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Employee Engagement, Happiness and Tips to Improve Both

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The last couple of years Human Research Development has come to focus more and more on Employee Engagement strategies in the belief that Engagement is essential to running a successful business.

Engagement has often been misinterpreted as Employee Happiness, and although Engagement and Happiness are not the same, the two are intricately connected.

In Employee Engagement 2.0 Kevin Kruse has said that “one needs to be fully engaged in order to achieve inner happiness,” and that for employees to be happy at work, they need to be fully committed to their jobs.

Kruse doesn’t mean to say that quite simply work will lead to happiness. What he means is that when employees find purpose, productivity and efficiency at work, they will become happier people.

The Henry Miller Group recently published “The 10 best practices for enhanced employee engagement” in which they describe highly engaged employees as being “committed to their organization and invested in its success. They are proactive in sharing their ideas, in promoting their company and organization inside and out, and they exert discretionary effort – above and beyond what is required just to earn their salary and stay employed.” In other words, the engaged employee shares a sense of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

But how do employees become so engaged?

Here are some tips on how to stimulate employee engagement from board to floor level based on recent publications by Catherine Truss and The Henry Miller Group:

Make CSR a strategic choice

Organizational development is key. Develop long-term strategies that explicitly include Employee Engagement as a priority on all management levels. Make sure the entire organization is aware of its importance, potential and benefits by communicating it top to bottom. Include accountability at managerial level to stimulate a whole team’s performance. Monitor retention rates, improved ratings, productivity and anything else that shows a correlation between Engagement and organization functioning.

Stimulate shared visions, goals and views

Clear visions, goals and views can unify a workforce. Senior leadership should lead by example and demonstrate the company’s principles. Having shared values also means making sure company objectives are aligned with the employee’s goals. Stimulate an early synergy by bringing these values into the hiring process.

Differentiate employee roles

Offer opportunities that meet the needs of the individual. Cultivate and harvest the skills of a unique employee. Allow them to excel at what they do best. Their productivity is your and their happiness and promotes engagement. Also, career progress is essential in retaining your employees.

Allow feedback

Stimulate open and honest communication from top to bottom and bottom to top. Be clear about what you want from your employees and get feedback on what they think works in engagement. Find out which rewards and benefits have the most impact on employee engagement. Stimulate both senior and junior staff to share experiences and anecdotes via social media. Encourage a transparent work environment.

Individual employee development and empowerment

Workplace learning and career development allows an employee to grow, but combined with tangible, clear-cut measurable goals it can enable and empower an employee. Make it easy to see the impact of an individual’s performance. And remember that Employee Engagement is a two-way street: coaching and mentoring can help employees better reach their goals.

Say ‘thank you’ for performance

Carina Wytiaz has suggested a simple and effective resolution for all employers to take on to stimulate Employee Engagement, Retention and to improve recruiting in 2014: to say ‘thank you’ for efforts. Wytiaz points out that employers should restore a sense of humanness to the work relationship, as personal recognition is essential to Engagement.

In his 2004 Ted Talk, American psychologist Martin Seligman said that a happy and meaningful life “consists of knowing what your highest strengths are, and using them to belong to and in the service of something larger than you are.”

Making employees feel they belong to a work community they can contribute to and in which they are appreciated will boost employee engagement faster than the Burger Baron can flip his patties.

Recognize the talent in your business! Nurture, harvest and appreciate it. – Click to Tweet


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