The effect of Job Resources on Employees’ Work Engagement in Five-star Hotels in Egypt

 

 

 MOHAMMAD A. NABIL

Hotel Studies Department, Alexandria University, Alexandria

 

MENNATALLAH ELBITAR

Hotel Studies Department, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt

 


 

ABSTRACT

Employees’ work engagement (WE) is gaining continuous significance, since it reflects the trend towards ‘positive psychology’, and represents employees’ involvement, devotion to their jobs, and willingness to go the extra mile to help the company succeed. Employees’ WE is transferred to clients in the form of high-quality services, and also raises productivity, profitability, customer satisfaction and loyalty, in addition to lower employee turnover. Relevant studies spotted several job resources (JR) that are positively related to employees’ WE. JR are those physical, social, psychological and/or organizational job aspects necessary for achieving goals, reducing job-related demands and physiological and psychological costs, and stimulating personal development.

This study’s aim is to investigate the influence of different JR, and employees’ demographic profiles on their WE and its main dimensions; vigor, dedication, and absorption, and determining WE’s current level in Egyptian hotels. Adopting a quantitative research approach and stratified random sampling, 621 five-star hotels’ employees were surveyed.

The study came out with significant findings and contributions. JR had a significant positive effect on employees WE’s dimensions; vigor, dedication, and absorption. WE level and available JR have been found to be above moderate in surveyed hotels. Among WE’s dimensions, vigor was the most influenced by the availability of JR, thus increasing employees’ feeling of enthusiasm and passion for work, and dedication and proudness of their job. Whilst, among JR, rewards had the least effect on WE, due to that, in the current tourism depression and unemployment, employees tried to adapt to these circumstances and focused on nonmonetary JR.

Employees’ profile dimensions (age, gender, educational level and experience) were positively related to their WE. Higher WE is associated with employees over 40, female employees, employees holding a bachelor degree, and those who enjoyed an experience of more than ten years in current hotel, and in the hotel indust

In this context, hotel managers should be more knowledgeable of specific JR, and their contribution to develop and create the proper environment and culture that fosters employees’ WE in addition to business success, and how to target specific employees’ segment with the most vulnerable profiles.

Key Words: Work Engagement, Job Resources, Employees’ Profile, Egypt

 

 

1.     INTRODUCTION: the concept of WE

Employees’ WE has emerged as a positive psychological construct of occupational health to measure positive work-related state of mind (Bakker & Demerouti, 2008). According to Kahn (1990, 1992), WE involves personal engagement, well-being and psychological presence in the workplace, and the amount of energy and commitment employees have for work. Later, Rothbard (2001), May et al. (2004), Saks (2006) and Bakker et al. (2008), confirming and extending Kahn’s findings, supported that the psychological conditions of meaningfulness, safety, availability, attention and absorption in job-related roles are linked to WE.

WE also involves organizations’ practices towards enhancing employees’ emotional and intellectual commitment, contribution and cognitive, behavioral and affective dedication to achieve greater outcomes (International Survey Research, 2003; Hewitt Associates, 2004; Andrew et al., 2012), and creating opportunities for employees to connect with their colleagues, managers and wider organization (Kular et al., 2008), in a way that results in the willingness to go above and beyond what is expected to help the company succeed (Gebauer & Lowman, 2009; Bedarkar & Pandita, 2014).

From employees’ perception, WE is comprised of energy, involvement and efficacy (Maslach et al., 2001; Bakker et al., 2008; Kular et al., 2008), and represents their involvement, satisfaction and enthusiasm for work. Overall, the most accepted and referred to definition of WE is that of Schaufeli et al. (2002a; 2002b) who defined WE as “a positive fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption”.

 

1    Review of literature

 

1.1     Benefits of WE

WE provides benefits for individuals as well as for organizations. Park & Gursoy (2012) and Bedarkar & Pandita (2014) stated that organizations can utilize engaged employees as a strategic partner in the business. Martel (2003) claimed that in order to obtain high performance in intangible-products-based tasks that demand innovation, flexibility, and speed, employers need to engage their employees. WE’s benefits include positive attitudes towards work and towards the organization, such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and low turnover intentions (Salanova et al., 2005; Demerouti et al., 2001; Schaufeli et al., 2003; Hakanen et al., 2006; Christian & Slaughter, 2007; Ram & Prabhakar, 2011; Robinson et al., 2004). It also includes positive organizational behaviors and business performance metrics such as personal initiative and learning motivation, extra-role behavior (Salanova et al., 2005), proactive behavior (Salanova et al., 2005; Salanova & Schaufeli, 2008; Cook, 2012) increased productivity, customer satisfaction and loyalty, and profitability (Harter et al., 2002). For example, a study among about one-hundred Spanish hotels and restaurants showed that employees’ levels of WE had a positive impact on the service climate, which, in turn, predicted employees' extra-role behavior as well as customer satisfaction (Salanova et al. 2003).

