Today’s employees are exhausted, even those who are dedicated. They lack passion, resilience, drive, and enthusiasm, the personal energy that compels them to go above and beyond their duties continually.
To create a sustainable, innovative, and high-performing culture, organizations must focus on both engagement and energy. In essence, going beyond engagement as we know it today.
Below are ten ways leaders can change their approach to engagement and prioritize the energy:
Focus on the energy, not just engagement
We tend to lose our ability to concentrate, control emotions, make decisions, and take action when we are low on energy. Leaders protect employees’ executive functions by managing the energy rather than engagement. This can unleash the power that drives enthusiasm and innovation, and create sustained engagement.
Provide experiences, not promises
When elaborate recognition and reward programs and complicated performance management systems fail to deliver on leaders’ promises, workplace cynicism and employees view employee engagement as a scam. However, when leaders provide experiences, they can create a happy, productive, and often energized workforce.
Rely on emotion, not thought
We live and work in the “feelings economy” where emotions, not intellect, drive employee behavior. It’s been proven that emotional engagement outperforms rational engagement many times over! Understanding what matters most to your employees, and then acting on it, is an effective way to express compassion and support.
Converse one-on-one, not rely on surveys
Annual employee engagement survey results provide only a tiny glimpse into a vast picture. Leaders must move to frequent, personal, and meaningful conversations with employees to truly understand and motivate employees.
Strive for tension, not restfulness
Our natural reaction to tension is to interpret it as a threat. However, we are stimulated under pressure. Between the existing and the best way of doing things, there are many possibilities for inventive breakthroughs. The key is for leaders to learn to balance competing priorities when standing in the midst of the tension, rather than avoiding it.
Be a part of the team, not a supervisor
We are inclined to perceive shared responsibility as risk. As a result, leaders may resort to paternalism behaviors which subsequently brings negativity into the workplace. By shifting to a partnership style of management, leaders and employees can work together to create robust solutions that both parties are willing to embrace and implement.
Bring out the back story, not the action plan
Companies often take the results of employee engagement surveys at face value and create action plans that are the same for everyone. It’s fair to say that this guarantees employee resistance to any engagement initiative. Leaders who often talk to their employees can find out the backstory behind engagement results and work together to create conditions that generate meaningful and sustainable energy.
Think sticks, not carrots
Leaders often tend to offer “carrots” such as recognition programs, cheerleading, and inspiration. However, they should also pay attention to the “sticks”, which means recognizing and addressing psychological forms of workplace disruption such as bullying and conflict. In this way, managers can create an environment where employees can be their best selves – able to call on their knowledge, experience, skills, and strengths at any moment.
Focus on individual needs, not scores
When the individual needs of employees are not met, they may behave in unprofessional ways, like forming cliques and gossiping, thus permeating the organization with disruption, which impairs employees’ ability to use their executive function. By focusing on individual needs rather than on their annual survey scores, leaders can encourage their employees and maintain positive energy in the workplace.
Challenge capabilities, not feelings
It is not our ability, but our confidence in our knowledge and competencies that affects how effective we are. Leaders who have constructive discussions with their employees about identifying and addressing negative feelings, such as self-doubt, will give their employees a much stronger sense of agency.
Skilo is a Salesforce native app that provides a ready-to-use talent management solution. It streamlines, simplifies, and unifies the end-to-end process of talent acquisition, development, and retention. Skilo provides effective performance management, competency frameworks, along with skills development, career planning, training management, feedback, reviews, and social employee engagement. For more information, please visit www.skilohr.com, Skilo Linkedin profile, and Skilo Facebook page
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