The literature review provides scholarly and relevant contributions to research that aid in understanding the correlation of safety health environment on employee retention. Moreover, the literature review includes a discussion on the independent variable, safety health environment, and the dependent variable, employee retention.
Recent studies had recognized that work environment plays an important role in an organization. Many problems faced by employees are related to their working environment. A conducive work environment increases the employees’ level of productivity in the organization. It was observed that factors like supervisor support, relation with co-workers, training and development, attractive and fast incentives and recognition plans, adequate work load at work place are helpful in developing strategies to achieve a conducive work environment that has positive impact on employee’s level of productivity. (Tahir & Awan, 2015)
The work environment includes the physical location where one officially does his/her job. It is one of the most important social spaces. Moreover, the work environment also involves other aspects relating to the physical place, such as the quality of the air, noise level, cleanliness, and added non-monetary benefits of employment such as provision of child-care facilities or free parking space. Employees who work in fit work environments feel enthusiastic and engaged in their job. They feel appreciated and cared for at work. Thus, forming a suitable work environment is a significant factor in upgrading the prosperity of the organization. (Al-Shammari, 2015)
The physical work environment particularly in healthcare facilities has been found to decrease job-related anxiety and improve employee-employer relations. Job-related attitudes and feelings are often affected and associated with employees’ evaluations of their physical work environment. A well-designed workplace lowers job-related anxiety, increases level of job satisfaction and organizational commitment. For instance, facility design affects job-related attitudes and the bond between employees and their organization. (Sadatsafavi, Walewski, ; Shepley, 2015)
Safety Health Environment
Nowadays, employees are becoming more aware of their rights concerning their working environment which includes working hours, job safety ; security, relationship with co-worker, esteem needs and top management (Raziq ; Maulabakhsh, 2015).
The working environment, including the identifiable workplace and the causes of accidents and illness, influence the overall health and safety of employees. There are indictors that measure the work wellbeing in terms of the state of the workers’ health and safety. The work wellbeing of workers is conceptualized as the explicit results of the working environment including work-related injuries, work-related diagnoses, illness/sickness, work-related health problems, work-related deaths, etc. A good work environment increases productivity and work force. Healthy workers are more productive than not-so-healthy workers who must take sick leave as result of bad work environments. (Foldspang, et al., 2014)
Work Condition and Job Satisfaction
Today, organizations and businesses are faced with the challenges of satisfying its employees’ needs to cope up with the changing and evolving world and to achieve success and remain in competition. Organizations recognize the need to provide good working conditions to its employees. Good working conditions increases the efficiency, effectiveness, productivity and job commitment of employees in the organization and prohibit costs emerging as a result of dissatisfied employees. Moreover, there is a positive relationship between working environment and employee job satisfaction. (Raziq ; Maulabakhsh, 2015).
Job satisfaction can be associated with how much an employee likes his work as well as the level of his preoccupation with work. It is a sense of comfort and positive experience that an employee has related to the job. Furthermore, it affects work behavior and organizational performance. Job satisfaction is a complex cluster of attitudes towards different aspects of the work. It includes a variety of factors such as nature of work, salary, stress, working conditions, colleagues, superiors, working hours, etc. Working conditions affect job satisfaction and studies have shown that workers prefer working conditions which are not dangerous and unpleasant. However, there are two categories of working conditions: normal (pleasant) conditions and difficult working conditions. Difficult working conditions pose dangers to workers’ life and health. It is influenced by: external factors – temperature, humidity, lighting, noise, gases, radiation, dust, smoke and other harmful factors; subjective factors – gender and age of the worker, fatigue, monotony, unfavorable posture during work, etc.; and factors related to the organization – duration of the work shift, work schedule, working time, work pace, excessive strain etc. According to the study of Danica Bakoti? and Tomislav Babi?: (1) there is no statistically significant difference in overall job satisfaction between workers who work under difficult working conditions and those who work in normal working conditions; (2) workers who work in normal working conditions are more satisfied with working conditions than workers who work under difficult working conditions; and (3) in the case of workers who work under difficult working conditions, the working conditions are important factor of their overall job satisfaction. Thus, although difficult working conditions may not be eliminated, it is necessary to be improved by taking measures to ensure safety. In this way, satisfaction of workers under difficult work conditions may be increased as well as their performance. (Bakoti? & Babi?, 2013)
