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70 percent of employees, including managers, have a negative experience of work. So businesses must find solutions that change this long-standing reality. While it may be daunting to change how you and your employees experience work, there are significant benefits to consistently doing energizing work.
What’s more, there are intrinsic benefits that are harder to quantify. However, they are equally, if not more, important to shaping perceptions of work.
One input to positively shape the experience of and be energized by work is strengths. Strengths are what energize you. For example, if one of your strengths is creativity the more work you do that flexes that strength the more energized you feel. The positive emotions you experience from energizing work has quantifiable benefits to results.
Studies on strengths have found that when a strengths philosophy is designed into the culture, employee performance increases 38 percent. When you or your employees are energized by work you are more focused, enthused, and can apply greater mental and physical strength to the task. These are key inputs to creating a high performance organization.
Even recruitment is positively impacted by tapping into strengths to energize the workforce. The Strengthscope Partnership found that customer retention improved by 44 percent when a company helped employees learn what energizes and drains them.
When our clients integrate a strengths-based philosophy into the culture a common misconception is employees will work only on energizing assignments. What drains people (the opposite of a strength) is a subjective conclusion. Therefore, it’s way too complicated to align work assignments based on strengths and drainers. What’s more, even well-crafted jobs have “unsexy” work. The goal, then, is to increase the amount of energizing assignments while balancing business needs.
Even if you don’t use an assessment to learn what energizes you and employees, there are sources to energizing work. Here are a few:
Meaningfulness | Work that is meaningful to you energizes and enthuses. Learn what is meaningful to you. Learn what significance people on your team gets from work that that they find meaningful.
Psychological Safety | Focus on creating a team environment where people feel safe to share their ideas and not worry about looking bad or unprepared for not knowing something. In other words, don’t beat people up for being different or not being “in the know.” Instead, focus on coaching people and modeling the way in terms of understanding differences and what barriers exist to staying informed.
Purpose-Orientation | Make sure you know how your work generates value for the company and its customers. That will make it easier for you to help your employees understand their role in generating value. As adults we need to understand “why” something is important.
You do not need to wait for permission from HR, or your CEO (if it’s not you). You can turn work into an energizing experience.
Seek out zero-cost solutions like these. Once discovered, you simply need to be willing to invest the time. One word of caution: avoid taking on this work by yourself. It’s energizing to involve the entire team in transforming the experience of work.
While a bit cliché, we are stronger when we do energizing work together.
This post originally appeared in Shawn’s weekly column on Inc.com.
Welcome to today’s episode of Work That Matters by WorqIQ! In this edition, your hosts Shawn Murphy and Mark S. Babbitt talk about improving the experience of work by understanding, and then improving, our Workplace Intelligence (or WQ).
But what does “Workplace Intelligence” really mean? To learn the answer to that question, let’s listen in!
As you enjoy this episode, you’ll learn that Workplace Intelligence – simply put – is your team’s collective Emotional Intelligence (EQ). You’ll also discover the seven drivers that impact your team’s and organization’s WQ:
As you’ve probably gathered, Workplace Intelligence is a new way to look at the experience of work. It is a way to understand exactly how you, as a leader, can inspire your people to do their best work. By focusing on WQ, leaders can impact culture, productivity, performance, retention and so many other critical business outcomes!
Take 30 minutes or so. Enjoy the listen. And then think about how understanding WQ might positively impact your organization.
Of course, we would love to hear your thoughts that help us all do more work that matters!
Contact us at email@example.com. Let us know about the topics you’d like to take on, and the guests you’d like to hear from. Also, share any questions or comments you might have. In future episodes, the WorqIQ team will be sure to answer! After all, this podcast is all about all of us changing the experience of work.
We are excited to announce that we are relaunching my original podcast, Work That Matters. Mark Babbitt and I will host the weekly show.
The focus has shifted since the last episode was released. The new show will focus on helping you learn ways to improve the experience of work by raising your workplace intelligence. Topics include the future of work, transformational leadership, reexamining what we know about truly positive, human workplaces and offering up new insights.
