The Role of Well-Being in Sustaining Workplace Performance
I recently tapped into the resources of Engage for Success, a U.K.-based trade group with a mandate to focus like a laser on the key issues that underlie the struggle to fully engage employees and unleash their full potential. Our own work at Bovo-Tighe emphasizes a lot of what they champion.
One presentation in particular emphasizes the promotion of employee well-being as a key area of improvement for most employee engagement initiatives.
Two concepts are key within this short presentation:
“Employee psychological well-being is a cause of success not just an output from it.”
“Everyone plays a part,” from the CEO to the shop floor, and includes processes as well as people
Raising employee well-being is the critical first step in building a sustainable improvement in employee engagement:
- First, get the employees to understand themselves better, feel better about themselves and their capabilities, and foster a desire to take satisfaction from their own excellence, almost regardless of what happens around them.
- Next, we must connect their own internal motivations, their own values, to their role within the organization.
- Third, validate this commitment, and provide the resources they need to adopt and maintain this new, more energized mindset.
“Yes,” the organization says, “we value your emotional engagement in your role, and we want to help you sustain it.”
Then the organization proves it by actually providing the resources (coaching, mentoring and the like.) We always look to see this new, more productive mindset reflected in survey feedback. It might look like this:
“I work hard because it makes me feel better about myself, regardless of exactly how it impacts the bottom line.”
“When I create a new program around an interesting idea, that gives me joy at work, and makes me work hard to find another idea to get jazzed about.”
“As long as I am getting credit and appreciation for what I do each day, I don’t need the chance at a promotion to stay engaged in my role.”
The most sustainably successful employee engagement initiatives we run start with these fundamental but neglected development steps:
- Engage the employee in building up their own well-being.
- Reconnect them to their own aspirations, rejuvenate their internal motivations for doing well at work.
- Give them the tools to tap into those motivations and unleash their own reservoir of energy.
Higher engagement and productivity are best obtained through the employee’s own investment in achieving it, and by giving them the tools and ongoing support to take themselves through the habit-changing process.
Diagnosing the issues that underlie low employee engagement is not rocket science. All the tools you could ever need for running a good solid diagnosis of your workforce mindset, behavior patterns and frustrations have all be invented, and are available for use.
Actually fixing the problem, however, is a huge challenge, because it takes so much commitment on the part of everyone involved to stick to the program, eliminate the bad habits and negative mindsets, and sustainably embed the better habits that foster higher workplace engagement and productivity.