engagement with local staff, there is a need to understand the differences.

Misunderstanding 1: differences with loyalty

“Loyalty” is used in the sense of allegiance, faithfulness and sincerity in the world of business. Because it indicates a sense of belonging or spirit of dedication of employees to their company, it is similar to engagement as it describes relationships with the company or organisation.

The difference is that loyalty suggests master-slave relationships and hierarchical relationships, and engagement does not. Companies and employees create equal relationships. There is the term “royalty” that seems similar, but this is used in the sense of patent rights, trademarks and royalties.

Misunderstanding 2: differences with commitment

Commitment is a term that means a promise, vow, pledge, or an alliance. It is very similar to engagement in that it represents the relationships of companies or organisations with their employees, but differences emerge in the employees’ approach to work.

With commitment, the approach is to do work that is given, and in engagement, it is of doing work voluntarily.

Misunderstanding 3: differences with motivation

Motivation is the impetus of individual employees. On the other hand, engagement represents the relationships between companies and organisations and individual employees. For example, even if the motivation of local staff is high, if the engagement with the company or organisation is low, productivity will not rise and results will not improve.

How to improve engagement with local staff?

I believe that you have understood the differences in the three terms surrounding engagement, but in order to raise engagement with local staff, it would be good to refer to examples of companies that are already successful. For example, Starbucks has raised engagement with 2 initiatives.

The first is to establish “a vision that is easy to understand and resonates with the heart”. Through a clear vision, the local staff of any country can understand the meaning of their work and can feel its significance in their day to day work.

The second is to promote “guidelines for action to increase the sense of belonging”. The staff’s sense of belonging leads to favourable team-work and a voluntary desire to contribute.

It is fair to say that Starbucks’s local staff are an example of high engagement. They understand the meaning of their work well and have a sense of belonging to the company, so they try to voluntarily contribute for the vision’s sake.

Employee engagement is the key to global enterprises succeeding

Aside from Starbucks, excellent companies which are achieving global success such as Apple or Nike are also highlighting engagement in management. Companies with high engagement will increase employee performance, reduce employee turnover rates and ultimately achieve high profitability and productivity.
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