Why People Stay; ExaminingEmployee Engagementto Predict Retention in the UAE Telecommunication Industry

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  1. Executive Summary. 3
  2. Introduction. 4

2.1…… Background ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………4

2.2…… Problem Statement………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..5

2.3…… Aims and Objectives……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….5

  1. Literature Review.. 6

3.1…… Employee Engagement: Theoretical Foundation and Measurement………………………………………………6

3.2…… The Retention Construct………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..8

3.2.1          Retention effect: Burnout. 8

3.2.2          Retention effect: Turnover Intent. 9

3.3…… Employee Engagement and Retention……………………………………………………………………………………………9

  1. The Conceptual Framework and Hypotheses Development. 10
  2. Methodology. 12

5.1…… Study Sample………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..12

5.2…… Measures……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..12

5.2.1          Demographic Variables. 12

5.2.2          Independent Variable. 13

5.2.3          Dependent Variable. 13

5.3…… Method of Analysis……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….13

  1. Data Analysis and Findings. 14

6.1…… Descriptive Statistics……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………14

6.2…… Inferential Statistics…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….15

6.2.1          Reliability Analysis. 15

6.2.2          Correlation Test on Hypotheses. 15

6.2.3          Correlation Test on Demographic Variables. 16

6.2.4          Multiple Regression Tests. 17

6.2.5          Findings Validation. 19

  1. Discussion and Conclusions. 19
  2. Study Limitations. 21


  1. Recommendations. 22

9.1…… Recommendations for practitioners in the UAE telecommunication sector..………………………………..22

9.2…… Recommendations for future research..……………………………………………………………………………………….23

  1. References. 25

Appendix 1 – Questionnaire. 30

Appendix 2 – Correlation Test. 34

Appendix 3 – Multiple Regression Tests. 35



1.     Executive Summary


Employee engagement has become a hot topic in recent years as it is believed to be a good predictor of individual as well as business outcomes. It is widely recognised that a relationship does exist between employee engagement and effective retention of the employees. This paper aims to explore this link between employee engagement and employee retention in the context ofUAE telecommunication industry.


This study first establishes the theoretical understanding of the employee engagement and retention constructs based on detailed literature review. Then an empirical study is carried out using a structured online questionnaire which was developed and administered to collect study data from different management and operational levels of the two main telecommunication organisations in the UAE. The data was analysed using various tests drawn from the PASW program, for example, Descriptive analysis, Reliability test, Correlations and Multiple Regressions.


Findings confirmed that a significant statistical relationship does exist between employee engagement and retention of the employees within the UAE telecommunication sector. Tests were performed on the global variables as well as at the factor level. The performed statistical analysis results supported all the seven proposed hypotheses. Significant relationships were found between employee engagement and retention, employee engagement and turnover, employee engagement and burnout, growth opportunities and turnover intent, teamwork and burnout, fulfilment of basic needs and turnover intent and finally betweenindividual contribution and retention. Moreover, some relationships were also existent between the demographic variables and the independent variable employee engagement and its factors.


The implications of thefindings for both practitioners and researchers are discussed in the paper with someguidelines for future research in this field.


2.     Introduction

“The challenge today is not just retaining talented people, but fully engaging them,capturing their minds and hearts at each stage of their work lives”

(Lockwood 2007, p. 1).

2.1       Background


In the recent years, the concept of “employee engagement” has gained enormous popularity in the academic literature as well as at the workplace. It is now accepted to be an important phenomenon as many studies have found a direct link between the engagement levels, employee outcomes and organisational success (Baumruk 2004, Harter et al 2002, Richman, 2006).Having engaged employees is such a characteristic of an organisation which is impossible to emulate. Therefore such employees act as strategic asset that provide an organisation with sustained competitive advantage to other organisations (Bhatnagar 2007). Looking at the importance of engagement, it is a common trend now to measure the engagement of an organisation’s employees and it is alarming to note that the disengagement percentage is much more than the expected levels. Gallup organisation survey results show that 20% of all U.S. workers are “actively disengaged” resulting in loss of productivity of billions of dollars every year. (Fleming et al 2005). Therefore, it is suggested that employee engagement is a crucial area effecting employee and business outcomes which should be measured and analysed by the senior management of every organisation.


Another important area to consider is retention. “Keeping critical employees motivated and dedicated is one of the most important demands on management today. Sometimes it’s not who you hire that counts; it’s who you keep” (Cutler 2001, p 59). It is established that turnover is always very costly in terms of exit costs, replacement costs, loss of future talent and work disruption(Hellman 2007).


