Abstract: Employee Engagement and Its Benefits to the Personal Well-Being of Human Service Workers: An Examination of Job Burnout's Antipode (Society for Social Work and Research 22nd Annual Conference - Achieving Equal Opportunity, Equity, and Justice)

Employee Engagement and Its Benefits to the Personal Well-Being of Human Service Workers: An Examination of Job Burnout's Antipode

Thursday, January 11, 2018: 3:15 PM
Supreme Court (ML 4) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Erica Lizano, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, California State University, San Bernardino, San Bernardino, CA
Background/Purpose: Research on the detrimental effects of job burnout on the well-being of human service workers is abundant and has grown exponentially since the term burnout was coined in the 1970s. What has received much less attention, is employee engagement, considered by some as the “antipode” of burnout (Bakker, Schaufeli, Leiter, & Taris, 2008). Engagement in the workplace consists of vigor, dedication, and absorption as it relates to one’s work (Bakker, & Leiter, 2010) and has been found to positively impact employee well-being (Hakanen, & Schaufeli, 2012). As the field of social work continues to preoccupy itself with promoting the well-being of its workers, it will become increasingly important to explore potential ways to bolster worker well-being. This study examines the relationship between worker engagement, life satisfaction, and overall health.

Methods: Data for this study was drawn from a sample of social workers and human service workers using a self-administered survey. The study participants were recruited at a social work field instructor training in the Summer of 2016. Two hundred participants were recruited and 133 participated in the cross-sectional study, yielding a response rate of 66%. The study survey contained several Likert-scale items measuring various workforce dimensions including engagement and various worker well-being outcomes. Hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to examine the relationship between worker engagement, life satisfaction, overall health.

Results: Demographic characteristic variables, tenure, and workload were used as control variables in the regression models. The control variables and engagement were regressed on life satisfaction and overall health. The analysis yielded an overall variance explained of 18% and 15% in the regression models for life satisfaction and overall health, respectively. Employee engagement had a positive and significant relationship with both life satisfaction (β= .41, t= 4.39, p= .01), and overall health (β= .27, t= 2.87, p= .01). No control variables were found to be significant in either model with the exception of workload in the overall health (β= .27, t= 2.87, p= .01) regression model.

Implications: Study findings suggest that worker engagement can positively impact the well-being of employees beyond the work context. Future studies can further this line of research by examining predictors of worker engagement to help inform potential workplace interventions aimed at increasing employee engagement.