The Effect of engagement strategies on the employee engagement of millennials in Kenya’s software development firms

Mbugua, Rufus Ngugi
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Strathmore University
This paper analysed the effect that four (4) specific employee engagement strategies had on employee engagement in the software development space in Kenya. The study was guided by these four objectives/strategies; where the four engagement strategies analysed were career development, work life balance, and the use of enterprise social media. The target of the study was the millennial workforce in the software industry in Kenya, that is, employees between the ages of 20 and 39 years. From a total population of 283 ICT companies focused on system development, two (2) companies made up the population of the study. The companies selected operate in Nairobi, Kenya, as software development firms namely, Arifu and Andela. Millennials from their respective workforces were targeted in this study so as to understand their employee engagement strategy preference and overall reception to their company’s current employee engagement initiatives, to measure these against the prevailing objectives of the study. The study was quantitative, with a population size (employees of the two companies) of 430. The sample size of the study was 189 and actual respondents were 103. Questionnaires were shared electronically (via Survey Monkey) to the employees questioned to collect data on their level of employee engagement based on the engagement strategies employed in their organizations. Pearson’s correlation was used to evaluate the four (4) strategies to ascertain which strategies held higher importance to the millennial workforce. The study found that all four strategies were positively related to employee engagement though to varying degrees. Career Development had a Pearson’s correlation score of 0.604 making it the second-most related to employee engagement. It however ranked highest among all strategies with a mean of 2.38. Work-Life Balance had a score of 0.269 making it the least related to employee engagement. It was ranked as the fourth-most important strategy according to millennial employees, with a mean of 3.9. Enterprise Social Media had a Pearson’s correlation score of 0.529 making it the third-most related strategy. Gamification had a Pearson’s correlation score of 0.747 and emerged as the most related strategy. Remuneration, though not studied as one of the objectives, was regardless, highly regarded by the employees but was only considered feasible after a suitable work-life balance was attained. Companies should invest in the training of their employees and have conversations about their employees’ career objectives. They should also avoid overworking their employees, causing probable burnout, by enabling them to have a work-life balance. Frequent and timely communication will promote their alignment with company objectives and allow for dialogue and open communication. The concept of a fun and challenging work environment should be demystified so that it can add value in the workplace. There should be a balance between challenging work, and realistic expectations.
A Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Masters of Business Administration at Strathmore University Business School
Millennials, Employee engagement, HR, ICT, System development