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Employee Engagement in John Lewis

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Ryan Llewellyn

on 22 April 2014

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Transcript of Employee Engagement in John Lewis

Employee Engagement in John Lewis
Aims and Objectives:

We have chosen this research project because as highlight by CIPD (2013) employee engagement has been increasingly been adopted into management by organizations to obtain better performance and competitive advantage (McBain, 2007).

Dunne (2007) stated that, there is concern within organizations in terms of the work life balance of the employee affecting their overall well-being.

From the research carried out by Wright and Cropanzano (2000), it has been shown that there has been some difficulty in the application of the different theories due to the dynamic, challenging and changing environment within today’s society.

Employee Engagement - HR3S10
Ryan Llewellyn 110227746
Maria Jimenez Carvajal 11050926
Eseoghene Mercy Yerifor 11038144
Nursakani Hadinin 11030860
Hatim Fadlalah 11043369
Maxence Coltat 13044176

Identify the theoretical elements relevant to employee engagement.
Critically discuss the principal engagement theories.
Identify and examine employee engagement practice in John Lewis.
Compare and contrast the relevant employee engagement theories with John Lewis’ practice.
Evaluate the fit between employee engagement principles and the case study practice.
Provide recommendations that could enhance John Lewis moving forward.

• According to Schaufeli and Bakker(2010) employee engagement has a significant and positive impact on both the organization and individual.

• A recent review of literature (Lewis et al,2011) noted HR professional and management consultancies place strong emphasis on engagement with organization.

• Whereas academic definition emphasis on engagement with job roles and tasks and psychological state such (Alfes et al ,2010).

• Employee engagement in term of organization commitment –a desire to stay with organization in future and willingness to go extra miles (CIPD,2012)

• Important because high employee engagement showed a 19% increase in operating income and 28% growth in earnings per share (Warhane and Royal,2009)

Organisation Power
Individual Power
Voice Mechanism:

➢ Partnership
➢ Employee Participation
➢ Employee Involvement

Referent Power
eg: ownership,socially
Legitimate Power
Reward Power
eg: promotion
eg: participation,involvement
eg: Motivation,Trust and Commitment
eg: socially and actively
Employee Engagement:

Job Satisfaction
High Performance
Sustainability (Cipd,2012)
Reason and Important of Employee Engagement:
Power in Employee Engagement
Two type:
Organizational power
Individual Power

Reward power;
• Promoting employee, it has been established that there is a linkage to affective engagement such as feeling positive to do job are possessed by individuals in the organisation (McBain,2007).

• Gardner et al. (2005) supported that work engagement in authentic leadership power is theorized through the flow of leader characteristics, psychological safety and meaningful work.
However, in wider organizational context, this inhibits ownership then authentic leadership and may not trigger work engagement (Avey et al. 2009).

According to Bates (2004) Organizational and individual power gives impact positively to the commitment within organization which also affects the psychological contract.

Some researcher (Attridge, 2009) argues that it is important not to conflate commitment, engagement and job satisfaction.-Employee engaged with job but not committed with organisation.

High level of job satisfaction leads to high engagement and in turn increase level of commitment such as dedicated,inspiration (CIPD,2012).

As Loi et al (2006) agreed that employee engagement is established by employees putting considerable effort into their workplace and are rewarded there would also be commitment towards the organisation.

However, CIPD (2011) stated job satisfaction have been put as a second place by employee who are more interested with pay and benefit (Reward power).
Almar (2005) where the employees regard an outcome reward to be equitable when there is a balance between effort input and output in today business world.

McBain (2007) states that organizational power commitment has an impact on the psychological contract especially on perception of trust and justice.

Hayes and Westrup (2012) added, that the power dynamic in work organization feature offers a new and subtle form of control, shaping expertise and forming relationship with forming partnership influence in the organization to undertake development. Employee engagement leads to mutual respect in the workplace.

The use of rationality as referent power in an organization is another form of employee engagement, known as transformational engagement. This is the key to unlocking employee productivity and transforming their working lives as they are positively encouraged to perform at their best CIPD (2012).
Voice in Employee Engagement
Voice is the ability for employee to have an impact on decisions made in an organization. This would include the process of Employee Involvement and Employee Participation (Bennett, 2008).

There are two levels of voice: Employee Level: and Organization Level (Kulkarni, 2010).
Mechanism of voice:
Participation which is defined by Lewis et al.(2003) as the distribution and exercise of power in all its manifestations between top management at an organization and those who employed by them and engaged employee socially.

Employee involvement is a range of process designed to engage the support of understanding and contribution of employees in an organization and their commitment to its objectives usually involved well-being of employee (Lewis et al. 2003).

Successful Engagement is a result of the employee expressing their ideas and the feeling it has been taken into consideration to form joint solutions; forming and effective and empowered employee voice (ACAS,2009).

Employee voice arrangement can influence employee’s perception of the trust and impacting on the climate of trust throughout the organization itself (Holland et al. 2012).

