What Makes Employees Fully Engaged at Work?

Years ago, people would get a job and stay with it for years; possibly until retirement.  Today, we live in a much different environment where employees look for jobs that align with their values and easily move to other companies, if the environment doesn’t suit them.  Consequently, it is not unusual to see employees change jobs as regularly as every couple of years, if not more frequently. On the flip side, some employees stay in their positions but lose their passion for performing at peak levels gradually over time.  So what are some things employers can do to keep employees engaged and dedicated to their organization?

  1. Make sure employees are an integral part of the team.  Their opinions and ideas need to count and be heard.  As an employer, make sure employees at all levels have the chance to express their thoughts about organizational processes and ideas.  Oftentimes organizational leaders do not see areas of growth or improvement because they are not in the trenches. Further leaders can become blind to inefficiencies because they become status quo and our brain ceases to analyze them.  This is why many of our advances come from new employees who are looking at processes with a fresh perspective. Employees who perform the work should be tapped for their expertise and insight at all levels. By doing so, they feel valued, included and important.
  2. Included employees in change.  Consider David Rock’s SCARF model for change.  Humans naturally do not like change so it is really important to manage it effectively to keep staff engaged and positive.  Make sure employees feel safe and have a chance to collaborate on the change being considered especially when it relates to their immediate responsibilities. Also, make sure the change is as fair as possible to all involved and consider how the change will impact the status of those affected.  People will resist change that lowers their status. Finally, connect the dots for employees sooner than later. When our brains cannot connect all the dots, they tend to connect the dots negatively and create threatening possibilities. This creates a stress response that can be avoided will frequent communication all along the way.
  3. Allow schedule flexibility.  The happiest employees can manage their time and schedule.  Happier employee means more effective, engaged employees.  Consider allowing employees to manage their schedule around their life so long as their work responsibility is being covered.
  4. Use regular, positive feedback that redirects directly but gently.  Consider weekly meetings to review what went well the week before and what was good but could be improved upon.  It is a more positive approach which is received better than constructive criticism which is really still just criticism.  By creating a dialog, employee feel included, valued and stay engaged.?
  5. Foster a dynamic workplace and continual learning.  When a company is really at the top of its game, it is exciting to come to work.  Further, our brains like new shiny things so the opportunity to learn new information keeps us engaged and interested.  As we learn more, our brains stay fresh and we see value in the relationship.
  6. Utilize Servant leadership – Leading with the idea of how we can best serve our employees and make their lives easier is beneficial.  When employees know the organization is really there for them, too, they are more likely to be all in.  How can we help employees reach their higher goals? Spend more time on your people and they will spend more time with you.

Available for Interviews: Carol Barkes

Carol Barkes is a trend-setting mediator, business executive and educator specializing in the use of neuroscience to improve business performance, interpersonal communications, negotiation and conflict resolution processes for optimally successful results.

Jo Allison
Success In Media

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