Employee Engagement Must Address Professional and Personal Performance Factors
“There are just too many external influences that affect employees’ performance. In fact, as my current team…reviewed client data to help them address their problems with engagement, we confirmed that most employee engagement models are centered around the work experience and not on the employees.”
This quote comes from a blog post on HBR, written by Susan LaMotta, a friendly competitor in workforce development.
She is spot on. We find the same dynamic in our work with clients: Replacing bad workplace habits with great habits cannot, indeed will not, happen if you focus them solely on work. It must encompass the whole person, and all the environmental factors that drive his or her existence. Fixing how a person develops relationships and works on issues with people doesn’t just impact their professional relationships. It impacts how they “work” with people in their private life, too.
How can you create a workplace engagement program that addresses the whole person?
- Use robust assessment tools that explore both behavior styles and personal motivators. We can offer some recommendations.
- Create situations “off site” where teams can learn more about each other professionally and personally. This does not have to be an Outward Bound extravaganza, but must be isolated from the day-to-day work environment and cut off as much as humanly possible from digital connectivity!
- Keep training focused on professional improvement. But, if they decide to explore how their new interpersonal skills can be applied in their personal life, don’t cut such a discussion off or direct talk back to “work situations” too quickly. That connection to the personal life is a critical “aha” for participants to find.
We cannot count the number of times a professional workshop generated feedback from the participants about how their new tools for working with others has improved or even resolved personal challenges at home. Here are just two:
A young secretary working for a Fortune 100 company used what she learned through us to take better charge of her home life.
- Achieving mastery of this part of her life freed up more energy to pour into work.
- This lead to a series of promotions into operational management.
- And she still reports to Brooke that her home life is thriving.
She has become a sterling example of how internalizing good habits (that is: habitualizing good behavior styles and interpersonal approaches) leads to higher productivity in all aspects of life.
A senior manager of an energy company in Asia sent us a long letter about how the increased understanding of the diversity of personal behavior styles and motivations led him to understand and appreciate his eldest son better, resolving a set of ongoing conflicts and leading to a deeper and more mutually satisfying relationship.
Nothing in life happens in isolation. The value you give to your team through professional development echoes throughout their work and private lives. There is a big caveat with this: You must design your program to help the employees stay the course and see the process through so that the new, more productive interpersonal habits are fully embedded and the old, bad habits really tossed away.