WE is also linked to better work performance and productivity, and meeting customers’ needs and business objectives (Brown, 1996; Bakker & Demerouti, 2014; Coleman, 2005; Salanova et al., 2005; Xanthopoulou et al., 2009; Bakker & Bal, 2010; Bhatnagar & Biswa, 2010). For instance, a study conducted by Young et al. (2009) revealed that engaged employees are more friendly, attentive to customer problems, prompt in service delivery, and motivated to recommend appropriate products based on customer needs. WE also have positive outcomes for individuals, including better psychological health (Schaufeli et al., 2003; May et al., 2004; Christian & Slaughter, 2007; Schaufeli et al., 2008; Xanthopoulou et al., 2009), better physical health (Lockwood, 2007), and lower levels of depression, distress, absenteeism and psychosomatic complaints (Demerouti et al., 2001; Harter et al., 2002; Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004).

WE fosters employees’ self-efficacy (Luthans & Peterson, 2002; Salanova et al., 2005; Seijts & Crim, 2006). As stated by Seijts & Crim (2006), engaged employees believe they can make a difference in the organization. Besides, personal positive feelings also exist, such as of happiness, enthusiasm, joy, and optimism (Bakker & Demerouti, 2008). Less engaged employees are more prone to physical, cognitive, or emotional job-related withdrawal (Kahn, 1990), and burnout (Maslach & Leiter, 1997 & Schaufeli et al., 2002a).

 

1.2     Dimensions of WE

According to the WE’s definition of Schaufeli et al. (2002a; 2002b), three key WE dimensions are derived; feeling of vigor, strong dedication, and high levels of absorption. Vigor refers to high energy levels directed toward organizational goals, on-the-job mental flexibility, employees’ readiness to exert needed efforts in their job, and diligence in difficult situations (Schaufeli et al., 2002a, 2002b; Albrech, 2011). Dedication refers to profound work-related psychological involvement, along with productive feelings of respect, enthusiasm, significance, pride, challenge, and inspiration, (Brown, 1996; Schaufeli et al., 2002a, 2002b; Dicke et al., 2007; Mauno et al., 2007). Absorption is being concentrated on and immersed in one’s work, quick passing of time on the job, and difficulty to detaching from work (Maslach et al. 2001; Schaufeli et al., 2002a, 2002b).

 

1.3     Job Resources: Concept and Correlation to WE

According to previous studies, multiple factors influence WE, among which, job resources’ (JR)availability is the key driver of employees’ WE (Demerouti et al., 2001; Hobfoll, 2002; Salanova et al., 2005; Schaufeli et al., 2003; Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004; Hakanen et al. 2006; Llorens et al. 2006; Koyuncu et al. 2006; Bakker & Demerouti, 2007; Bakker et al. 2007; Llorens et al., 2007; Mauno et al., 2007; Xanthopoulou et al., 2007, 2009; Bakker et al., 2008; Hakanen et al., 2008; Schaufeli et al., 2009; Weigl et al., 2010; Christian et al. 2011; Demerouti & Bakker, 2011; Vera et al., 2016).

Moreover, previous empirical studies’ findings suggested that lack of JR resulted in job burnout which is the opposite of WE (Cordes & Daugherty, 1993; Lee & Ashforth, 1996; Leiter 1988, 1991; Maslach, 1998). Furthermore, acting as a mediator, JR had a positive impact on various indicators of organizational commitment (Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004; Hakanen et al., 2006) and positive work-to-home interface (Mauno et al., 2007) through enhancing employees’ WE.

JR represent various motivational job aspects; psychological, social, physical, or organizational, necessary to minimize job-demands-related negative aspects, and attain organizational goals, and increase personal development, growth, and learning (Demerouti et. al, 2001; Hobfoll, 2002; Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004; Bakker & Demerouti, 2007; Xanthopoulou et al., 2007; Hobfoll & Schumm, 2009; Karatepe & Olugbade, 2009; Schaufeli et al., 2009; Schaufeli & Bakker, 2010; Matamala, 2011). Employees may repay their organizations’ efforts to provide needed JR by their level of WE (Saks, 2006; Weigl et al., 2010; Altunel et al., 2015). Such JR create psychological meaningfulness and safety for employees, which are needed to be engaged in one’s job (May et al., 2004; Main, 2011).

Specifically, JR that drive WE include social support from supervisors and co-workers, performance feedback, coaching, job control and autonomy, task variety, training facilities, rewards, education, and independence at work (Demerouti et al., 2001; Maslach et al., 2001; Bakker et al., 2003; Salanova et al., 2005; Schaufeli et al., 2003; Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004; Hakanen et al. 2006; Llorens et al. 2006; Koyuncu et al. 2006; Bakker & Demerouti, 2007; Bakker et al. 2007; Pitt-Catsouphes & Matz-Costa, 2009; Schaufeli & Taris, 2014)

Among JR provided by organizations, two main resources are to be spotted in the current study; job control and autonomy, representing a significant psychological job resource, and rewards, as the main physical job resource.

