Employee Engagement and the Positive Approach

Together, we previously looked into the field of positive psychology, a field of study that focuses on the positive in life. Psychologists declare that happiness precedes success for individuals, both at work and at home, so let us pose this question: does happiness at work drive greater productivity? (Tweet This) Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace Report, which looks at employee engagement data from 2009 to 2012 at workplaces across the world, categorizes workers into three areas: engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged. Gallup describes engaged employees as pretty happy people who “work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.”

Gallup’s CEO and Chairman Jim Clifton puts the good stuff in the report up front. The findings show what good managers have known for decades: “Trying to get employees to fix their weaknesses doesn’t work. Weaknesses can’t be developed much at all — but employees’ strengths can be developed infinitely. The problem is, too many companies focus on fixing weaknesses, and this only breeds non-engagement or, worse, active disengagement. No company or country will win the economic World Cup with this approach. Great managers build development plans around every employee’s strengths. (Tweet This) When employees work from strengths, nothing motivates them to achieve more — not money, not love, not vacations, not good benefits, not company volleyball games, not motivational speakers. And employees working from their strengths do win new customers.”

This is huge, managers. Employee engagement – which correlates to involvement, commitment and productivity – relies on your positive approach to your employees. We’ll unpack this more in coming weeks.

Other research states that “happy” people get more work done. And it’s of better quality. Managers, please listen: your employees will be more successful in their goals and assignments from you if they are happy. We know that You cannot make your employees “happy,” so they must choose and pursue that for themselves! But there are some things you can do.

First, be an example yourself. How are you perceived by your employees and co-workers? Consider asking one who you trust. Prepare yourself to be humbled.

Next, take stock of the “happy” in your workplace environment. Do you greet each of your employees, each day? Are professionally appropriate personal relationships evident (sharing of each other’s lives)? Are people smiling? Do you feel like you know your employees? What is the tone during your staff meetings? What does customer service look like, both internally and externally? (if you say, “Ha! Schmustomer Smervice, please contact SGR’s Krisa Delacruz to set up some customer service classes!) When there are changes, budget cuts, deadlines, is it the end of the world? What is sick leave and vacation usage like? (By the way, happier and more productive people adapt to change more easily, use less sick leave, and they take vacations.)

After your assessment of your personal state of the workplace, imagine what you’d like your home away from home to be like. For you, what would the ideal workplace look like, sound like, and feel like? (Tweet This) If it’s within your power, make those changes! Knock down walls, literally and figuratively!

Lastly, don’t give up on pursuing a happier workplace when things don’t turn around immediately or obstacles are met. I hear all too often, “yeah, if Upper Management/Council/my Boss would do xyz, then we’d be able to be happier.” Lead from where You are. You’ll have more impact than you know.


Written by:
Heather Harrison
Development Manager

2 responses

  1. […] hope everyone got a chance to read Heather’s awesome blog on employee engagement yesterday. It’s a topic that has been much on my mind the last two weeks (it is a current […]

  2. […] Last week we read that employee engagement correlates to the level of commitment, involvement, and productivity displayed by an employee and by a workforce overall. An employee who is highly engaged or actively engaged would have high involvement, better retention and greater productivity. Gallup describes actively engaged employees as rare: “Engaged workers stand apart from their not-engaged and actively disengaged counterparts because of the discretionary effort they consistently bring to their roles. These employees willingly go the extra mile, work with passion, and feel a profound connection to their company. They are the people who will drive innovation and move your business forward.” […]

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