Give them Wings! Exploring Latino experiences and perspectives on employee engagement through qualitative phenomenological inquiry
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Employee engagement has emerged as a relevant and noteworthy topic in the discourse on organizational leadership and sustainability, as engaged employees are a source of organizational productivity, positive morale, competitive advantage, and retention (Gallup, 2017; Albrecht, Bakker, Gruman, Macey, & Saks, 2015). Workforce composition has changed significantly over the years, and with this change comes the need to explore evolution in organizational strategy and workplace engagement. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the role of cultural values in shaping the attitudes, beliefs, and work experiences of Latinos employed at a major global specialty retailer. A total of 11 participants were interviewed using semi-structured, open-ended interviews. The data were coded by hand, using a whole-parts-whole process to identify conceptual categories, and led to the emergence of the three themes of workplace relationships, feeling valued, and leadership communication. The results of the study should provide new and useful information for executive leaders and human resources professionals in the development, deployment, and sustainability of organizational engagement strategies, particularly among the Latino population. Three recommendations for action include: a) focus on selecting the right organizational leaders, b) provide leaders with training and development to support engagement efforts, and c) hold leaders accountable for the engagement of those they lead. Further research could include research on various cultural groups and organizations and quantitative analysis of potential cultural antecedents of engagement.
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