Therefore, both the concepts of employee engagement and retention play a very important role in the survival and success of an organisation. Especially in the current times of crises, Jamrog (2004) suggests that focus should be on building a culture of both retention and engagement in the workplace. This is further substantiated by Lockwood (2007) who states that the best strategies to weather the crisis are those thatdeal with retention, job satisfaction, engagement, turnover intent, and compensationfairness.


2.2       Problem Statement


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a developing country with a mixed workforce. Like all other sectors, the telecommunication industry also employs people of different nationalities. This interesting mix of people from various backgrounds leads to many management challenges. The recent economic crises have made this situation even more complicated and this has also affected the UAE telecommunication sector. Since last two years a freeze is placed on yearly increments of employees and new recruitments in this sector. These conditions have induced stress because employees are required to do more work without any increase in benefits. In addition to this there is constant pressure to keep up with the technology. Recent outsourcing of few services has also generated feeling of insecurity as outsourcing is perceived as a prelude to downsizing. In this scenario, the organisations in this sector are faced with a challenge of keeping high employee engagement level at increased individual workloads without the aid of economic incentives.


With the above identified problem, the study was conducted to measure the employee engagement levels to predict retention in the UAE telecommunication sector. This would help in determining the necessary measures that need to be taken to ensure that employees not only stay with the organisation but also perform at their full potential.


2.3       Aims and Objectives


The aim of this research paper is to determine the influence of employee engagement on employees’ retention in the telecommunication industry of U.A.E.


The objectives of this research paper are as follows:


  1. Develop conceptual understanding of employee engagement and retention constructs and to explore the linkages between the two constructs.
  2. Collect and analyse data from UAE telecommunication sector on employee engagement and retention to verify the links between them.
  3. Conclude on the basis of the findings and provide recommendations for practitioners and researchers for the above situation.


3.     Literature Review

3.1       Employee Engagement: Theoretical Foundation and Measurement

Engagement at workwas conceptualisedby Kahn (1990, p694)as “the harnessing of organisation members’ selvesto their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically,cognitively, and emotionally during role performances.”


In the literature we see manyconstructs similar to employee engagement, such as job involvement (Lawler and Hall 1970), Flow (Csikszentmihalyi 1982 as cited in Kahn 1990 and May et al 2004) and Organisational Commitment (Mowday et al 1979). Job involvement is more to do with the importance given to the job by a person based on the cognitive judgement of the individual about the potential of the job to satisfy his needs. (May et al 2004). Whereas flow is defined by Csikszentmihalyi (1982 as cited in Kahn 1990 and May et al 2004) as a state when people get so involved in their work that they cannot identify between self and their environment. Organisational commitment on the other hand is about believing in the organisations goals, willingness to exerteffort to achieve these goals and having a desire to remain in the organisation(Mowday et al 1979).


The detailed study of the literature clearly indicates that engagement is a more holistic approach compared to all other concepts discussed above. Engagementis both emotional and intellectual connection of an employee with his work or organisation due to which the individual applies unrestricted additional effort on his own accord for the benefit of the organisation (Richman et al 2008).This is such a connection that makes the employees feel positive emotions toward their work, find their work to be personally meaningful, manageable, and have far reaching results(Attridge 2009).


This term of Employee engagement is also preferred by researchers in comparison to the other traditional constructs because it is shown to have a statistical relationship with productivity, profitability,employee retention, safety, and customer satisfaction which is not easily established by the traditional constructs (Little and Little 2006).


Gallup has designed an empirically validated instrument Gallup Workplace Audit (GWA) to measure the conceptualization of employee engagement. Buckingham and Coffman,(1999 cited in Luthans and Peterson 2002) have found a conceptual fit between Gallup’s GWA instrument and Kahn’s definition of engagement at work. This instrument has been tested and validated through many other studiesalso (Bhatnagar 2007, Harter et al 2002, Luthans and Peterson 2002).The 12 employee engagement items derived from the GWA are generally grouped into four “camps” or factors as suggested by Gallup. These are Growth, Teamwork, Individual Contribution and Basic Needs. Figure 1 below shows these factors along with the 12 items which are grouped under thesefactors

Basic Needs
Individual Contribution

Figure 1: Employee Engagement Hierarchy(du-Gallup Best Practice Study, p 2)

This study has utilised the GWA and its division into these four factorsto determine the employee engagement levels and its impact on the retention factors in the UAE telecommunication industry.


3.2       The Retention Construct


Companies with better organisation culture have better retention rates (Sheridan 1992). In the times of crisis when the organisations have to downsize or to withhold economic benefits, there is definitely a negative impact on employees in terms of job dissatisfaction, skills deficit etc. (Jamrog 2004).According to Mone (1994) the most dysfunctional consequences of downsizing is that people that the organisation wants to retain also come under stress and feel job insecurity and hencedevelop turnover intent.