 

1.4     Job Control and Autonomy

Representing a basic psychological need for employees (Deci & Ryan, 1985), job control or autonomy refers to employees’ independence, flexibility, discretion, and control, decision making possibilities, and utilizing personal discretion for performing job tasks (Hackman & Oldham, 1975, 1976; Jackson et al.,1993; Parker & Axtell, 2001; Morgeson et al., 2005; Aubé et al., 2007; Stone et al., 2009; Trépanier et al., 2014). It helps increase productivity, performance, positive work experiences, intrinsic motivation, activated states of psycho-physical well-being, and WE (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Sauter et al., 1989; Van der Doef & Maes, 1999; Saavedra & Kwun, 2000; De Lange et al., 2003; Gagné & Deci, 2005; Marinova et al., 2008; Gagné & Bhave, 2011; Liu et al., 2011; Trépanier et al., 2014). Hakanen et al. (2006); Mauno et al. (2007), Van den Broeck et al. (2008) and Schaufeli et al. (2009) found that job control is among major predictors of WE’s dimensions, and within the hospitality industry as well (Salanova et al., 2005; Slatten & Mehmetoglu, 2011). More specifically, job control and autonomy is positively associated with absorption as one of WE’s dimensions (Bakker & Geurts, 2004; Bakker, 2005)

According to the previous discussions and implications concerning the importance of providing abundant JR for enhancing employees’ WE, and, necessarily, a specific hypothesis has to be stated and investigated concerning the correlation between job control and autonomy and employees’ WE

H1: There is a significant and positive correlation between job control and autonomy, and employees’ work engagement.

 

1.5     Rewards

Job rewards are the financial and nonfinancial benefits that employees receive based on their perceived performance and productivity (Matiaske & Weller, 2007; Newman & Sheikh, 2012). In many cases, employees consider rewards as the direct financial compensation consisting of one or more of salaries, wages, incentives, bonuses and/or tips (Hayes & Ninemeier, 2009). Previous studies stated that employees’ WE depends on the level of returns, represented mostly in rewards and financial recognition, which should be a part of the overall company values (Kahn, 1990; Maslash et al., 2001; Koyuncu et al., 2006; Matiaske & Weller, 2007; Sakovska, 2012; Schaetzle, 2016). Whilst lack of rewards and recognition can lead to burnout and disengagement (Maslash et al., 2001).

Consequently, it is essential to hypothesize and investigate the correlation between rewards and employees’ WE, as stated in the following hypothesis:

H2: There is a significant and positive correlation between rewards and employees’ work engagement.

Finally, it has been noticed, throughout the vast array of reviewed literature, that employees WE has not been clearly correlated with employees’ profile characteristics. Few studies have linked WE to employees’ characteristics such as gender (Johnson, 2004), and age (Pitt-Catsouphes & Matz-Costa, 2009; Simpson, 2009). And since employees are the main asset in the hospitality industry, the following hypothesis has been introduced:

H.3 There is a significant correlation employees' profile characteristics (age, gender, educational level and experience) with their work engagement.

Since the dimensions of vigor, dedication and absorption are those that best reflect how employees are connected and engaged to their work (Roof, 2015), and that they have been mostly utilized by previous studies to measure WE (Stoeber & Damian, 2016); hence, they will be used for further researching the relationship between JR, employees' profile characteristics, and employees’ WE.

 

2    Research Methods

After pinpointing the significance of the chosen research variables via discussing relevant previous studies, the field study is intended to complement and further explores the concepts cited in the theoretical demonstration. The objectives of the study are to investigate the current status of WE perceptions and JR in five-star hotels in Egypt, examine the relationship between the JR and profile of employees, and their WE.

 

2.1     Characteristics of the Population and Sample

The current study targeted five-star hotels’ employees in Egypt. They totalled 152 hotels at the time of conducting the study (Egyptian Hotel Guide-33stedition, 2013), among which employees of 76 hotels across different touristic areas in Egypt were chosen to be the sample, representing 50% of the population, according to the stratified random sampling technique. The sample thus represents more than 30% of the total population, as required for the sake of further reasonable, reliable generalization attempts (Gay & Diehl, 1992). Questionnaires were submitted to be randomly distributed to employees in the employees catering cafeteria. Table 1 illustrates the total population and the sample selected for conducting this study.

 

Table 1 Questionnaire distribution on the selected sample among main tourist areas in Egypt

 

Area

No. of Hotels/area

% of the Population

Location

No. of selected hotels/area

% of sample

1

Cairo

33

22 %

Cairo

17

22 %

2

North West Coast

13

9 %

Alexandria (8), Marsa Matrouh (3), Alamein (2)

6

8 %

3

Canal Zone & Sinai

53

35 %

Port Said (1), Arish (1), Dahab (2), Sharm El-Sheikh (41), Taba (8)

27

35.5 %

4

Red Sea

41

26 %

El Gouna (3), Hurgada (24), Safaga (6), Quseir (2), Marsa Alam (3), Ain Sokhna (3)

20

26.5 %

5

Upper Egypt

12

8 %

Luxor (7), Aswan (5)

6

8 %

Total

152

100 %

152

76 (50% of the population)

100 %

Reference: The Researcher with reference to Egyptian Hotel Guide, 33rd ed. 2012/2013.

