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Section 1: Employee engagement

Employee engagement is a broad construct that addresses issues as diverse as employees’ commitment to the organisation, their commitment to achieving team goals and their personal motivation. Employee engagement has been linked to positive outcomes by both private and public sector organisations[2].

While engagement has been measured previously through the State of the Service Employee Survey, in 2011 the APSC developed the APS Employee Engagement Model which provides a more sophisticated understanding of employee engagement in the APS. The full model is shown in Figure 1 below. The model looks at four elements of engagement, with a number of separate measures contributing to each:

  • Employees engage with the job they do. This reflects the extent to which employees identify with their job and the second the extent to which their work challenges them in a positive sense.
  • Employees engage with the team to which they belong. This focuses on how those in the employee’s immediate workgroups behave and on the adequacy of the recognition employees receive for the work they do.
  • Employees engage with their immediate supervisor. This reflects how employees’ immediate supervisors support their employees and the second the conditions in the workplace.
  • Employees engage with the agency to which they belong. This includes elements regarding how employees perceive their agency’s leadership, the development opportunities provided by their agency, the extent to which they identify with the agency , and the organisational behaviours exhibited by other employees.

These Engagement elements have been shown to be related to important organisational capability factors including how well employees perform, how many hours they work, their use of sick leave, and their career intentions[3].

Figure 1: The APS engagement model

In the Snapshot (and the 2011 SOSR Employee Survey) the UK Civil Service People Survey Employee Engagement Index (UK Engagement Index) was also included; this is an overall measure of employee engagement that provides an internationally benchmarked engagement measure against which the micro-agencies can also be compared.

Figure 2 shows APS Engagement Model scores for micro-agency respondents compared with the APS average. Micro-agencies are also compared against the APS and UK Civil Service on the UK Engagement Index. This shows that the micro-agencies scored statistically higher than the APS average on all engagement measures[4].

Figure 2: Micro-agency engagement scores

Figure 3 shows average APS Engagement Model scores by career intentions for the next two years. On all scores, those employees who intend staying with their agency scored considerably higher than those intending to leave for any reason[5]. This result is consistent with that for the broader APS.

Figure 3: Engagement scores by career intentions

Overall, the results presented above show that employees in micro-agencies have similar patterns of engagement to the broader APS, but their levels of engagement are higher across the board.