A Field Study of an Employee Fit-Centered Approach to Understanding Employee Engagement Across a Generation-Diverse Workforce

Abstract

A primary concern of organizations is the development of an engaged workforce. This concern stems in part from recurring reports that approximately two-thirds of U.S. employees are not highly engaged. This problem is exacerbated as the workforce becomes increasingly generation diverse. Generation diversity has always been present in the U.S. labor force, but in recent years it has become more prevalent. It is not uncommon to see individuals from each of the three main generations in todayâ s workforce working side by side, and, there is evidence that the levels of engagement experienced by each generation vary. Drawing from person-environment (P-E) fit and engagement theories, this study presents an employee fit-centered approach to better understand employee engagement across a generation-diverse workforce. A field study research design was employed to test an expanded model of employee engagement. Self-report data were collected from three subsamples (N = 196) and analyzed using quantitative methods. Hypothesis testing was performed using correlation and regression applications. Specifically, this study examined (a) the relationships between employee fit, engagement, and employee attitudes, (b) the mediating effect engagement has on the relationship between employee fit and employee attitudes, (c) generational v differences in work values, and (d) the conditional impact different generations had on the relationship between employee fit and employee engagement. In sum, the results from this study offer strong support for organizations to be more intentional in leveraging the fit -engagement connection. The study findings were used to develop actionable solutions to facilitate high levels of employee engagement.

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Keywords
Business, employee engagement, employee fit, workforce generations, diverse generations
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