 

 Moreover, selecting five-star hotels is attributable to that they usually enjoy higher business volumes and operate more operations and sales outlet than lower-grade hotels, in addition to serving more demanding guests. Consequently, these implications impose providing ample JR, and necessitate employees who are well engaged in their jobs, thus helping obtain meaningful results and research implications, and ensure that field study efforts are not in vain.

 

2.2     Scale Development and Data Collection Techniques

The instrument conducted for data collection was the survey questionnaire, with a 5-point Lickert Scale. To assess status quo of employees’ WE, the research's survey questionnaire has basically adapted the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES), derived from Schaufeli et al. (2003), which is the most utilized scale to measure WE (Slatten & Mehmetoglu, 2011), and has been tested in over 10 different countries, using heterogeneous populations, and has been published in many versions. Examples of the studies that adopted the UWES scale are Bakker & Demerouti (2007), Slatten & Mehmetoglu (2011), Rigg (2012), Bedarkar & Pandita (2014), Vera et al. (2016). JR measurement was based on several studies, where Job Control and Autonomy’s measure was derived from Digkas & Baltoglou (2014), Pierce & Dunham (1978a, 1978b), while Rewards’ measure was developed depending on the studies of Davenport & Prusak (1998), Hargadon (1998), Lawler & Hall (1970), Spector (1985). Employees have been finally asked to provide data concerning their gender, age, educational levels, and experience in current hotel and in the hotel industry.

 

2.3     Scale’s Validity and Pilot Study

Before distributing the questionnaires, a pre-test stage was conducted to perform due adjustments and improvements, and uncover any difficulties which respondent may face while answering the questions. The questionnaire was tested for its validity through the help of 25 academics and colleagues at the Hotel Studies Department, Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, Alexandria University; then piloted with 5 employees in a five-star hotel in Alexandria. All pilot study members were not included in the sample to avoid any possible bias.

This pre-test stage’s outcomes have been assuring face and content validity and the clarity of questionnaire, ensuring the extent to which the questionnaire statements represent all facets of WE and JR, bringing about experts’ opinions and emotional responses, known as test concepts, to different components and concepts stated in the questionnaire, improving and rephrasing of some statements to avoid ambiguity and misunderstanding, changing academic expressions to common business terms, deleting or integrating repeated and similar questions, adjusting few double-barrelled and leading questions to ensure complete avoidance of bias, performing slight adjustments to the introduction, discussing and reasoning the technical aspect of statements, determining the time required to fill in the questionnaire, and finally, expecting and being ready for side talks that might arise between the researcher and respondents, if any.

 

2.4     Questionnaire Distribution and Administration

The final questionnaire form was developed and translated into Arabic. Questionnaires have been distributed in February through April 2016, 20 copies for each hotel (five copies for each of the departments of front office, housekeeping, foodservice, and food preparation/kitchen, to guarantee coverage of front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house staff members). Total questionnaires distributed were 1520 (20 copies in 75 hotels). Only 656 copies were returned to the researcher, among which 621 copies were valid for statistical analysis, representing an accepted response rate of 40.8%.

 

2.5     Reliability Analysis

The reliability coefficient, Cronbach’s Alpha, was calculated to investigate the reliability of the data collection instrument; the questionnaire, after being distributed, and before being further analyzed. The Cronbach’s Alpha correlation coefficient for individual variables, and for the whole questionnaire, was safely and sufficiently higher than the cut point of 0.70, which is deemed acceptable by Nunnally & Bernstein (1994), as shown in Table 2.

Table 2 Reliability test of questionnaire items using Cronbach’s coefficient alpha

Scale

Vigor

Dedication

Absorption

WE construct

Autonomy

Rewards

Job Resources

The whole construct

Cronbach’s Alpha

.893

.904

.857

.946

.874

.934

.914

.963

No. of Variables

5

5

5

15

5

5

10

25

No. of Cases

621

621

621

621

621

621

621

621

 

Source: Field Study Results Analysis

 

3    Results and Discussion

This part first demonstrates the respondents' profiles and hotels’ characteristics. The research hypotheses and related variables are then comprehensively analyzed and discussed descriptively and inferentially. Interpretation and discussion of results are provided along with results.

