Well-Being is Critical to Employee Engagement!

Research shows that those with higher levels of psychological well-being produce more, higher quality work and live overall happier lives. It is imperative to consider and measure employees’ well-being when designing employee engagement approaches.
 
 
Well-being is Critical to Employee Engagement
Well-being is Critical to Employee Engagement
 
June 24, 2011 - PRLog -- Engagement is being increasingly recognized as highly important for business performance and there seems to be more research and discussion about employee engagement emerging than ever before. The thought leadership around employee engagement is expanding to enable deeper, more meaningful discussion about the details and nuances of engagement theories and approaches.

In the new book, Well-being – Productivity and Happiness at Work, Ivan Robertson and Cary Cooper discuss the importance of considering employees’ psychological well-being when designing engagement approaches in order to ensure high levels of sustainable employee performance. This resonates deeply with me, how can we possibly ensure prolonged employee engagement without considering the basic psychological underpinnings of well-being?

According to Robertson and Cooper, there are two important aspects to well-being when it comes to employee performance and general health and resilience. The first involves the extent to which we feel positive emotions such as happiness. The second involves the extent to which we feel that what we do has meaning and purpose. Robertson and Cooper cite research that shows that those with higher levels of psychological well-being live longer, produce more and higher quality work, and live overall happier lives. The authors warn that not paying more or at least equal attention to psychological well-being of employees when improving engagement can lead to problems such as presenteeism (people coming to work when not healthy). Presenteeism can result in significant losses in employee productivity if workers take longer to get well when working or others become sick from exposure.

I agree with the authors’ suggestions that the answer is a holistic approach that acknowledges that the issue of employee engagement as inextricably tied to psychological well-being and that the two are mutually enforcing. This necessitates a more culturally focused approach that would be different for every organization based on their unique needs and circumstances. The authors acknowledge that practical metrics and baseline measurements are key for creating effective data-driven action plans. Well-being and engagement should be measured over time and in relation to each other and to productivity.

It is important that organizations are careful to look at the root causes of low engagement and low levels of psychological well-being and not only measure and address the symptoms! Certain quality management literature, such as the writings of W. Edwards Deming, along with complexity and systems theory, suggest that the problem always lies with the system and not with the employees themselves. Organizations must acknowledge the existence and variability of organizational systems and not hold employees responsible for mistakes that are the result of faults within the system!

There are enterprise software solutions on the market today that can increase well-being and employee engagement in measurable, system-augmenting, culture-enhancing ways. Our very own UpMo Career Mobilizer is one such solution. It addresses psychological well-being and engagement in a systemic way, increasing employee empowerment and transparency by matching employee skills, experience, and career aspirations with open positions and projects within a company. Mobilizer also enables internal networking about open opportunities, thus breaking down organizational silos and creating more of a culture of collaboration. There are other types of culture-enhancing, engagement solutions emerging as well and I am sure we will see a continued rise in the availability of such solutions as increased importance is placed on authentic employee engagement.

If you have any thoughts to share or stories about approaches to increasing well-being and engagement that impacted you or your organization you can visit my corresponding blog entry at http://www.upmo.com/blog/2011/06/21/well-being-is-critica... I’d love to hear them…

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About UpMo:
Employees Rule. UpMo provides the industry’s first employee-centric enterprise career management solution to emerging and large organizations. By helping people plan, pursue and manage their careers in a way that benefits both them and their companies, UpMo SaaS solutions help companies embrace employee mobility to dramatically increase productivity, reduce employee churn, and improve employee engagement. http://www.upmo.com
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