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Maxwell Rainforth


Highly engaged employees have a positive impact on organizational results, which means that understanding how to increase employee engagement is important. Performance management is one area that is believed to positively impact employee engagement, but current research is not conclusive as to how much individual performance management activities impact employee engagement. Using social exchange theory and self-determination theory as theoretical guides, this study examined if 5 performance management activities (goal setting, feedback, developmental opportunities, performance appraisals, and a climate of trust) are predictors of employee engagement. Using a cross-sectional survey design, full-time, U.S.-based employees at organizations with more than 1,000 employees completed the Utrecht Work Engagement Survey and questionnaires related to 5 performance management activities. Correlational analysis was used to examine the relationship between employee engagement and the performance management activities. All 5 performance management activities were significantly correlated with employee engagement. Developmental opportunities, setting goals, and a climate of trust were statistically significant, independent predictors of employee engagement when controlling for the other performance management activity variables. The implication for positive social change is that this knowledge can be used to guide organizational leaders as they adapt or create a performance management system to ensure that they are able to most effectively impact employee engagement. Ultimately, a more highly engaged workforce can have direct and indirect impacts on the local communities by increasing organizational stability and productivity.