Mak and Sockel (2001) argue that retention manifests in three ways. The employee develops an intention to quit, the employee develops an enhanced commitment to the organisation or the employee experiences burn-out where the employee is unable to contribute effectively to the organisation. Further study of the literature does reiterate the retention effects of intention to quit and burn-out (Muhammed 1990, Barak et al, Bhanugopan and Fish 2006). Whereas, commitment is considered in the literature as a separate multidimensional construct (Benkhoff, 1997b, Mowday et al 1979, Suliman and Iles 2000).


This study therefore focuses on retention construct comprising two factors of turnover intent and burn-out in such a way that higher the value that we get in this study for the turnover intent, burnout or their aggregate, the lower the actual probability of successfully retaining the employees.


3.2.1    Retention effect: Burnout


Burnout is an indicator to determine the level of employee contribution i.e. the higher the burnout the lower is employee contribution. Burnout is such a situation where the employee is no longer engaged or committed with the work or organisation and only goes through the routine motions of work mechanicsat the job (Mak and Sockel 2001). Burnout is also taken as the opposite or negative antithesis ofengagement (Maslach et al 2001). Mohammed (1990) states that while experiencing burnout the employee might not be really thinking of leaving but under such a situation the retention is ineffective because the organisation is not able to get proper benefit from the employee.


3.2.2    Retention effect: Turnover Intent


According to Tett and Meyer(1993, p. 262) turnover intent is “a consciousand deliberate wilfulness to leave theorganisation”.Carmeli and Grefen (2004) further explain this concept by referring to it as only the thought of quitting the current job and not to interpret it as actually quitting the organisation. Therefore, in our study this concept refers that the employees showing high degree of turnover intention are in a state of mind where they believe themselves to be leaving the organisation in near future. This leads to the conclusion that lower employee turnover intent indicates better employee retention.


3.3       Employee Engagement and Retention


Organisation’s people or human capital is such an asset which is crucial to boost organisation’s competitive advantage. The human capital cannot be bought instead this asset needs to be developed, measured and then retained (Kaliprsad, 2006). The growing competition in the market and declining availability of talented employees has made retention one of the crucial issues for the organisations (Bhatnagar 2007).Kennedy and Daim (2010) argue that hiring the right employee is not sufficient, the main issue is to keep the employee engaged and then to retain the employee. Both the terms employee engagement and retention are interconnected. A clear agreement is found in the literature that the key to successfully retain the employees is to keep the employees engaged. (Bhatnagar 2007, Glen 2006, Parsley 2006,Woodruffe 2005, Richman et al 2008).


4.     The Conceptual Framework and Hypotheses Development


Looking at the literature it is expected that a significant relationship does exist between employee engagement and retention as shown in the schematic diagram below. This paper will report on this relationship in the context of UAE telecommunication sector.


Independent VariableEmployee Engagement








Dependent VariableRetention





Individual Contribution
Basic Needs
Turnover Intent

Figure 2:   Schematic Diagram of Conceptual Framework


This research has seven hypotheses. These hypotheses deal with the relationshipsbetween employee engagement variable along with its factors on one hand and retentionvariable and its two factors burnout and turnover intent on the other.


The research surrounding employee engagement has shown that the more the level of engagement the more there is a chance that the employees will remain with the organisation while being more productive. On the basis of the nature of the constructs in this study, it is anticipated that employee engagement and its factors will show negative correlation with turnover intent and burnout. It is important to note that the nature of retention variable is such that it is understood that the lower the aggregate value of turnover intent and burnout, the higher the probability of successful retention. Therefore it is anticipated that employee engagement variable will also show a negative correlation with the aggregate of turnover intent and burnout.

Accordingly, the seven research hypotheses are stated as follows:


Hypothesis 1 à

H0 – There isno statistically significant relationship between employee engagement and retention of the employees.

HA – There is a statisticallysignificant relationship between the employee engagement and retention of the employees


Hypothesis 2 à

H0 – There is no statistically significant relationship between employee engagement and turnover intent

HA – There is a statistically significant relationship between employee engagement and turnover intent


Hypothesis 3 à

H0 – There is no statistically significant influence of employee engagement on burnout.

HA – There is a statistically significant influence of employee engagement on burnout.


Hypothesis 4 à

H0 – There is no statistically significant relationship between employee’s perceptions of growth andturnover intent.

HA – There is a statistically significant relations.hip between employee’s perceptions of growth and turnover intent


Hypothesis 5 à

H0 – There is no statistically significant relationship between employee’s feeling of teamwork and burnout.

HA – There is astatistically significant relationship between employee’s feeling of teamwork and burnout.

Hypothesis 6 à

H0 – There is no statistically significant relationship between employee’s fulfilment of basic needs and turnover intent.

