Who is responsible for employee engagement?

Date: 23-Mar-2020

Who is responsible for employee engagement?

Employee Engagement is not just jargon. Many surveys show that an engaged employee is likely to be productive as compared to an unengaged one. In today’s competitive world Employee engagement is an important force in any business, as an engaged employee will feel more connected to the job and the organization which will infuse positivity at the workplace. Employee engagement doesn’t necessarily always have to be connected with the work factor, it could mean having tea or coffee with colleagues, engaging and getting to know them better, and getting to know the work culture of the organization.

Nowadays, workplaces have moved towards being team-aligned environments. Having team structures help organizations to achieve their goals swiftly, as collective workforces are working towards the same objective by differentiating the job among the team members. Nevertheless, there are also certain challenges associated with the dispersion of responsibility. Workplace accountability is about understanding your role and acknowledging that other team members are relying on the outcome of your work.

Responsibility is exceptionally essential. Different research has illustrated that well-accomplished employees are particularly habitual to the endowment of others. It could be quite discouraging when a few members are not exerting their full share of work, it can impact more of social loafing or a member’s inclination to stay.

Question: Who is responsible for workplace engagement?

Who exactly is responsible for people and culture in an organization? Some presume that the employees themselves are responsible for their exposure at work while others believe that their immediate managers or a person of authority or HR are responsible for the employee engagement process in an organization. Truthfully to some extent, there are merits and demerits to both approaches. Let’s evaluate both of these approaches individually.

Approach 1: Employees are responsible for their exposure

Some professionals believe that employees themselves are responsible for their workplace exposure. They believe it’s their choice whether to be engaged or not. Even if Organizations arrange different courses for learning and development, in the end, it is the employee’s choice to be engaged or not.


  • Encourages Individual participation: If the employees themselves are responsible for their own engagement, it is more probable that the employee will put more effort from his end to gain maximum benefit from it.
  • Multiple people aid the action plan: When every employee is responsible for their own engagement, they tend to work hard to prove themselves to be worth it, they tend to share more and understand more from observing. Also, there is a higher rate of contribution from the employees when multiple people are responsible for it.
  • Helps entice more talent: If employees are to be engaged on their will, it will provide them with a sense of freedom and responsibility, while engaging with their fellow colleagues. This type of culture also helps to recruit people with a high sense of responsibility.


  • Takes all the responsibility of the firm: As there are certain things that are required to be done on an organizational level like training and development programs, performance management systems, etc which are part of the employee engagement program. It will be quite a hassle for an inexperienced employee to work efficiently in this setting.
  • Can result in poor management: As there won’t be a proper curriculum for the employees, it would be quite chaotic as employees will criticize each other and possibly won’t address the root cause, which would result in poor management of the work at hand or poor organizational practices.
  • Fixed Ethos: If we define some employees as being “highly accountable” or “less accountable” we are implying that these are fixed traits that cannot be altered. The reality is that, as with numerous other things, levels of accountability tend to ebb and flow based on a variety of components.

Approach 2: Organization is responsible for employee engagement

Others presume that employee engagement is a hierarchical process, that is only managers and the organization can take any action and steer change. There are certain things that the organization is responsible for like learning and development courses, training, etc. there is little to no influence of the employee over this process.


  • Ensures actions are taken: If the organization is responsible for employee exposure then it is very likely that the action will be taken, as most companies have a fixed format or process for employee engagement.
  • Company Culture: Companies that constantly work to fabricate a culture or an environment where the employee is comfortable working. These companies believe that the employees need to be made aware of certain things about the company and their processes.


  • Takes all responsibility off the individual: If employees know that they are not responsible for their own workplace experience, they won’t thrive to understand the organization’s processes, they will simply slack off and revert from any personal responsibility.
  • Learned helplessness: If the employee is not responsible for their own exposure then it is possible that they may feel powerless or helpless as would have no control over the course of action. Besides that, there is an added level of managerial pressure.

So, what is recommended regarding responsibility for employee engagement?

We knew that engaged employees are more productive and satisfied with their work and their challenges. With such benefits, it is smart to invest in an engaged employee. It is suggested to adopt an approach that allows employees to voice their ideas to the appropriate managers, and adopt an approach that permits individuals at all levels of an organization to be accountable. This will motivate employees to take control over the course of events and will make them liable to take certain decisions, while concurrently holding managers and the organization responsible for system-level impacts on an individual level.

In reality, the synergy of individuals, departments, managers, and the organization is responsible for creating an engaging workplace experience.


So what’s the one way that can boost your employee engagement?

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