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5 Steps to Positively Engage Your Organisation

There seems to be a great deal of discussion centred around employee engagement of late, likely stimulated by the publication of the Gallop report indicating that a mere 13% of employees are ‘engaged’ globally. Whilst organisations attempt to address this issue through surveys and project teams, there are many other courses of action that could be undertaken, with strong evidence supporting the high impact outcomes they propose.

Workplace engagement has been defined as: "when employees feel positive emotions toward their work, find their work to be personally meaningful, consider their workload to be manageable, and have hope about the future of their work” [1]. This is directly proportional to the fact that the needs of the workforce are changing, with employees seeking more meaningful work and the opportunity for ongoing personal and skill development. Organisations can easily tap into these needs and explore the options for meeting them.

The mindful implementation of the following offers those enlightened organisations a wealth of opportunity to build cultural strength and develop individual capacity.

5 Steps of Positive Engagement
  1. Create an environment that fosters positive emotions such as curiosity, pride, gratitude, love, contentment and joy. According to leading psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, certain positive emotions broaden people's thought-action repertoires, leading to enduring personal resources.[2] This has consequently led to enhanced resilience, relationships, well-being and satisfaction.

  2. Acknowledge and harness individual employee strengths. The Corporate Leadership Council determined through an analysis of >19,000 employees, that when managers focused on performance strengths, there was a 36.4% increase in performance. [3] Additional benefits of utilising strengths include increases in well-being, confidence, energy, resilience, engagement, happiness and goal attainment.[4] Donald Clifton from Gallup has also determined that individuals who use their strengths daily feel 6x more engaged than those who don't.

  3. Provide meaningful goals. Goals that are aligned with the strategic vision as well as the individuals strengths, are more likely to produce positive outcomes. Utilise the SMART framework however definitely get creative and be as specific as you can with the actions you are going to take in order to achieve your goals. Use verbs and identify feelings you desire upon achieving your goal.(IE: Invite 5 new connections each week on social media to broaden my network and build the foundation for my business success=happiness/pride). (see book Desire Map on creating goals with soul)

  4. Ensure appropriate development plans are in place and reviewed regularly. So often plans are made at the beginning of the year, a box is ticked and said plans are not referred to until the end of the year, with little or no follow-up in between. Employees enjoy stimulation, particularly challenges that sit outside of their comfort zone and daily operations which nurture their development. Managers need to proactively initiate development conversations and cultivate an environment for ongoing, continuous learning within their team.

  5. Implement a well-being program to encourage and promote mental health. With workplace anxiety on the rise and 85% of Australian workers facing stress, organisations must address this ever-growing concern. Whilst well-being incorporates positive emotions, it also focuses on engagement, positive relationships, meaning and achievement. The opportunities for developing well-being at work are numerous and should be explored further.

The steps above offer simple, effective solutions to engagement concerns in addition to providing a host of other benefits to individuals and organisations.

[1] Macey, W. & Schneider, B. (2008). The meaning of employee engagement.Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 1(1), 3-30.

[2] Fredrickson, B. The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, Vol 56(3), Mar 2001, 218-226 [3] Corporate Leadership Council 2003. Building the High-Performance Workforce A Quantitative Analysis of the Effectiveness of Performance Management Strategies.Washington, DC. [4] Govindji, R., & Linley, P. A. (2007). Strengths use, self-concordance and well-being: Implications for strengths coaching and coaching psychologists. International Coaching Psychology Review, 2 (2), 143-153.; Linley, P. A., Nielsen, K. M., Wood, A. M., Gillett, R., & Biswas-Diener, R., (2010). Using signature strengths in pursuit of goals: Effects on goal progress, need satisfaction, and well-being, and implications for coaching psychologists. International Coaching Psychology Review, 5 (1), 8-17.

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