For Employee Engagement, Accentuate the Positive
For positive employee engagement, don’t provide a workplace that is populated more by problem spotters than problem solvers.
No one wants to come to work where gloom and doom rules rather than a more optimistic and “can do” spirit. It’s all about the pervading corporate culture. If you as a leader focus more on what is going right and how to move forward than what is going wrong, the overall mood will lift as others follow your example. And why should you care? Besides making your environment more congenial and upbeat for you and your employees, employee engagement increases productivity by at least 12%. It would seem that happy employees should be a value of a company that cares about its employees as well as its business results.
Psychologists who study happiness recommend simple ways to protect against an overall thumbs-down atmosphere that you should include in any employee engagement training program:
- Begin every interaction or meeting with something positive. It can be as simple as a cheery, but sincere, greeting…or can involve contributions from everyone on their “Good News” of the week. Then you can move on to the business challenges. The point is to spread the belief that negative events are temporary and that problems can be solved.
- Recognize that how you tackle problems sends a message. As a leader, you can show that you believe that with honest effort and commitment, most problems can be solved. Your behavior sets the example. The way you talk about challenges matters. Are you crushed by bad news or do you explore ways it can be mitigated or turned around? If you consider a situation hopeless, there is no room to shine the light of hope. Your leadership style as you address problems influences those around you…some say by as much as 70%.
- Appreciate your employees. Everyone needs a pat on the back sometimes. Pay attention to those team members who work hard, who contribute great ideas, and who collaborate effectively to address tough issues. As you recognize workers who consistently perform above the standard, they will continue to strive for excellence and pull others along in their wake.
Your people can be your competitive advantage. The more they are engaged in their work, the better your business results will be. Care about your people and they will care about the enterprise. It is up to you as a leader to model and create a healthy and high performance culture where employees are valued and understand how they contribute to business success.