How to keep your employees engaged…

October 7th, 2010 by Sarah Green Leave a reply »

…Other than by buying them cakes of course…

So… how can we increase the engagement level of your staff?

Using strengths and talents
People encouraged to use their strengths at work are about 2 & 1/2 times as likely to be engaged as those who are encouraged to focus on their weaknesses. They are particularly more likely to be engaged if they get to use their strengths every day.

Experiencing flow
When people are in flow they are engaged. Flow is by definition an engaging experience. Flow experiences occur at work but aren’t always recognised as such.

The helpful use of goals and rewards
At its best goal setting provides opportunities for people to experience plentiful, positive and meaningful rewards (positive reinforcement). Working for social or self-satisfaction rewards can be highly motivating and engaging.

Help people find meaning in work
When people are engaged in work that they experience as meaningful, they are more engaged. People can be helped to create positive meaning at work, particularly when groups are given the opportunity to collectively to discover why their work is meaningful to them, to the organisation, and to the world.

Adapted from source: Sarah Lewis, Appreciating Change.

Ten Top Tips for Creating an Engaged, Positive and Flourishing Organisation

Having recently extensively studied the literature, Sarah Lewis from Appreciating Change has exclusively revealed the ten things that you can do that can make your organisation an even more inspiring and positive workplace. Her research combines positive psychology, appreciative enquiry strengths based studies and employee engagement research.

1. Play to everyone’s strengths

People playing to their strengths are effective, successful, engaged and energised. Their productivity is at its best. Those dutifully struggling with weaknesses are slow, ineffective and demoralised. Their productivity is poor.

2. Recruit for attitude

People have ‘a good attitude’ when they are using their natural talents, the thing they love to do. Find out people’s natural talents and inclinations because these are the basis of strengths. Recruit for a fit with the core task of the job and to build it into a real strength.

3. Encourage positive deviation

Encourage performance that exceeds the standard expected in a positive direction. Build an abundant organisation, one that can take pride in excellence. Achieving this takes positive leadership: encouraging, recognising, appreciative, and forgiving. Affirm what is good in the organisation to help it grow and develop.

4. Create a workplace that feels good

Positive emotions are really good for the workplace. They aid creativity, working together, problem-solving, communication and information-sharing, just for starters. Make your workplace somewhere people enjoy being because it makes them feel good.

5. Build social capital

Invest in the relationships between people. It is through these relationships that information and resource flow to where they are needed. It is these relationships that allow organisations to be responsive to change and to bounce back quickly from trauma.

6. Be an authentic leader

Authentic leaders know their own strengths and how to use them well. They help others develop theirs. They have a strong moral compass and they treat people right. They learn from success as well as mistakes. They admit mistakes, and encourage others to do so too.

7. Create the conditions for change

Directive planned change is ineffective: the evidence is overwhelming. Effective change leaders create the conditions for change to emerge. They work with the emerging process of change. They engage the whole organisation in discovering how to go forward.

8. Create reward-rich environments

People work for many rewards: success, approval, flow experiences, recognition, feelings of satisfaction, thanks, completion, or being with others, for example. The more rewards available to people in their work environment, they more motivated and engaged they will be at work.

9. Make sense together

In this fast-paced, complex world, it is more effective to involve others in a continuous process of making sense than trying to make definitive decisions that will hold for years. Build periods of mindfulness and reflection into your schedule, to help people notice the early signs of a changing world.

10. Be appreciative

Develop an appreciative, eye, ear and tongue. This will help you recognise and grow the organisational strengths and resources. Our appreciative faculties are usually very weak compared to our critical ones; they need positive attention to thrive.

‘Positive Psychology at Work: How Positive Psychology and Appreciative Inquiry Create Inspiring Organisations’, by Sarah Lewis, explains how to do all these things, and, will be published by Blackwell-Wiley in Spring 2011.

Indeed, David Bolchover took it upon himself to find out what actively disengaged employees do when at work (and also when not). Scouring the research, he found that:

• The actively disengaged have twice as much time off sick

• 1 in 5 people describe themselves as constantly surfing the net

• A majority of people estimate they spend the equivalent of a day a week on non-work websites at work

• 7% send more than 20 personal emails a day

• A quarter of people have fallen asleep at work

Active disengagement at work costs the UK economy about £38bn a year (Research figures from Bolchover D (2005) The Living Dead. Capstone)

Blog adapted from source: Sarah Lewis, Appreciating Change. By Sarah Green.

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