Why does it matter how your employees feel at work? Because engagement matters. Engagement has been a hot topic for employers of all sizes because it breeds productivity, retention, and impacts the profitability of their company.
But, it turns out the whole engagement thing is pretty complex. Altering your employee engagement level is not an overnight change. Why? Well, engagement is variously defined as “involvement, commitment, passion, enthusiasm, focused effort and energy.” Engagement involves how your employees feel at work.
“Put simply, the way people feel at work profoundly influences how they perform.”
This article from the New York Times outlines some studies that reveal employees feel unappreciated, distracted, disconnected to the mission, un-excited, pulled in many directions, and many other warm and fuzzies.
Employers understand this is a problem and productivity goes down when their employees feel like this. But, understanding this is not enough. Action needs to be taken.
I know one thing, feelings and manipulation aren’t a fun couple to hang out with. Here’s the crux of the problem; employers are finding they can’t manipulate their way to engagement. It’s not something you can throw a stand up desk at, slap a PTO band-aid on and call it good. No, it requires that the employers genuinely care.
Millennials are part of what’s making this more difficult for employers. Why? Because Millennials crave authentic leaders and meaningful work and their population in the workforce is growing rapidly.
Engagement is affected by systemic issues within a company. It’s a miraculous product of organizational DNA, culture and other intangible stuff. Real stuff.
Easy, right? Understanding the value engagement creates for your company is one thing but, committing to the changes required to impact this engagement is another thing completely.
Why You Hate Work explains that “… systematically investing in employees, beyond paying them a salary, didn’t seem necessary until recently. So long as employees were able to meet work demands, employers were under no pressure to address their more complex needs. Increasingly, however, employers are recognizing that the relentless stress of increased demand — caused in large part by digital technology — simply must be addressed.”
Why It Matters
This one is nice and easy. When I say engagement “profoundly influences how they perform,” I mean it profoundly influences how they perform.
Attach the endless list of the positive benefits of high performing employees here. Now, let’s move on.
Focus on building a real and authentic company culture. Don’t fake it. Take a genuine interest in how your employees feel. You’re the leader of your company for a reason. You possess innate passions and skills that will enable you to activate a real thriving culture in your workplace. It’s probably already happening naturally. Just get more intentional about it.
Ask your employees to help you come up with ideas for how your business can help its employees meet their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs. See more about this in the infographic below.
Then start trying things out and keep a constant loop of feedback to help you identify what’s really working to impact these needs. You’re on your way. Watch as growth, more satisfaction as a leader, and happy times follow.
The infographic below is inspired by the NY Times article Why You Hate Work by Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath.