In the modern Food Retail business, sustaining a competitive market position is of crucial concern. To meet their marketing performance goals, it is relevant for Food Retail Sector to maintain a highly engaged workforce. However, there is very minimal empirical evidence on how employee engagement influences the market performance of the firms; hence this study sought to contribute to the empirical gap by examining the causality between employee management and market performance. The study specifically sought to establish the effect of training and development; rewards and recognition as well as employee experience on market performance. The research was anchored on the theory of employee experience and the balanced scorecard model. The study adopted a descriptive research design, and the unit of analysis was the 80 Food Retail Sector in Lagos State. The sample respondents for the research were the 240 marketing, sales and brand managers within the firms. The study relied on structured research questionnaires to collect primary data. The study conducted a pretest of the research instrument, with 10% of the sample respondents. The collected research data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The analyzed data was presented using charts, bar graphs and tables. The research was able to obtain an 83% response rate. The findings of the research established that 55.6% of variations in market performance are determined by employee engagement within Food Retail Sector. The study concludes that training and development, rewards and recognition and employee experience positively influence market performance. The study recommends that Food Retail Sector companies in Lagos State should foster the training and development programs as well as implement more financial schemes to enhance employee productivity. Such Organizations should further adopt more participatory management approaches in order to enhance employee participation in decision making and designing programs for attaining organizational goals. The findings are expected to enhance managerial practice within the firms as well as strengthen the policymaking within Food Retail Sector companies. 



1.1 Background to the Study

In the dynamic contemporary corporate environment, firms are faced with increasing market instability finding it hard to cope. In the operational environment, realizing the long-term objectives for the firm is the vital resource capabilities important to grasp the long-standing organization aims are regularly tough to assemble and recollect by specific organizations (Kaihara & Fujii, 2008). Companies, therefore, have to look beyond cost and quality as their source of competitive advantage. They have expanded their competitive strategies to encompass speed, quality, and flexibility, suiting modern consumers and markets through better employee management (Christopher & Towill, 2010). The business environment surrounding the speeding customer goods industry, commonly referred to by the acronym FRS (hurtling consumer goods), has grown to be more competitive (Urbancova, 2013). Companies in the Food Retail have been pushed into a competition to stay relevant and sustain favourable market performance levels (Suganthi, 2016).

1.1.1 Employee Engagement 

Purcell (2014) defined employee engagement as a wide aspect with theoretical and empirical rooting’s which showed a significant relationship among potential antecedents and consequence of engagement as well as the components of engagement within an organization. An engaged personnel is able to acquaint with the policies within the organization and their job description as well as relate well with their colleagues in a bid to enhance the productivity within the firm (Robbins, 2008). An increase has been witnessed in employee engagement. This had been recorded among the consultants and the practitioners in the business circle (Gruman & Saks, 2011).

Employee engagement a major topic of interest in the business development environment and it has led to the formation of important  component in the research done by consulting firms (Bailey, Madden, Alfes, & Fletcher, 2017). Employee engagement is a management sector that promotes employees to greater performance levels (Ndahiro, Shukla, & Oduor, 2015). Competitive companies make sure that engaged employees are retained so that customers are satisfied, low misuse of resources, customer-friendly, work with minimal supervision, and have the low motive of quitting. The companies make sure they provide the employee with motivation programs, promotion programs and good working conditions (Purcell, 2014).