Building a culture of high employee engagement

Publication Date20 April 2010
Date20 April 2010
AuthorGary Tomlinson
SubjectHR & organizational behaviour
Building a culture of high employee
Gary Tomlinson
Purpose – This paper aims to examine the key drivers for employee engagement within an organization.
It seeks to answer the question: what are the keys to improving the level of employee engagement?
Design/methodology/approach – A case study illustrates a strategy for employee engagement that
was based on research on the key drivers of engagement.
Findings – The paper presents practical case study material from Kia Motors – the South Korean
automotive manufacturer.It shows how Human Resources (HR) worked to develop a strategy to address
very poor levels of employee engagement. A clear set of engagement measures was developed to
assess the impact of the engagement strategy.
Originality/value – This paper ascertains some of the key drivers of employee engagement as
illustrated by the case study. Itdemonstrates a number of practical tools HR professionals can utilize to
build employee engagement within their organizations.
Keywords Employee development, Employee attitudes, Automotive industry,
Human resource management
Paper type Case study
Kia Motors is part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group – the fourth largest
automotive manufacturer in the world – with its headquarters in Seoul, Korea. The
company employs over 40,000 employees in over 167 countries. This case study
centers on Kia Motors (UK), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kia Motors Corporation
that is based in the south of England and employs over 2,500 people through is HQ and
dealership network.
The engagement strategy that was formulated in the UK is now being be rolled out on a
Pan-European level and shared with the global HR team at the company’s HQ in Seoul. To
support the development of the employee engagement strategy HR utilized the marketing
communications tools SOSTAC. This tool consists of six parts and forms the structure for
presenting the case study. SOSTAC stands for:
1. Situation. Understanding the challenge facing HR.
2. Objectives. Setting the engagement objectives for Kia Motors.
3. Strategy. Becoming a true employer of choice.
4. Tactics. Introducing the Kia Motors engagement model.
5. Action. Interventions to improve employee engagement.
6. Control. Measuring the success of the strategy.
DOI 10.1108/14754391011040046 VOL. 9 NO. 3 2010, pp. 25-31, QEmerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1475-4398
Gary Tomlinson is Head of
Human Resources at Kia
Motors, Weybridge, UK.

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