The Impact of COVID-19 on Government Employee Engagement: A Phenomenological Study

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The COVID-19 pandemic touched the world on an unprecedented scale, producing worldwide disruptions socially, economically, and culturally creating engagement challenges for federal employees. The problem is COVID-19 has impacted the engagement levels of government employees. This research is important as it promotes awareness of COVID-19 and employee engagement. The purpose of the phenomenological qualitative study was to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the engagement levels of government employees. Gaps exist in the literature on employee engagement and COVID-19. This research filled gaps in the literature on COVID-19 and employee engagement to support new research and informed decision-making. The theoretical foundation included Kahn’s theory of employee engagement, which supported a design to find shared meanings in participants’ lived experiences with COVID-19’s impact on government employee engagement. The research questions assessed COVID-19’s impact on engagement levels for government employees, perceptions of government employees on their workplace interactions, and meanings government employees assign to COVID-19 pandemic challenges. The study used a transcendental phenomenological qualitative methodology and research design. Fifteen federal government employee volunteers from the Washington DC area who served in government during COVID-19 were selected for this research. Data from volunteers were collected through semi-structured interviews and open-ended questionnaires for analysis using Braun and Clark’s reflexive thematic analysis model. The finding led to three emergent themes on social connections, confidence, and leadership. Findings filled gaps in the literature on the impact of COVID-19 on the engagement level of government employees. Keywords: COVID-19, employee engagement, pandemic, federal government employees, coronavirus, phenomenology