Candidate Access
Log in
Sign up
Ask your demo now
Employer Branding

Workplace Lesson from The Office - Engagement

Developing employee engagement is one of the most important concerns of leaders in today’s business environment. Engaged employees show higher motivation and enthusiasm towards their jobs and contribute greatly to increasing organisational productivity.

As per a recent study conducted in the UK, 50% of the employees believe that career development activities help increase engagement, and companies ensuring action from employee feedback have an 80% engagement rate. 

Theoretically, employee engagement encompasses the level of dedication and enthusiasm an employee offers to the organisation. To better understand the concept of employee engagement, it’s necessary to look at its three dimensions.

Employee engagement considers the levels of physical engagement, such as an individual’s physical and mental efforts towards the organisation. Cognitive engagement considers an individual’s shared vision with the organisation, and emotional engagement measures an employee’s sense of belonging to the organisation.  

Engaged employees are likely to commit to their organisation more and often go beyond their job description to contribute to the organisation. On the other hand, lack of engagement leads employees to be less motivated and perform poorly. 

Lack of Engagement During Meetings

In today's complex business environment, it’s important for employees and employers to share and believe in the organisation’s vision. When the employees share the organisation’s vision, they become cognitively engaged. Such engagement results in employees delivering quality performances which help businesses achieve their vision

During the opening scenes of Season 4, Episode 5 of The Office, Michael can be seen giving a presentation to Pam, Jim, Dwight, and others. Although Michael is enthusiastic and energetic about the presentation, all the other employees can be seen distracted by an animated logo on the television screen behind him. The episode then transitions into a solo clip of Jim explaining that this is common during meetings at Dunder Mifflin. 

Such distraction occurs quite often in professional meetings. A quick fix to these problems is to remove all possible distractions from the conference room. 

However, the underlying issue here is a lack of cognitive engagement. Employees become distracted at work because they don’t share the organisation’s vision. Cognitively unengaged employees express lower levels of motivation and performance in the workplace and often seek a distraction. 

Business leaders and human resource professionals need to emphasise the development of cognitive engagement in the workplace. Doing so will allow employees to become more aware of the organisation's long-term objective resulting in greater creativity and performance outputs. 

One of the many things human resources professionals can do to develop cognitive engagement is to actively promote the organisation’s vision in the workplace to increase awareness. Additionally, business leaders can increase cognitive engagement by developing the vision with employees’ feedback and perspectives in consideration so they feel valued.

Higher Engagement Equals Better Performance

Greater engagement levels lead to greater performance. When employees reach the required levels of engagement, their physical and mental contributions to the organisation increase. Research has shown that increased physical and mental engagement at the workplace also leads to increased confidence. This allows employees to utilise their skillset and maximise their performance fully. 

Throughout the episode, Dwight can be seen competing with a website claiming to have the ability to generate more sales. Despite some discouragement from others, Dwight continues his efforts to make more sales. As the episodes continue, Dwight wins by a margin of 52 sales. However, it’s later revealed that he does this to impress Andera. 

Despite that, his dedication and efforts towards making sales serve as a testimonial to what employees can achieve if they feel physically and mentally engaged with the organisation. 

Nowadays, millions of products are in the market for customers' needs. Business leaders need to ensure that their marketing and sales teams are doing all that they can so that the company’s offering becomes the customers' first choice. To keep their marketing and sales teams motivated, business leaders need to ensure that these teams are physically and mentally engaged with the organisation. Sales incentives and bonuses are great motivators but are not all that is required. 

Managers must ensure that the work their sales and marketing teams do is appreciated. Along with this, they need to emphasise implementing on-the-job training and feedback mechanisms in the workplace. Such implementations lead employees to believe that all their efforts are not in vain and increase their physical and mental engagement with the organisation.

Sense of Belonging and Dedicated Employees

Along with ensuring that employees are physically and cognitively engaged, leaders need to develop a sense of belonging within the workplace. Such practices result in employees’ emotional engagement and are critical for increasing their dedication. 

The “Launch Party” episode of The Office shows Andrea planning a launch party at Dunder Mifflin for the website’s launch. Throughout the episodes, Anglea and Phyliss have multiple confrontations about mismanaged tasks regarding the party. Angela is often criticised for not having everything sorted out as well. However, she continues to make arrangements for the party and is pleased toward the end when Andy helps her with them. 

Her efforts to plan and execute the launch party show that she’s emotionally engaged and has a sense of belonging to the organisation.

Business leaders and human resource managers must focus on creating a sense of belonging in the workplace. When employees are emotionally engaged with organisations, they provide a personal level of commitment to organisational efforts and aim not only to meet the expectations but to exceed them as well. Emotional engagement warrants managers to focus on providing feedback, letting employees know their value, and commending how they help the organisation. 

Summing It All Up 

Engagement in the workplace is critical to increasing employee dedication and enthusiasm. 

Businesses must ensure that they implement strategies that grow all three dimensions of engagement. Such practices result in physically and mentally engaged employees sharing the organisation's values and feeling a sense of belonging in the workplace. 

As a result, employees engaged with organisations across all three dimensions show greater commitment and enthusiasm towards their jobs and perform better in all aspects of the business.