Meaningful Work Is the Best Cure for the Fear of Engagement

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Engaged WorkersWhat kind of results would you dare to expect of an ice hockey team that has only 2.6 players who are willing to give everything they’ve got for the team? 12.6 players don’t really care about the end result and 4.8 are just waiting for the beach balls to be thrown on the ice.

According to a Gallup survey, employee engagement matters. Organizations that had at least 9.3 engaged employees per one unengaged grinch achieved 147 % better Earnings Per Share than their competitors.

This should at least draw the attention of business decision-makers, but engagement should also be in the interest of the employee. It happens to be so that the engaged employees felt their lives to flourish three times more likely than the unengaged. So what’s so wrong about being inspired and engaged?

Cures for the Fear of Engagement

We believe that the fear of engagement at work eases, if the person can feel that she’s doing a meaningful job. Work becomes meaningful when the employee

1) respects the shared goals of the working community,
2) understands how her work is connected to the goals,
3) can build her success on her strengths,
4) receives respectful, yet guiding feedback from her supervisors and colleagues about her successes and failures,
5) is given the chance to take care of both her physical and mental welfare by exercising, getting enough rest and eating healthy.

In addition, the Gallup survey emphasizes that you should invest on recruiting the right people and try to combine the strengths of the employee with the right work tasks. Employee welfare is of course important as well.

Janne wrote in June about the way we at Cloudriven found the cure for the fear of engagement. He highlighted three important aspects:

1) Manage weeks, not years
2) Choose three things you promise to deliver
3) Create positive social pressure to motivate

The first point is usually forgotten in many organizations, because many times the management is so focused on the figures that the actions behind the results are neglected. All kinds of policy action programs may still be launched, if the white papers support those. The most important thing is still missing, though. The actions! In these cases the end result typically is either a complex organizational chart that includes comprehensive descriptions of the main processes and subprocesses, a new information system or a prestudy that comes with a long list of development proposals. Whereas in organizations where people share the same goals, not one of the working weeks is the same and work is done a little bit differently every week. At the same time this indicates that

a) the management has successfully communicated the shared goals and defined the weekly critical actions together with the employees,
b) the respectful yet guiding feedback has been given to the right people, so that actions can be changed.

Most of us want to keep our word when we’ve promised something. So just the mere act of promising out loud what we want to accomplish during a working week drives most of us to make an effort. No one wants to give excuses, at least not every week. Transparency and the freedom of choice combined with meaningful rewarding creates a proper positive pressure to get your weekly tasks done.

The second part of the blog post will be published on week 36.

3 replies
  1. Avatar
    Nitin Bawsay says:

    Do agree to the need to engage and would support the end-goals that an organization can achieve when they are successfully able to engage the teams!

    However, the biggest challenge that I see in many organizations is the transparency in communication. Goals, once defined for a week-over-week actions at every individual level – from the top to bottom, need to be fine-tuned as we get into the changes occurring each week. Communicating objectively, to every level, why their actions/tasks changed this week, is what is the key to bring them on board and reap the most out of the engagement.

    Hope I am making sense 🙂

    • Jukka Koskenkanto
      Jukka Koskenkanto says:

      Thanks Nitin for the comment. I see it in a way that the missing transparency (and even missing management) affect a lot to engagement. I consider the employee engagement as an end result of well working transparent communication and a few other critical things. I will discuss about these problems and our ways to solve them in the next post about the topic. The post will be published on week 36 🙂

      • Avatar
        Nitin Bawsay says:

        I do agree to that Jukka! Communication comes first!

        I’ll look forward to reading the second part.

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