Workplace hazard perceptions were identified to reduce workers’ psychological health and, thus, reduced job satisfaction and higher intentions to quit. Hence, organizations should acknowledge the need to reduce physical work environment hazards in effort to maintain job satisfaction among employees. Reducing workplace hazards results in psychological safe environment and it includes safety training, supervisor support and improving overall safety. (McCaughey, Turner, Kim, DelliFraine, ; McGhan, 2015)
Job commitment can be defined as the employee’s positive emotional connection to the employer or organization. By improving how employees feel about their jobs, they would become more committed to their work provider. Several studies found out that there is a strong correlation between job satisfaction and organizational commitment of workers in several countries. Job satisfaction is a reliable predictor of job commitment. That is, a satisfied employee develops a stronger commitment to his work. Likewise, job commitment predicts work variables such as employee turnover, organizational citizenship, behavior, and job performance. (Al-Shammari, 2015)
Job satisfaction increases when work coincides with employee’s values and needs. Moreover, there is high satisfaction when employees are able to pursue the goals which are significant to them and fits their interests and life plans. Job satisfaction can be divided into different dimensions: satisfaction with empowerment, satisfaction with job fulfilment, satisfaction with pay, satisfaction with work group, satisfaction with security and satisfaction with work facilitation. An employee satisfied with one dimension may not be satisfied with the others. Not every dimension has equal importance to each employee. For instance, some may value job security more than empowerment. Furthermore, overall job satisfaction in organizations varies. There are organizations that have more satisfied employees than others. Likewise, satisfaction among employees varies. Some employees are naturally inclined toward either high or low levels of satisfaction regardless of the work environment or no matter how good a job is. Some people may even be happy working in difficult conditions. (Stewart ; Brown, 2014)
Employees with low job satisfaction often have negative moods and attitudes. These people are more likely to quit their jobs. Thus, organizations seeking to prevent or reduce employee turnover give importance on measuring and improving their employees’ job satisfaction. (Stewart & Brown, 2014)
Employee retention is now a key strategic issue in organizations. Employees today are less committed to individual employers than in the past. They spend less time with individual employers and make more career changes. Employees leave for several reasons: reduction in force (initiated by the employer), turnover (initiated by the employee), or retirement. However, regardless of whether such departure is by the employer’s or employee’s decision, the organization must manage this separation process to ensure that transitions are smooth for both employers and employees, that operations are not disrupted, and that important professional relationships are not damaged. (Mello, 2015)
Employee turnover can cause disruption in operations, work team dynamics, and unit performance. Furthermore, it creates costs for the organization. These costs include the direct economic costs of staffing and training new hires as well as the indirect costs of the downtime needed for the new employee to gain proficiency in the job and to become fully socialized and integrated into the organization. Excessive employee turnover may also affect the morale of employees and the organization’s reputation as being a good place to work. Turnover in organizations, while unavoidable, can be strategically managed to allow organizations to minimize the disadvantages of turnover and maximize its advantages. (Mello, 2015)
Determinant factors of employee retention include development opportunities, compensation, work-life balance, management/leadership, work environment, social support, autonomy and training and development. (Kossivi, Xu, ; Kalgora, 2016)
Employee retention can be expressed quantitatively as an Employee Retention Rate (ERR) which is the percentage of employees that the organization can keep within a specified period. Success of an organization in retaining its employees is measured in terms of ERR or through assessment of the Employee Turnover Rate (ETR). High employee retention rate implies a low employee turnover rate. Organizations strive to maintain high ERR especially of their high performers and high potentials. (Msengeti ; Obwogi, 2015)
In general, an effective organization has the ability to retain their best employees. Retaining good performers include a set of actions that would keep employees engaged once they have been hired. However, organizations have different strategic emphasis on employee retention. State government offices use Loyal Soldier HR strategy. In this strategy, employee retention reduces recruitment costs and offers workers with a sense of security that convinces them to work even at lower wages than they might be able to earn at private firms. As an example, government employees prefer to continue working as public servants even though they might be able to earn more money somewhere else because government offices are less likely to replace or lay off employees. (Stewart ; Brown, 2014)
Employee retention may be functional or dysfunctional. Functional retention is when high-performing employees stay in an organization. This benefits both the employee and the organization. Dysfunctional retention is when low-performing and demotivated employees stay in an organization. This may be damaging both to the employee and the organization. (Stewart ; Brown, 2014)