In the meantime, let’s get to the heart of our first new episode…
In this episode, we talk with China Gorman. China is the former CEO of Great Places to Work®. She now leads UNLEASH America, an organization that helps leaders prepare for the future of work. Here are some key highlights from this week’s new episode:
China Gorman is the former CEO of Great Places to Work. She now is the U.S. Managing Director for Unleash (Formerly HR Tech World.)
She is an advisor to companies and speaker on creating more human workplaces, the future of HR, and talent management practices from a CEO perspective.
Check out Unleash America’s upcoming event in Las Vegas, Nevada. Some of our favorite thinkers on the future of work are speaking at the event:
Going forward, new episodes will be released every Tuesday. We are eager to pick-up this very important topic–creating positive experiences of work. We would love to hear your ideas on topics and guests that fit our show’s focus. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, send along questions you might have. Mark and I will in future episodes answer questions you submit.
You’ve heard it before: No one person is more important than the whole team. This is especially true when building high performance teams.
The best teams win together, learn together and adapt together. They lose together and, over time, they grow together. In high performance teams, their interactions and communications are fluid, relevant, and even playful.
Astonishingly great teams are capable of achieving results in large part because their leader intentionally shapes the conditions that help people do exceptional work together.
The complexity of human nature and office politics can obfuscate where a leader needs to focus his/her attention. Amidst office drama, jockeying for resources, or decoding the tone of the boss’s emails, it is easy to become distracted and overlook what needs to be done to build great teams. These are, however, daily realities of business. The exceptional leader rises above the distractions. When that happens, these ten focus areas become more apparent paths to more meaningful work, and help build high performance teams.
Clarity is made up of four items: goals, priorities, expectations, and a short feedback loop. With clarity, a team knows where to shift its focus and determine the level of effort necessary to finish an assignment. In the absence of clarity, teams make up what they think is important. The leader is rarely pleased with the outcome.
It is easier to trust and understand colleagues when relationships are high-quality. Great teams make time to eat together, have coffee together, plan together, review progress, and even share a drink together. We find safety in relationships where there is a bond.
High-quality teams solve problems. They do not get to absorbed in idolizing the problem. Instead, they develop a bias for solutions and what is possible. Central to this focus is clarity and quality relationships. Clarity provides the parameters to solve problems. Relationships help us determine who needs to be involved and when to achieve the desired solution.
In a results-oriented culture, people practice radical candor. Author and consultant Kim Scott popularized the term in her book with the same name. Scott explains radical candor this way:
“Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly. When you challenge without caring it’s obnoxious aggression; when you care without challenging it’s ruinous empathy. Do neither, it’s manipulative insincerity.
It is maddening and demotivating to spend time on a project that goes nowhere. Progress is particularly powerful for teams. Leaders must remain aware of impediments to progress and then remove barriers swiftly.
A strength is not just what we are good it. It is also something that energizes. It’s a performance advantage to pair up a strategic thinker with another team member who is strong in execution. Know how to position team members to maximize their strengths individually and collectively. This also boosts work fulfillment.
A team that knows its purpose and how they make a difference can innovate, adapt to change more easily, and make stronger decisions. Purpose is a calling that unifies the team’s collective effort. Without purpose the team’s focus can meander, undermining performance and discipline.
Climate is what it feels like to work in the team. In a cause-and-effect relationship, employees’ perception of their boss influences their commitment and effort that ultimately effects results. As a leader, know what your actions and words create. Collaborative, affiliative, and coaching leadership styles have a positive effect on climate and motivation. On the opposite end of the spectrum are authoritative and controlling leadership styles. Both approaches undermine motivation and often lead to toxic workplaces.
In high performance teams, team members’ commitment and performance increase when they believe you are genuinely invested in their success. Broaden your perspective on growth. Instead of focusing only on professional growth, also spend time helping each person on your team grow outside of work. Simple ways to do this include not sending emails after 6 pm. This signals to employees that downtime from work is key. Another way to invest in your employees’ growth is paying for classes that enrich their lives.