HA – There is a statistically significant relationship between employee’s fulfilment of basic needs and turnover intent.


Hypothesis 7 à

H0 – There is no statistically significant relationship between employee’s individual contribution and retention.

HA – There is a statistically significant relationship between employee’s individual contribution and retention.


5.     Methodology

5.1  Study Sample


A structured questionnaire (see Appendix 1) was employed. The two main telecommunication companies registered in UAE were requested to co-operate in this study. The survey was forwarded to 150 randomly selected employees working at three managerial levels and also the operational level of both companies. A total of 85 employees responded to the questionnaire. Data collection was achieved over a period of 14 days. There were three measures in the questionnaire as explained below.


5.2  Measures

5.2.1    Demographic Variables


Gender, marital status, education, age, organisational tenure, job tenure, job level, and nationality were calculated by using eight scales. These ranged between two points; gender, and six points; education.

5.2.2    Independent Variable


The independent variable in this study is employee engagement. To measure employee engagement, this study utilised the instrument called Gallup Workplace Audit (GWA). The GWA is a diagnostic tool developed by Gallup after hundreds of focus groups and thousands of interviews with employees in various industries. After a long research Gallup came up with this twelve question survey (the Gallup Q 12) which aims to identify the strong feelings of employee engagement. The 12 items of the survey are grouped under 4 factors of basic needs, individual contributions, teamwork and growth. Responses to items were on a five-point scale ranging from 1 strongly agree to 5 strongly disagree.


5.2.3    Dependent Variable


The dependent variable in this study is retention. From the literature review, two factors of retention were identified: Burnout and Turnover Intent. To measure Burnout the researcher adopted the Maslach Burnout Inventory consisting of 22 items. For this study 12 items were selected out of these 22, which were considered more appropriate for the telecommunication sector of UAE. Turnover intent was measured using Carmeli and Gefen (2005) scales with some adaptation. This measure was also used by other researchers (e.g., Cohen 1993, Suliman and Junaibi 2010). Responses to items for dependent variable were on a five-point scale ranging from 1 strongly agree to 5 strongly disagree. The retention variable is defined here in such a way that lesser the aggregate value of turnover intent and burnout (overall retention), morethe probability of successful employee retention. Therefore, the values in the tests are interpreted accordingly.


5.3  Method of Analysis


In order to test the hypotheses, the PASW version 18.0 was used to analyse the data. Four main tests were performed for this study. The first test was done for the descriptive statistics to understand the distribution of the study sample in terms of demographics. Then the reliability test was done to test the reliability of the main constructs. The third test was the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficientwhich was selected because the dependent and independent variables’ data was on interval scale. The findings were further confirmed by doing the multiple regression tests. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients and the multiple regression tests were calculated based on the factors and not on the items since this study is looking at relationships between different factors rather than items.


6.     Data Analysis and Findings


6.1  Descriptive Statistics


Table 1 below presents the distribution of study sample according to the demographics and career factors. With reference to Table 1, it is apparent that the majority of participants were male, unmarried, educated with at-least a gradate degree, aged between 25-35 years and had between 2-7years of organisational tenure and job tenure. The majority of the employees were from middle level management and were non-UAE nationals.

Table 1- Description of the study sample

6.2  Inferential Statistics

6.2.1    Reliability Analysis


A reliability analysis using the Cronbach’s alpha was performed to determine consistency among respondents.

Table 2- Reliability Statistics


With reference to Table 2, the Cronbach’s Alpha value for the entire scale was 0.933 (0.877 for the Employee Engagement and 0.859 for Retention). On the basis of these results the scale is considered as reliable becausethe reliability values are better than the 0.6 level of minimum acceptability.

6.2.2    Correlation Test on Hypotheses


Pearson correlation coefficients test was used in order to examine the seven hypotheses presented in section 4.2. An overall summary matrix of correlation tests is given in Table 3, below.

Note: ** significant at 0.001

1 : Represents H1                                               4 : Represents H4                               7 : Represents H7

2: Represents H2                                                                5 : Represents H5

3 : Represents H3                                               6 : Represents H6


Table 3- Relationships between Hypothesised Independent and Dependent Variables

The test indicated that a number of factors within each global variable have very high correlation, as given in Table 3. Findings from Table 3 can be summated as follows:


  1. The correlation test for the two global factors, employee engagement and retention, resulted with high significant relationship between the two. Due to the nature of the global retention variable in this study, the inverse relationship observed in this test shows a high positive relationship between employee engagement and successful employee retention.


  1. Retention has highest correlation with individual contribution, after employee engagement.


  1. Teamwork and growth also have very high correlation with overall retention.


  1. Tests also indicate that turnover intention has highest correlation withemployee engagement, followed by individual contribution and teamwork.


