Exploring Key Drivers of Employee Engagement from an HR Perspective in the Industrial Sector of Sohar, Oman

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Today employee engagement is an issue of significance to organisations as it has been linked to organisational success and advancement. Many studies have been conducted to investigate the concept and drivers of employee engagement (Al Maktoum 2015; Simha & Vardhan 2015). Lots of organisations have begun different initiatives to build an engaging work environment. However, organisations, and HR in particular, do not exactly know what builds and leads to engagement in their particular context. The issue of employee engagement and its drivers are under-researched in the Omani context and in the wider context of the Middle East. Thus, in a non-Western context, this study examined the HR perspective on the meaning, importance, drivers and enhancement of employee engagement in the industrial sector of Sohar, Oman. For this purpose, recent literature relevant to drivers of employee engagement and other related issues was reviewed. An explorative case study method was implemented to investigate employee engagement. By using a mixed method approach, the perceptions of ten HR managers from industrial companies in Sohar were examined about the concept and importance of employee engagement, and the key drivers leading to it. The study also investigated the challenges and factors associated with engaging employees and the possible ways to overcome these challenges to enhance the level of engagement among employees in this vital sector in Oman. The study revealed that employee engagement can contribute to the development of the private sector and the process of economy diversification in Oman. Overall, the study showed that organisational leadership, training and career development, effective communication, rewards and recognition, teamwork, work-life balance, and job security are the most important drivers to lead engagement in this context. There are certain socio-cultural factors which may have impact on the execution of engagement plans, however, a further study is needed to deeply examine this issue. Several recommendations are suggested at the end of the study to ensure a better engagement. The study should draw the attention of HR personnel and policy-makers in Oman to seriously consider supporting and fostering employee engagement in order to develop and prosper the private sector in the country.
employee engagement, organisational success, work environment, Oman, HR perspective, HR managers, organisational leadership