 

3.1     Respondents' Profile Characteristics

Employees’ demographic and job-related data are presented in Table 3. Most respondents were males (80.5%), while female respondents represented only (19.5%). Respondents have been distributed among the three age group categories with the largest proportion within the age group from 20 to 30 years old (55.6 %), followed by those who are in the age group of 30 to 40 years old (29%) and the last age group of more than 40 years old (15.4). The educational level of respondents ranged from Institute/technical or secondary school graduates, representing the highest percentage (53.9%), followed by bachelor-degree holders (41.2 %), while respondents who had less than secondary school education represented (2.7%), and those whose working while studying at faculty (2.2%) had the lowest percentages. Regarding the working experience of the employees, most respondents (58.5%) enjoyed an experience of 1-5 years in their current hotels, followed by those with experience of more than 10 years (16%), those who worked for less than 1 year (14.7%), and lastly those with 6-10 years’ experience (10.8%). Also, most respondents had a work experience in the hotel industry of 1-5 years (45.5%), followed by those with more than 10 years’ experience (28.1%), those with 6-10 years’ experience holders (20.3%), and finally the least percentage of (6.25%) was for respondents with less than 1 year experience. Respondents were almost equally distributed among the four departments, but the highest percentage of them (29%) were working in Food and Beverage preparation (Kitchen). All respondents were entry level workers.

Table 3 Respondents' Profil

Employees’ Personal Data

Gender

No.

%

Age

No.

%

Educational Level

No.

%

Male

508

80.5

From 20:30

351

55.6

Bachelor degree

260

41.2

Female

123

19.5

From 30:40

183

29.0

Undergraduate

14

2.2

 

More than 40

97

15.4

Institute/ technical/ secondary school graduate

340

53.9

 

Less than secondary School

17

2.7

Employee Experience

Experience in Current Hotel

No.

%

Experience in Hotel Industry

No.

%

Less than 1 year

93

14.7

Less than 1 year

39

6.2

From 1:5 years

369

58.5

From 1:5 years

287

45.5

From 6:10 years

68

10.8

From 6:10 years

128

20.3

More than 10 years

101

16.0

More than 10 years

177

28.1

Department

Direct Customer-Contact

No.

%

Indirect Customer-Contact

No.

%

Front Office

150

23.8

Housekeeping

167

26.5

Food and Beverage (Service)

131

20.8

Food and Beverage (Kitchen)

183

29.0

Source: Field Study Results Analysis

 

3.2     Descriptive Analysis of Research Variables

A descriptive analysis of research variables is provided in Table 4, based on the scores reported by employees, where questionnaire statements have been rearranged in descending order per means of scores.

Table 4 Summary of Descriptive Analysis Results of Research Variables

Work Engagement

Level of Repetition

Mean

Never

Rarely

Sometimes

Often

Always

F.

%

F.

%

F.

%

F.

%

F.

%

Vigor

Overall Mean of the Vigor Dimension

3.77

1

At my job, I feel strong and vigorous

13

2.1

62

9.8

135

21.4

205

32.5

216

34.2

3.87

2

When I get up in the morning, I feel like going to work

18

2.9

90

14.3

113

17.9

171

27.1

239

37.9

3.83

3

At my job, I am very resilient, mentally

11

1.7

47

7.4

166

26.3

225

35.7

182

28.8

3.82

4

At my work, I feel bursting with energy

8

1.3

71

11.3

169

26.8

180

28.5

203

32.2

3.79

5

I can continue working productively for extra hours after my shift ends

33

5.2

90

14.3

190

30.1

152

24.1

166

26.3

3.52

Dedication

Overall Mean of the Dedication Dimension

3.95

1

To me, my job is challenging

15

2.4

36

5.7

117

18.5

205

32.5

258

40.9

4.04

2

I find the work that I do full of meaning and purpose

7

1.1

58

9.2

118

18.7

212

33.6

236

37.4

3.97

3

I am proud of the work that I do

9

1.4

33

5.2

145

23.0

227

36.0

217

34.4

3.97

4

I am enthusiastic about my job

12

1.9

59

9.4

130

20.6

213

33.8

217

34.4

3.89

5

My job inspires me

16

2.5

57

9.0

150

23.8

184

29.2

224

35.5

3.86

Absorption

Overall Mean of the Absorption Dimension

3.75

1

I am immersed in my work

9

1.4

48

7.6

131

20.8

204

32.3

239

37.9

3.98

2

Time flies when I'm working

19

3.0

36

5.7

180

28.5

189

30.0

207

32.8

3.84

3

When I am working, I forget everything else around me

12

1.9

57

9.0

162

25.7

224

35.5

176

27.9

3.78

4

I get carried away when I’m working

21

3.3

57

9.0

173

27.4

221

35.0

159

25.2

3.70

5

I feel happy when I am working intensely

38

6.0

83

13.2

205

32.5

165

26.1

140

22.2

3.45

Overall Mean of WE

 

3.82

Job Resources

Level of Employees’ Agreement on Implementation

Mean

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

F.

%

F.

%

F.

%

F.

%

F.