  1. Lastly burnout has highest correlation with employee engagement, followed by individual contribution.


  1. The correlations representing our hypothesis given in section 4.2 are covered by cells marked with footnotes above. Based on these correlations (presented in Table 3 above)null hypothesis of H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6 and H7 are rejected.


6.2.3    Correlation Test on Demographic Variables


Pearson correlation coefficients test were also used in order to examine the impact of demographic variables on Engagement and Turnover. An overall summary matrix of correlation tests is given in Table 4, below.


Table 4- Relationships between Demographic Variables and Retention & Engagement


Table 4 highlight some important findings about demographic variables, which can be summarized as follows:


  1. None of the demographic variables has any significant correlation with the dependent variables i.e. Retention and its sub-factors
  2. Marital status has some correlation with Growth opportunities.
  3. Age seems to have an impact on Individual contribution, Growth, and overall engagement.
  4. Gender, Current organisational tenure, and Job status has no correlation with any engagement factor.
  5. Total work experience also has a correlation with engagement.
  6. Nationality has significant relationship with most of engagement factors.


6.2.4    Multiple Regression Tests


To further explore the collected data and validate earlier inferences, multiple regression tests were performed. Results of regression are presented in Table 5.

Table 5- Multiple Regression Tests


Some key findings from this table are as follows:


  1. Overall Engagement explained 46% of the variance in Turnover Intention with a very significant relationship explained by F values.
  2. Overall Engagement also explained 41.3% variance in Overall Retention with significant relationship (F=59.988, p<0.001].
  3. Individual Contribution explained 39.9% variation in Overall Retention with high F value of 56.735.
  4. Overall Engagement explained 28.2% of Burnout variance indicating that Burnout is impacted by other factors as well in addition to global Engagement factor only.
  5. Perception to growth also explained 24.8% variance in Turnover Intention, indicating other factors may be contributing to Turnover Intention.
  6. All other relationships, though are significant, explain less than 20% variance in the dependent variables.


6.2.5    Findings Validation

The findings from section 6.2.2 and 6.2.4 can be further validated by cross tabulating it against each other as shown in Table 6 below. Table 6 shows the F values ranked in descending order along with correlation values from section 6.2.2. Thus, the multiple regression analysis supported the results of the correlation tests (See Appendix 3 for more details).


Table 6– Combined results for correlation test and multiple regression tests


It is clear from table 6 above that relationships with highest F values, and hence strongest relationships, also have correlations in the same order and rank.


7.     Discussion and Conclusions


In this study we have investigated the relationship between employee engagement and retention of employees for organisations in UAE telecommunication sector.


The results of the correlation test and multiple regression test show that retention of employees in the UAE telecommunication sector is greatly impacted by the engagement levels of employees. Higher the engagement, greater is the likelihood that highly engaged employees will be retained by the telecommunication organisations while getting the maximum contribution from these employees. This also means that “Disengaged” or “Neutrally Engaged” employees will have no serious motive to stay along with an organisation. This finding supports the existing literature in this area. Kahn (1992) who initially conceptualised employee engagement proposed that engagement not only leads to both individual outcomes (i.e. quality of people’s work and their own experiences of doing that work), but also contributes toorganisational-level outcomes (i.e. the growth and productivity of organisations). Rothbard (2001, p. 656) defines engagement as comprising of two critical components: attention and absorption. Attention refers to “cognitive availability and the amount of time one spends thinking about a role” while absorption “means being engrossed in a role and refers to the intensity of one’s focus on a role.” Our results confirm that when an individual is attentive and absorbed in the role that he is doing for an organisation he or she is likely to stay with the organisation while highly contribution towards his or her role. Such employees will act as the assets which will translate as the competitive advantage for the organisation.


Tests also indicate that turnover intent has highest negative correlation with overall engagement, followed by individual contribution and teamwork. The same result regarding turnover intent was found by Schaufeli and Bakker (2004) who found that engagement was negatively related to turnover intent.


One of the important findings was the significant relationship between retention and the individual contribution level of employees. That means that if an employee has an environment in which he can make an individual contribution, it would motivate such an employee to stick to his job and would not be eager to switch his job or at-least actively look for another job. It is interesting to note that although opportunities to grow do have an impact on employee retention, but the effect of individual contribution and teamwork has relatively greater influence on employee retention as compared to growth opportunities.


Considering the current economic conditions in the sector, it is very difficult to provide opportunity to grow or to give a monetary benefit. Under these circumstances, this finding provides valuable insight to senior managers in this sector. This effectively means that in the absence of monetary benefits, a good way to keep the employees engaged is to enhance the opportunities for individual contribution and to focus on better teamwork environment.