Employees want greater alignment with their personal values and the company’s, too. One way to look at this growing workforce expectation is as a source of fulfillment. Fulfilling work is an intrinsic motivator that has a long-lasting influence on performance. Evaluating the opposite dynamic–believing in a value but not acting in alignment with it–we become anxious. Lasting cognitive dissonance becomes distracting and consumes our thinking. It is difficult to summon the mental focus to do phenomenal work when doubt shadows our thoughts and actions.
Each of the focus areas are important. But knowing when to use them is far more valuable and effective. The place to start? Understanding your current team’s reality versus where you need them to be in order to be considered one of your organization’s high performance teams.
In a tight labor market, employers need to develop a stronger workforce – and increasing employee engagement is an effective solution. However, many companies fail when it comes to engagement.
HR thought leader JoAnn Corley said, “Organizations are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on employee engagement programs, yet their scores on engagement surveys remain abysmally low.” In fact, according to Gallup, employee engagement is at a worldwide low of 13%.
A powerful engagement plan gives you a competitive advantage. Thought leader Fred Coon shared his insight with Forbes Magazine. He explained that to increase employee engagement employees want four things:
Leadership guru Simon Sinek argues that defining your “why” can’t be an afterthought. It’s the most crucial element that represents your business. Employees want to work with a company with a cause they can rally behind.
If you want employees to find meaning in their work:
It’s always a mistake to treat your employees as mindless drones. Do you want your employees to put their heart and soul into their work? Recognize them for who they are, not just the role they fill. If you recognize team members as individuals, they will contribute more to your organization. They’ll also allow the innovative side of themselves to come out more often.
If you want your employees to feel recognized as individuals:
Innovation isn’t just a buzzword. It’s a critical way that your company can gain an advantage entering new markets. Research finds that there’s a strong correlation between engagement and innovation.
If you want engaged employees:
If employees feel disrespected and they don’t know their work matters, they will do the bare minimum. However, they’re more engaged when they feel respected and valued. Treating employees this way makes them more likely to go the extra mile.
If you want employees to feel respected and valued:
Although it takes time to develop employee engagement, it’s an investment that pays off. Businesses with engaged employees outperform businesses with low engagement by 202%. Engaged companies also grow profits as much as three times faster than competitors.
Engaged employees have greater productivity and generate increased customer satisfaction. So ultimately, increasing employee engagement creates higher profits for the company.
When organizations choose to invest in their employees, it is a permanent game changer.
In the first article of this 3-part series on Capitalizing (on) Curiosity, I discussed the documented benefits of curiosity for companies at the individual, team and company-wide levels. And in the second article, I shared several easily cultivated mindsets known to be effective in promoting a curiosity-driven culture. This final installment in the series includes some simple, straightforward steps you can take to encourage, support, and promote curiosity at all levels of the organization.
In my first article of this 3-part series on curiosity, I discussed the essential role and corresponding benefits of curiosity in the workplace. This article delves deeper into what is necessary to create a curious-positive culture.
It starts with taking note of people’s mindsets (including your own). There are certain thought patterns that create the conditions for curiosity to soar, and enable it to have the greatest positive effect and overall impact on individuals and teams throughout the organization.
Hard evidence of the powerful benefits to companies who capitalize on curiosity has led many, in different industries across the globe to get on the curiosity band wagon and declare it a major priority. Yet, recent studies show while leadership believes they embrace the value of curiosity and actively encourage and support it, employees do not agree.
Great coaches skilled at bringing out the best in others have a zeal for enabling teams. Enabling employees, in this sense, means empowering team members with resources and ability to complete their tasks, and helping them develop the language and mindset to envision their own success.
The end of the calendar year (and for some of us, the fiscal year) is staring us down. If you’re reflecting on what you didn’t accomplish this year, this post is for you. If you’re procrastinating and thinking, “It’s almost the new year. I’ll wait and start accomplishing my goals then,” then this post is for you, as well.