Concept of employee voice could be linked to the McBain Model of engagement in terms of management system, which promotes employee commitment, positive attitude and behaviour through participation and involvement (McBain,2007).

Overview of John Lewis
John Lewis (2013a) is a chain of up market department stores operating in Great Britain and services are owned by 85,500 partners of John Lewis Partnership.

Currently 40 John Lewis shops across the UK (30 are department store and 10 are John Lewis at home), 302 waitrose supermarkets, an online and catalogue business and a production unit and a farm.

Permanent staff are at the same time partners, which give them a voice in the business (John Lewis ,2013c).

The Partnership is owned in trust for its members, they share the responsibilities of ownership as well as its rewards profit, knowledge and power (John Lewis ,2013c)
JLP able to share expert power through the talent management programmed which reiterate concept created by the founder which is the provision to all partners all the advantages of the ownership, and this has developed work life balance and well being as a key driver (McBain, 2007).

Uma and Jogulu in 2010 stated that, referent power had also increasingly considered as an effective leadership because they are essential for developing employee and encourage creating continuous learning environment in employee such as through promotion within the JLP.

Expectancy theory: related to reward power at JLP because the main/core idea of ownership model is for the staff/employees to be a part/owner of the organisation therefore top management expect a certain expectation from allowing the staff to be the owner of the business (Mullins, 2010).

According to Qin et al. (2012) that referent power does not always work or encourage new ideas or creativity from employees although the staff to do jobs better through collaboratively/participation being involved in decision making processes, due to pressure (stress-emotional engagement need think and feel).
• John Lewis does respond effectively reward though promotion internally and referent power (employee as a shareholder). Through involvement of all shareholder employees (partnership) in decision making process eventually make them more engaged and committed with work as employee responsible in achieving the goals of company because emotional engagement intrinsically motivated – they enjoy their work (Cipd,2012).

• Evan,David and Redfern (2010) agreed that linkage analysis quickly proved beyond any doubt that JLP with high engagement, it always leads to better sales performance, lower absence and lower stock loss

.• However, McBain (2007) argues that few organizations identify which areas have the greatest impact on these outcomes, nor do many identify whether different groups of employees require alternative approaches in order to develop higher levels of engagement including JLP. eg. well trained employee leaving.
In which, CIPD (2011) support that issue concerned with many organisation included John Lewis is the condition of trust inside contemporary workplaces.

CIPD (2009) argues that employers want engaged employees because they deliver improved business performance.

CIPD (2009) has repeatedly demonstrated the links between the way people are managed, employee attitudes and business performance. For example the high performance builds on the psychological contract but emphasizes the role of JLP in creating conditions under which employees will offer “discretionary behaviour”. The model recognizes that employees have choices and can decide what level of engagement to offer the employer (Purcell et al., 2003). (see model of McBain appendix)

This voice arrangement reflects that there is a strong trust between the employees and management of John Lewis (Holland et al. 2012). An employee that has trust in there management is more likely to be satisfied in their work and thus engaged (Abraham, 2012).

Creates a culture of trust and honesty within John Lewis lead employees to have more confidence in pointing out potential problems or benefits for the organisation (Nemeth, 1997 cited in Venkataramani and Tangirala, 2010).

John Lewis also have a newspaper that they circulate within the company ensuring that the employees are constantly involved , giving them an understanding what is occurring in the organisation an efficient way of ensuring they remain engaged (Lewis et al. 2003).


JLP has adopted non-union employee representation in form of partnership council. Partnership council has a mixture of legitimate and referent power (McBain,2007).

John Lewis is part of a whole structure of devised power (Independent, 2012). Organizations need to keep employee engagement in their strategic context and review it constantly. There is no general optimum level of engagement.

All employees are given a voice and encouraged to come forward with ideas or suggestions to managers or via forums, with freedom of speech encouraged by John Lewis(John Lewis,2013a) .

Too much engagement could lead to too much internally focus which unables to recognize changes in the environment (McBain, 2007).

Having researched the elements of employee engagement it has been ascertained that JLP have taken this elements a step further and as such a new and extend version would be more applicable to JLP due to their founding principles on sharing power, knowledge and gain ( Lewis, Feilder, Tharani,2012).
In JLP however, although they promote benefit for permanent staff it has evoked strong reaction by part time employee.This show it is not easy to maintained the employee engagement (Delunga and Ronald,2000).

It was highlighted that few organizations were able to link actual levels of engagement with specific levels of performance of employees (McBain's ,2007) .

Change is not about driving employees to work harder, but about providing the conditions under which they will work smarter and to offer their opinions, ideas and solutions to problems that they encounter ( CIPD, 2008).

To make employees at the same time to partners and owners of the company is very exceptionally. Furthermore the management has to deal with a big challenge in such a partnership.

It is difficult to find an adequate and modern theory framework for the whole John Lewis concept of employee engagement.

It was recommended to created better employee engagement and enabling employee to be they best they can at work, John Lewis probably should continually do work and study to improve the stimulating employees (Warren ,2013).
Cathcart (2013)
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Voice in Employee Engagement Cont...
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Thank you
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