Social support or teamwork is one of the conditions in the Maslach et al (2001) model which studies burnout. According to Schaufeli and Bakker (2004) greater teamwork and support from colleagues will predict engagement. A similar result is observed in this study, however it is seen that individual contribution plays even a higher role in reducing burnout than teamwork.This finding suggests that organisations can significantly reduce burnout by giving feeling of some accomplishment to employees. This study also shows thatgrowth opportunities also have a slightly higher contribution towards reducing burnout perception of employees as compared to teamwork.


Demographic variables have no impact on retention directly, which essentially means that all demographic groups respond same to retention factors. On this basis it is concluded that all demographic segments of employees have similar attitudes towards retention factors. However, demographic variables do have an impact on engagement factors to some extent. As shown in table 4, nationality seems to have most effect on engagement factors, thus concluding that UAE nationals differ in engagement levels as compared to non-UAE nationals. Similarly, age and total work experience also have positive correlation with engagement levels indicating that as an employee becomes professionally mature, it becomes more sensitive to engagement activities.


8.     Study Limitations


The limitations of this study should not be ignored while considering the results of this study. Similar to otherstudies in this area (May et al. 2004, Schaufeli and Bakker 2004), this study used cross-sectional and self-report data. The disadvantage of the cross-sectional data is that the data is collected at the same point in time and therefore does not take into account the changes that happen over a period of time. Similarly the self report data has the disadvantage that the respondents may give exaggerated or understated responses or can give biased responses (Wikipedia 2010). Despite this method bias, there are several reasons to place some confidence inthe study results. Firstly all the scales in this study had high reliability. Secondly the relationships between each factor of engagement and that of the retention construct were related to each other in ways which are confirmed by existing literature in this area.


9.     Recommendations


9.1  Recommendations for practitioners in the UAE telecommunication sector


Findings and conclusions presented in Section 6 and 7 lead to several recommendations for UAE telecommunication organisations in general and HR managers in particular. Key recommendations drawn from earlier discussion canbe summarized as follows:


  1. Employee engagement is key to retaining human resources. Therefore organisations, Line managers and HR managers (hereinafter referred to as “Organisations”) should fully understand and accept the fact that to retain employees they must engage them using the engagement factors in their control. It is also recommended that organisations should not just focus on “engaged” employees but also put even more emphasis on “Neutral” employees thus moving them towards an engaged status, and hence reducing their vulnerability to quit.


  1. This study indicates that most effective engagement factor is “individual contribution”, therefore, organisations must ensure the employees job responsibilities are in line with their individual strengths and capabilities. Job-competence fit can effectively induce engagement in employees as they find a purpose in their job and do things which they are good at. It is important to remember that provision of opportunities to perform in individual capacity also have a negative effect on employee burnout.


  1. It is also seen that teamwork also contributes towards reducing turnover intent and hence higher retention probability. Therefore, organisations should ensure that employees work in team which are cohesive and harmonious in their psychometric profiles. Putting people in teams, who differ a lot on their psychological attributes, can result in team-friction and ultimately cause Burnout in team members. It is further recommended that employees should be imparted soft-skill training in team-work.


  1. Growth also has an impact on reducing Burnout. Therefore organisations should continuously work towards providing professional and personal growth opportunities to employees. Mature organisations employ career-path techniques to ensure that each employee has a clear sense of direction and he/she manager her professional growth accordingly.


  1. Lastly, on demographic profiles, it is recommended that organisations should make different policies for UAE nationals and Non-UAE nationals. It is difficult to engage UAE nationals therefore, specific soft-skill training and job requirements and competencies should be more strictly adhered to for UAE nationals. Further, HR policies (such as training programmes, employee development plans, etc) should be tailored for each age group and experience band of employees. As we concluded earlier, with age and work experience, employees become more sensitive to engagement initiatives.


9.2  Recommendations for future research


While studying the correlations of the demographic variables with the dependent and independent variable (summarised in table 4), we saw that nationality seems to have significant effect on engagement factors, thus concluding that UAE nationals differ in engagement levels as compared to non-UAE nationals. It is therefore suggested that separate studies should be done for UAE nationals and non-UAE nationals to ensure that there is no variance in independent variable in the study sample.


A highly significant relationship was identified between individual contribution and overall retention. This finding leads to the suggestion of further in-depth study in identifying the attributes of individual contribution which should be focused upon to improve the retention of the employees.


Another important finding of this study is that overall engagement explained 41.3% variance in overall retention leaving 59.7% which means that the study can be further improved by doing regression analysis using all the factors of employee engagement as multiple independent variables and if the overall score still does not improve then further study can be done in identifying the factors other than employee engagement which might contribute to retention of employees, for example managerial or cultural aspects etc. Due to the time constraints this analysis was not included in the scope of this study.





