Q&A with Executive Education's Dr. Allison Tringale

Dr. Allison Tringale
Dr. Allison Tringale is an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Loras College, in Dubuque, Iowa. She will be teaching Employee Engagement this spring for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Executive Education program.

Dr. Tringale, tell us a little about your background.

I am currently an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Loras College, a position I’ve held since August 2018. Prior to that, I was working and getting my Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. My doctoral dissertation was actually about how supportive and competent coworkers promote employee engagement, which in turn makes employees more likely to go above and beyond for the organization. During my time in Houston, I was also doing research and working on a few consulting projects, including a multi-year leadership development program for City of Houston employees.

For those of us less familiar with the concept of employee engagement, can you explain what the concept includes?

This can be a tricky question, as this is what has made the study of employee engagement so difficult, because people have different definitions of it. However, the general consensus is that engaged employees are those who are enthusiastic and invested in their work and organization. Engaged employees invest mental, physical, and emotional energy into their work on a consistent basis.

What attracted you to the study of employee engagement?

Employee engagement is a huge concern in today’s business environment. It’s hard to flip through a current business publication without seeing employee engagement mentioned somewhere. While business leaders were quick to embrace this concept, research in the area has actually been much slower to follow. There is still a lot we just don’t know about employee engagement, so it makes it an exciting field to study.

In today’s competitive business environment, what do decision-makers need to know about employee engagement to gain a competitive advantage?

A substantial portion of your employees are actively disengaged and serving as a drain on your company, so the amount of your employees that are actively engaged needs to greatly outweigh those bad apples. Highly engaged employees are more productive, more likely to go the extra mile for the organization, more committed to your company, and generally more satisfied. High levels of engagement are good for both your organization’s success and your employees themselves.

What is the biggest challenge for decision-makers in addressing employee engagement?

One of the biggest challenges is there is really no one-size-fits-all strategy for every organization. In my module we will cover a number of different themes for leaders to consider when promoting employee engagement, but much of your strategy for boosting employee engagement is going to be specific to your organizational culture and industry.

What opportunities exist for decision-makers in addressing employee engagement?

By embracing employee engagement, you have a chance to make your greatest asset—your human talent—your competitive advantage. The best employees are looking for a place where they can flourish and feel embedded in the organizational culture and mission. Investing in employee engagement is one way to potentially do this!

For more information about UW-Platteville's Executive Education Program, visit www.uwplatt.edu/news/executive-education.