The concept of employee engagement began in 1990 with the then radical theory of William Kahn which was published in the Academy of Management Journal. While business leaders were focused on a top down approach looking at employee “fit” to encouraging employees to work harder, Kahn offered an alternative, suggesting that the way an employee feels about their work is key to increasing engagement and as a result increased productivity. 
Kahn, stated that how we feel at work is what matters to us, and we would be more engaged at work if: 
• We are doing something important that contributes to the business’s success 
• We are enjoying rewarding and supportive relationships with supervisors and colleagues 
• We are afforded the physical and psychological resources we need to accomplish our work 
Kahn placed great emphasis on relationships at work. He believed that work tasks cannot be separated from work relationships and advised treating employees as individuals rather than just employees creates an environment where they are more likely to flourish and bring their whole selves to work. 
Tips to foster employee engagement: 
1. Live your core values and ensure your organisation’s mission is known and ensure each employee’s goals are aligned with the organisations’ strategy 
2. Ensure employees have the tools they need to do their jobs 
3. Create an environment of open communication - prioritise employee surveys and act on the feedback received 
4. Implement an effective onboarding process where new employees gain a positive view of the organisation 
5. Provide opportunities for skills development and foster a culture of learning 
6. Recognise top performers and implement incentives and rewards 
7. Promote health and wellness 
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