%

Autonomy

Overall Mean of the Autonomy Dimension

3.27

1

I can participate in the decision-making process regarding my work

17

2.7

125

19.8

158

25.0

240

38.0

91

14.4

3.42

2

I have control over the way my work is executed

14

2.2

114

18.1

202

32.0

205

32.5

96

15.2

3.40

3

I’m free to decide my working schedule

53

19.5

123

19.5

165

26.1

168

26.6

122

19.3

3.29

4

This organization gives me the freedom to get the job done rather than insist on following rules and procedures.

37

5.9

134

21.2

214

33.9

145

23.0

101

16.0

3.22

5

If I had a complaining guest, I can offer him/her suitable compensation without approval from my supervisors

109

17.3

120

19.0

153

24.2

163

25.8

86

13.6

3.00

Rewards

Overall Mean of the Reward Dimension

3.26

1

I prefer working in this hotel no matter what I receive as a bonus/ reward

56

8.9

96

15.2

127

20.1

227

36.0

125

19.8

3.43

2

When I do my work well, I receive a bonus/reward

57

9.0

94

14.9

162

25.7

229

36.3

89

14.1

3.32

3

When I do my work well, I receive higher salary / wage or pay raise

52

8.2

117

18.5

157

24.9

223

35.3

82

13.0

3.26

4

My pay is fair for the work I perform

61

9.7

127

20.1

166

26.3

211

33.4

66

10.5

3.15

5

When I do a good job, I receive the financial recognition for it that I should receive

67

10.6

128

20.3

162

25.7

193

30.6

81

12.8

3.15

* F. = Frequency

Source: Field Study Results Analysis

 

Means of scores of WE and its dimensions were noted to be moderate to high (3.82). This result goes in line with Seijts & Crim (2006), who identified that most employees in different areas around the world were moderately engaged. This indicates that employees in the selected sample are moderately to highly engaged in their work roles. Among the three dimensions of WE, dedication was the highest, with overall mean of (3.95). In general, more organizational efforts and endeavors are required to engage employees in their jobs. For example, vigor’s 5th statement showed the lowest score, indicating that although employees feel energetic at the beginning of their shifts, they are prone to losing this energy gradually during the shift, and at the end of their shifts they simply feel exhausted that they are not able to continue working productively for extra hours. Absorption’s 5th statement score confirms this, indicating that employees might not feel happy about being restricted to be totally involved in their daily work routine and that they are, to some degree, mentally detached from the work they perform.

As for the provision of JR, the dimensions of autonomy and rewards showed moderate scores; (3.27) and (3.26) respectively. Job autonomy and control clearly need organizational boost. According to reported scores, employees cannot discretely handle guests’ complaints, mainly affecting guests’ service recovery satisfaction issues, in addition to employees’ decreased control over the approach to perform their tasks and duties, leading to less confident, unsatisfied employee.

Regarding the dimension of rewards, it is a positive indication that employees somehow (3.43) prefer working in their current hotel regardless financial remuneration. This might be attributable to the many crises that the Egyptian tourism sector has faced in recent years, where employees might not find suitable vacant jobs with higher salaries, so it’s better for them to keep working with low rewards rather than to quit. However, according to other statements’ responses, it is still not encouraging for employees not to be rewarded for their efforts.

 

 

3.3     Inferential Analysis of Research Hypotheses

In order to determine the relationships among the study variables, regression analysis was utilized to test the relationship between selected JR and employees’ WE. Inferential analysis results of research variables are provided in Table 5.

Table 5 Summary of the Inferential Analysis of Research Hypotheses

Dependent Variable

Independent Variable

Work Engagement

Vigor

Dedication

Absorption

H1: Job Control and Autonomy

Adjusted R2

.446

.439

.372

.396

Β value

.668

.663

.610

.630

T value

22.541

22.234

19.330

20.349

Sig.

.000

.000

.000

.000

H2: Rewards

Adjusted R2

.369

.367

.310

.321

Β value

.608

.607

.557

.567

T value

19.210

19.151

16.835

17.277

Sig.

.000

.000

.000

.000

Source: Field Study Results Analysis

 

H1: There is a significant and positive correlation between job control and autonomy, and employees’ work engagement.

WE is positively correlated with job control and autonomy. The first hypothesis was supported (Sig. < 0.01, Adjusted R2 = 0.396), indicating that the more job control and autonomy is provided to employees, the more they will be engaged in their jobs.

H2: There is a significant and positive correlation between rewards and employees’ work engagement.

WE is positively correlated with rewards. The second hypothesis was supported (Sig. < 0.01, Adjusted R2 = 0.321), indicating that the more rewards are provided to employees for their performance, the more they will be engaged in their jobs.

These findings are consistent with several previous studies that identified that job control and autonomy and rewards, among other JR, lead to higher WE (Demerouti et al., 2001; Salanova et al., 2005; Schaufeli et al., 2003; Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004; Bakker & Demerouti, 2007; Bakker et al., 2007). Additionally, prior studies revealed that WE is increased if employees feel that they have control over their jobs, and receive rewards and recognition for their outstanding performance (Maslach et al., 2001; Schaufeli & Bakker, 2004).