Employee engagement has been defined as the involvement, satisfaction and enthusiasm for work and towards organizational goals. It occurs when employees become committed to their work and their organization and remain motivated to attain good performance. It is the willingness of the employees to work beyond the expectations. Currently, ‘engagement’ has become the new management mantra, replacing the terms ‘job satisfaction’, ‘motivation’ and ‘commitment’. Engagement impacts individual and organizational performance. Engaged employees have positive feelings towards their work and consider their jobs as an important part of what they are. Employee engagement is consistent with high commitment and loyalty. Job satisfaction is a precursor of job engagement. Conversely disengagement is related to stress and, consequently, to turnover. Employee engagement drivers include job challenge, autonomy, variety, feedback, fit, opportunities for development and rewards and recognition. (Armstrong ; Taylor, 2014)
Relationship of Safety Health Environment and Employee Retention
A conducive and favorable work environment is an essential factor in employee retention. A flexible atmosphere where working experience is enjoyable and resources are adequately provided contributes to employee retention. (Kossivi, Xu, ; Kalgora, 2016)
In the Hotel Industry in Mombasa County, Kenya, it was studied that pay had a weak influence on employee retention while work environment had the strongest influence. (Msengeti ; Obwogi, 2015)
In the research of Waqas, et al., workplace environment was found to be the second most important factor affecting the job satisfaction level of workers in developing countries like Pakistan. Moreover, there is a positive relation between job satisfaction and job loyalty. (Waqas, et al., 2014)
A study conducted to explore the link between work environment, career development opportunities and employee retention in Vodafone Ghana Limited found that work environment and career development opportunities significantly affect employees’ decision to stay in Vodafone Ghana Limited and, thus, the employee retention. Attractive work environment for employees will boast their decisions to stay with the organization. (Kwenin, 2013)
In a study conducted in the Pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan, it was confirmed that employee retention is influenced by factors like safety health environment, job satisfaction and motivation. Employee retention was found to be a significant outcome of safety health environment. Moreover, the levels of job satisfaction and employee motivation equally mediate the relationship between safety health environment and employee retention. The study suggests that by fostering health protection policies, job satisfaction and motivation will be increased and will result in the retention of capable employees. (Salman, Mahmood, Aftab, & Mahmood, 2016)
An effective and efficient occupational health and safety management is critical to safeguard workers especially in dangerous and hazardous industries like the mining industry. There is a significant negative relationship that exists between occupational health and safety management, particularly safety leadership and provision of safety equipment and facility, and turnover intention. (Amponsah-Tawiah, Ntow, & Mensah, 2016)
This research study is based on the impact of safety health environment on employee retention in the Food and Drug Administration – Common Services Laboratory. The fundamental ideas and concerns that had been tackled and identified in this literature review in accordance with the research aims and objectives are: (1) The work environment plays an important role in an organization. It affects the level of comfort the employees receive from their work and their job satisfaction. Employees provided with an attractive and safe working environment are able to perform well and, thus, productive. Improvements on the working environment will also improve the employees’ productivity and the organizations’ performance. (2) There are two categories of work condition – normal (pleasant) work condition and difficult work condition. Although hazards may be impossible to eliminate in difficult work conditions, safety policies and practices can be imposed to ensure the wellbeing of its workers. Safety standard in difficult work conditions is an important factor in the overall job satisfaction of workers. (3) Management of safety practices and safety programs influence employees’ productivity and job satisfaction. Safety practices and programs include promotion of health and safety, investigation of accidents and training of employees on safety standards. (4) There is a strong correlation between job satisfaction and job commitment of workers in several countries. Job satisfaction is a reliable predictor of job commitment. Job commitment predicts work variables such as employee turnover, organizational citizenship, behavior, and job performance. (5) Employee retention is one of the major challenges faced by an organization. Employees leave an organization for several reasons. For any reason, employee turnover can cause disruption in work operations and unit performance. Furthermore, it creates additional costs for the organization. (6) Some determinant factors of employee retention include development opportunities, compensation, work-life balance, management/leadership, work environment, social support, autonomy and training and development. Of these factors, recent studies found that the work environment plays a significant role in employee retention. An attractive and conducive work environment encourages workers to stay with the organization.