Why another book on engagement? In the opening book in this HR 2025 series, Perry Timms, challenges HR to think differently about what they stand for, as well as what they think they should contribute to organizations now and in the future.
Consistent with this theme, this book exposes the paradox of a standardised approach to building an engagement workforce. Drawing together ideas from existing work, supported with case vignettes, the author aims to build a case for thinking differently about how to do this.
The book starts by retracing the roots of employee engagement and in doing so questions some of the assumptions about the different types (locus) of engagement. It then moves to provide case vignettes, of how organizations in different contexts approach employee engagement. These examples indicate how engagement can be achieved in different contexts by paying more attention to person-role-fit, rather than through a preoccupation with group-wide engagement initiatives. The book concludes with rethinking the relationship between job design and employee engagement, arguing that more innovative approaches to job design, such as job sculpting and job crafting, ultimately achieve the same desired outcomes as more standardised employee engagement initiatives. Moreover these more innovative approaches to job design reflect the trend for more flexible and agile organizational forms.