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Appendix 1 – Questionnaire



Dear Sir/Madam,

This questionnaire gives you the opportunity to express your views on a wide range of issues related to the work environment. Please note that there is no right or wrong answer.

The questionnaire will be used to collect the primary data needed for a student research assignment. The questionnaire is anonymous, no individuals will be identified from their responses and the data will be kept confidential. Therefore, you are requested to be as open, fair and honest as you can be in your responses.

The results of the analysis will be strictly used by the researcher for the assignment study purpose only. This study will not be published or made available to any body except the researcher and the faculty members responsible for the marking of the assignment.

The questionnaire comprises three parts
1. General Information
2. Employee Engagement
3. Retention

Cookies, personal data stored by your Web browser, are not used in this survey.

Note that once you have clicked on the CONTINUE button at the bottom of each page you can not return to review or amend that page

Thank you



Part One : General Information
Please tick one box for each question:
  1.  Gender
Male   Female
  1.  Marital Status
Married   Single
  1.  Education Level
High School Certificate/Diploma   High Diploma   Bachelors Degree   Masters or above
  1.  Age
Less than 25 years   25 – 35 years   36 – 45 years   46 – 55 years   56 years or above
  1.  No. of years worked in current organisation
One year or less   2 – 7 years   8 – 13 years   14 – 19 years   20 years or above
  1.  No. of years of total work experience
One year or less   2 – 7 years   8 – 13 years   14 – 19 years   20 years or above
  1.  Job Status (Managerial Level)
Executive Level (Vice-President, CX0)   Senior Management Level (Director, Senior Director)                  Manager Level (Manager, Senior Manager, Head of Department)   Operational Level
  1.  Nationality
UAE National   Non-UAE National



Part Two: Employee Engagement
To what extent do you agree with the following statements?
 Please tick one box for each item:
Stronglyagree  Agree  Undecided  Disagree  Strongly disagree
  1. I know what is expected of

me at work

  1. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right
  2. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day
  3. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work
  4. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person
  5. There is someone at work who encourages my development
  6. At work, my opinions seem to count
  7. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important
  8. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work
  9. I have a best friend at work
  10. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress
  11. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow





Part Three : Retention
 To what extent do you agree with the following statements?
 Please tick one box for each item:
 Stronglyagree  Agree  Undecided  Disagree  Strongly disagree
  1. I feel emotionally used up at the end of the workday
  2. I feel fatigued when I get up in the morning and have to face another day on the job
  3. Working with people all day is really a strain for me
  4. 24. I feel frustrated by my job
  5. I feel I’m working too hard on my job
  6. I deal very effectively with the problems of the people I work with
  7. I feel I’m positively influencing other people’s lives through my work
  8. I feel very energetic
  9. I feel exhilarated after working closely with people at work
  10. I have accomplished many worthwhile things in this job
  11. I’ve become more callous towards co-workers and other people since I took this job
  12. I worry that this job is hardening me emotionally
  13. I think a lot about leaving the organisation
  14. I am actively searching for an alternative to the organisation
  15. As soon as it is possible, I will leave the organisation
  16. I plan to be working at my current organisation for next few years


Appendix 2 – Correlation Test

  Burnout Turnover Intention Overall Retention Basic Needs Individual Contribution Team Work Opportunity to Grow Overall Engagement
Burnout Pearson Correlation 1 .645(**) .952(**) -.307(**) -.535(**) -.420(**) -.441(**) -.539(**)
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .004 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 85 85 85 85 85 85 85 85
Turnover Intention Pearson Correlation .645(**) 1 .848(**) -.365(**) -.664(**) -.611(**) -.507(**) -.683(**)
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .001 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 85 85 85 85 85 85 85 85
Overall Retention Pearson Correlation .952(**) .848(**) 1 -.359(**) -.637(**) -.536(**) -.509(**) -.648(**)
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .001 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 85 85 85 85 85 85 85 85
Basic Needs Pearson Correlation -.307(**) -.365(**) -.359(**) 1 .474(**) .394(**) .324(**) .596(**)
Sig. (2-tailed) .004 .001 .001 .000 .000 .002 .000
N 85 85 85 85 85 85 85 85
Individual Contribution Pearson Correlation -.535(**) -.664(**) -.637(**) .474(**) 1 .662(**) .688(**) .917(**)
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 85 85 85 85 85 85 85 85
Team Work Pearson Correlation -.420(**) -.611(**) -.536(**) .394(**) .662(**) 1 .690(**) .854(**)
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 85 85 85 85 85 85 85 85
Opportunity to Grow Pearson Correlation -.441(**) -.507(**) -.509(**) .324(**) .688(**) .690(**) 1 .841(**)
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .002 .000 .000 .000
N 85 85 85 85 85 85 85 85
Overall Engagement Pearson Correlation -.539(**) -.683(**) -.648(**) .596(**) .917(**) .854(**) .841(**) 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 85 85 85 85 85 85 85 85

** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).



Appendix 3 – Multiple Regression Tests


Test 1 (Hypothesis 1) : Overall Engagement & Overall Retention


                                              Model Summary

Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
1 .648(a) .420 .413 6.40761

a Predictors: (Constant), Overall Engagement



Model Sum of Squares Df Mean Square F Sig.
1 Regression 2462.978 1 2462.978 59.988 .000(a)
Residual 3407.775 83 41.058
Total 5870.753 84

a Predictors: (Constant), Overall Engagement

b Dependent Variable: Overall Retention



Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
(Constant) 66.748 2.615 25.526 .000
OVerall Engagement -.655 .085 -.648 -7.745 .000

BStd. Error

a Dependent Variable: Overall Retention





Test 2 (Hypothesis 2) : Employee Engagement & Turnover Intent


                                              Model Summary

Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
1 .683(a) .466 .460 2.46412

a Predictors: (Constant), Overall Engagement



Model Sum of Squares Df Mean Square F Sig.
1 Regression 440.620 1 440.620 72.567 .000(a)
Residual 503.968 83 6.072
Total 944.588 84

a Predictors: (Constant), Overall Engagement

b Dependent Variable: Turnover Intention



Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
(Constant) 16.846 1.006 16.753 .000
OVerall Engagement -.277 .033 -.683 -8.519 .000

BStd. Error

a Dependent Variable: Turnover Intention





Test 3 (Hypothesis 3) : Employee Engagement & Burnout


                                              Model Summary

Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
1 .539(a) .291 .282 4.91076

a Predictors: (Constant), Overall Engagement



Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
1 Regression 820.104 1 820.104 34.007 .000(a)
Residual 2001.590 83 24.116
Total 2821.694 84

a Predictors: (Constant), Overall Engagement

b Dependent Variable: Burnout



Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
(Constant) 49.902 2.004 24.900 .000
Overall Engagement -.378 .065 -.539 -5.832 .000

BStd. Error

a Dependent Variable: Burnout




Test 4 (Hypothesis 4) : Growth & Turnover Intent


                                              Model Summary

Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
1 .507(a) .257 .248 2.90861

a Predictors: (Constant), Opportunity to Grow



Model Sum of Squares Df Mean Square F Sig.
1 Regression 242.405 1 242.405 28.653 .000(a)
Residual 702.183 83 8.460
Total 944.588 84

a Predictors: (Constant), Opportunity to Grow

b Dependent Variable: Turnover Intention



Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
(Constant) 13.034 .888 14.671 .000
Opportunity to Grow -.774 .145 -.507 -5.353 .000

BStd. Error

a Dependent Variable: Turnover Intention





Test 5 (Hypothesis 5) : Team Work and Burnout


                                              Model Summary

Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
1 .420(a) .176 .166 5.29198

a Predictors: (Constant), Team Work



Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
1 Regression 497.272 1 497.272 17.757 .000(a)
Residual 2324.422 83 28.005
Total 2821.694 84

a Predictors: (Constant), Team Work

b Dependent Variable: Burnout



Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
(Constant) 46.784 2.017 23.192 .000
Team Work -.970 .230 -.420 -4.214 .000

BStd. Error

a Dependent Variable: Burnout




Test 6 (Hypothesis 6) : Basic Needs and Turnover Intention


                                              Model Summary

Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
1 .365(a) .133 .123 3.14100

a Predictors: (Constant), Basic Needs



Model Sum of Squares Df Mean Square F Sig.
1 Regression 125.720 1 125.720 12.743 .001(a)
Residual 818.868 83 9.866
Total 944.588 84

a Predictors: (Constant), Basic Needs

b Dependent Variable: Turnover Intention



Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
(Constant) 12.139 1.052 11.544 .000
Basic Needs -.836 .234 -.365 -3.570 .001

BStd. Error

a Dependent Variable: Turnover Intention




Test 7 (Hypothesis 7) : Individual Contribution & Overall Retention


                                              Model Summary

Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate
1 .637(a) .406 .399 6.48177

a Predictors: (Constant), Individual Contribution



Model Sum of Squares df Mean Square F Sig.
1 Regression 2383.640 1 2383.640 56.735 .000(a)
Residual 3487.113 83 42.013
Total 5870.753 84

a Predictors: (Constant), Individual Contribution

b Dependent Variable: Overall Retention



Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
(Constant) 63.592 2.284 27.842 .000
Individual Contribution -1.434 .190 -.637 -7.532 .000

BStd. Error

a Dependent Variable: Overall Retention




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