Building work engagement: A systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the effectiveness of work engagement interventions

J Organ Behav. 2017 Jul;38(6):792-812. doi: 10.1002/job.2167. Epub 2016 Dec 13.


Low work engagement may contribute towards decreased well-being and work performance. Evaluating, boosting and sustaining work engagement are therefore of interest to many organisations. However, the evidence on which to base interventions has not yet been synthesised. A systematic review with meta-analysis was conducted to assess the evidence for the effectiveness of work engagement interventions. A systematic literature search identified controlled workplace interventions employing a validated measure of work engagement. Most used the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES). Studies containing the relevant quantitative data underwent random-effects meta-analyses. Results were assessed for homogeneity, systematic sampling error, publication bias and quality. Twenty studies met the inclusion criteria and were categorised into four types of interventions: (i) personal resource building; (ii) job resource building; (iii) leadership training; and (iv) health promotion. The overall effect on work engagement was small, but positive, k = 14, Hedges g = 0.29, 95%-CI = 0.12-0.46. Moderator analyses revealed a significant result for intervention style, with a medium to large effect for group interventions. Heterogeneity between the studies was high, and the success of implementation varied. More studies are needed, and researchers are encouraged to collaborate closely with organisations to design interventions appropriate to individual contexts and settings, and include evaluations of intervention implementation. © 2016 The Authors. Journal of Organizational Behavior published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: intervention implementation; interventions; meta‐analysis; systematic review; work engagement.