More specifically, regarding the positive significant correlation between job control and autonomy and WE, current research results are congruent with previous research (Gagné & Deci, 2005; Marinova et al., 2008; Stone et al., 2009) who stated that with higher perceived autonomy, employees feel a greater sense of motivation, more WE, greater empowerment and competence. In other words, when hotel employees are given the appropriate authority to control their own work tasks and deal with work negative situations such as offering suitable compensation for complaining guests, this makes them feel responsible for their work performance, as well as being accountable for the job they do. Therefore, they tend to act like representatives of the hotel organization they work for, increasing in turn their devotion and passion for work and making them more engaged with their work.

Moreover, the idea that the hotel organization’s reward system is a significant job resource that has a positive effect on employees’ WE has been addressed by many researchers such as (Maslach et al. 2001; Matiaske & Weller, 2007), who suggested that employees reach higher levels of WE in a well-designed compensation system with appropriate recognition and rewards, while a lack of rewards and recognition may lead to burnout, the opposite of WE. They also stated that rewards are energizing, enhances employee performance, makes employees more engaged and encourages employees to stay in the organization.

However, according to results, employees are considering rewards and recognition as a less- influential motivator for their WE. This might be due to that employees are more concerned with gaining more expertise and being promoted, which eventually raises their salaries and provides them with more benefits and job security; or else they might prefer to work in that organization regardless of financial recognition as they are satisfied with other JR provided by that organization. In addition, it was noted during the field study, which was conducted during the time of recession after the crisis of the Russian airplane crash that the employees’ salaries and bonuses were at its lowest level in almost all sample hotels. Therefore, those employees might have not considered rewards as their primary work motivator because they believed this would be a temporary procedure, and were more concerned with other motivating JR.

 

3.4     Contingency Analysis of Research Hypotheses

In order to determine the relationships among contingency variables and WE, ANOVA and means of scores were utilized to test the relationship between selected employees' profile characteristics and employees’ WE. Contingency analysis results of research variables are provided in Table 6.

Table 6 Summary of the Contingency Analysis of Research Hypotheses

Contingency Variables

Mean of WE

F Value

Sig.

Age

 

11.950

.000

From 20 to 30

3.737

 

 

From 30 to 40

3.784

 

 

More than 40

4.190

 

 

Gender

 

4.242

.040

Male

3.787

 

 

Female

3.958

 

 

Education

 

10.693

.000

Bachelor Degree

4.024

 

 

Undergraduate

3.766

 

 

Institute/ Technical School Graduate

3.694

 

 

Less than High School

3.282

 

 

Experience in current hotel

 

5.850

.001

Less than 1 year

3.832

 

 

From 1 to 5 years

3.728

 

 

From 6 to 10 years

3.879

 

 

More than 10 years

4.109

 

 

Experience in the hotel industry

 

2.956

.032

Less than 1 year

3.463

 

 

From 1 to 5 years

3.809

 

 

From 6 to 10 years

3.859

 

 

More than 10 years

3.889

 

 

Source: Field Study Results Analysis

 

H.3 There is a significant correlation between employees' profile characteristics (age, gender, educational level and experience) with their work engagement.

WE is significantly correlated with selected employees' profile characteristics (age, gender, educational level and experience). The third hypothesis was supported.

Results revealed that there is a significant positive correlation between the employees’ age and their WE (F = 11.950, P < .01). Employees over 40 years old were more engaged than younger employees, with the highest mean score of WE (M = 4.190). This result conforms to the findings of previous studies (Pitt-Catsouphes & Matz-Costa, 2008; Simpson, 2009). It is suggested that aged employees who have been with a hotel organization for numerous years are more likely to be engaged, since they are mostly more committed, loyal, and familiar to their organization and related work procedures. Also, they feel more secured and satisfied with their achievements and are seeking for more job stability, and are not willing to quit their current jobs. Whilst, employees in the middle age group may be lacking challenge, and become separated from their expectations, that otherwise might not be met.

Also, gender was found to have a significant correlation with employees’ WE (F = 4.242, P < .05), where female employees have slightly higher WE (M = 3.958) than males (M = 3.787). The reason behind this might be due to that female employees are more dedicated to their jobs as they are looking forward to achieving higher positions and would like to prove themselves as efficient and productive, just like male employees. It is also rationalized that they are more concerned with securing higher standards of living to be more independent, rather than relying financially on their husbands or families. Likewise, female employees are now having almost the same social responsibility of spending on their living, so their jobs become more crucial for them and thus they are exerting all their efforts to stay and excel in their jobs. This result goes in line with previous research of (Johnson, 2004) who pointed out that according to the research of Gallup, women tend to find more fulfilments in their jobs and are more engaged in their work than men are.

In addition, a positive significant correlation is found between the level of education and employees’ WE (F = 10.693, P < .01), where employees holding a bachelor degree were the most engaged (M = 4.024), while the least engaged employees were those who had less than high school education (M = 3.282). This proves that higher levels of education increase employees’ WE. Employees with higher levels of education are more engaged in their work because they probably feel that they are achieving their goals in life, as they completed their education and then entered the work, hence they would exert all their efforts to prove they are capable to succeed in their working career. They might also have their own goals to get promoted, and therefore have passion for work. Whereas the less educated employees might feel unfairness and tiredness as they worked before finishing their education. They might also be aware that their promotion opportunities are very limited, hence they lose enthusiasm and feel frustrated that they work only to earn their living or because this is the only work opportunity available for them.

Moreover, years of experience of employees was found to have a positive significant correlation with work engagement, where (F = 5.850, P < .01) for experience in current hotel, and (F = 2.956, P < .05) for experience years within the hotel industry. The most engaged employees where those who enjoyed an experience of more than ten years in current hotel (M = 4.109) as well as the those who spent more than ten years working in the hotel industry recording a work engagement mean score of (M = 3.889). This states that the more experience with current hotel or hotel industry, the more engaged the employee will be.

This result is congruent with and confirms the previously stated age results, which indicated that the older, and consequently more experienced employees were more engaged than younger employees. In other words, the older employees who have a long work experience with the hotel facility will be more engaged than younger, less experienced employee. It could be clearly assumed that the more time an employee spends working in a hotel organization or even in the hotel industry, the more engaged he would be. Those experienced employees are more familiar with their job tasks and have good relations with their colleagues and supervisors than new, less-experienced employees. Hence, such experienced employees have more passion and attachment to their jobs, and are more committed to their organizations.

4    Conclusion and recommendations

The importance of WE to organizational effectiveness have been amply confirmed, in addition to the essential role of providing proper and sufficient JR for employees, and their significant, positive correlation to employees’ WE. In particular, Job control and autonomy, and rewards were found to correlate directly to WE, in addition to the significant correlation of employees’ profile characteristics, specifically age, gender, educational level and experience, to their WE. The results of this study have significant implications for preventing such negative behaviors of employees’ disengagement in the Egyptian hospitality sector. These implications can be introduced to the academe, hospitality managers, and to further researching efforts.

First, as for implications for the academe; this study contributes to the research pool of human resources management by conferring attention to the importance of investigating the positive impacts of certain job resources on employees’ WE. Human-resources based curricula should be broadened to address more seriously such current trends most beneficial to the hospitality industry.

Moreover, this study provides significant implications for hospitality managers. Being knowledgeable of employees’ needs as well as the various effects of different JR implemented in hotel organizations, will help managers and practitioners to develop and create the environment and culture that fosters employees’ WE in addition to business success. Engaged employees are more energetic and inspired by their work, to the point that they are happily engrossed in their job tasks. Those employees therefore will help hospitality firms gain much more benefits and secure its success in the highly competitive work environment.

Therefore, it is very important that hotel managers set a strategy to periodically measure employees WE, and carefully analyze and discuss the results, to find out and provide employees’ mostly desired and motivating JR that make them more engaged in their work. Such periodical measurement is crucial to uncover cases of decreased WE, relevant organizational symptoms, reasons, due improvements and actions.

More specifically, managers and supervisors should work on increasing their employees’ job control and autonomy, through allowing and even encouraging them to participate in decisions that are relevant to them, to exert control over the way their work is executed and scheduled, and, most essential, empowering them to resolve and handle situations involving service failures and guest complaints without the hierarchical need to get approval from supervisors or managers. Moreover, rewards and other forms of financial recognition should be carefully designed and directed to be fair and correlated to employees’ performance.

Furthermore, concerning employees’ profile characteristics, hotel managers should offer the less engaged employees with growth and advancement opportunities, training, and other benefits that would help to decrease unmet expectations and disengagement for them. Likewise, managers can provide older workers with performance incentive and opportunity to utilize their knowledge and expertise in the hotel facility and invest their increased WE.

Still more implications are directed to further research. The present study has surveyed JR’s correlation to WE only in five-star hotels in all five main touristic areas in Egypt. Further researches can enlarge the sample size to survey other hotel categories like three- or four-star hotels in Egypt. The current study also focused on reviewing the perceptions of only the employees of four hotel departments, so it would be a good chance for other researches to investigate other department employees’ perceptions that might or might not be engaged in their work for example, accounting, recreation, sales and marketing, maintenance and others.

In addition, the study was directed to the hotel sector only; further researches can be done in other sectors in hospitality industry such as; restaurants, cruise ships, and hospitals. In addition, further research can use other variables rather than job resources to deepen the understanding of the most effective factors that have a positive effect on employees’ WE, such as personal resources. Another suggestion would be using WE as a mediator between JR availability and customer satisfaction or any other important organizational variables.

 

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