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When Engagement Grows, Productivity Follows
Recent studies show very strong links between the amount of attention employers give to well-being activities and the productivity they achieve. This article explores what encourages individual engagement and how it becomes sustainably productive.
Employees who are engaged with their company give up to 57% more effort than those who are disengaged and are 87% less likely to resign, according to a study from Corporate Executive Board. And a study from Right Management shows that when health and well-being are promoted at work, employees are eight times more likely to be engaged and organisations are three times more likely to be productive. This shows that engagement is at the heart of achieving productivity and innovation and gives added weight to the importance of focusing on well-being at work so that engagement becomes a natural outcome of the climate generated within the workplace.
So if we are to achieve higher productivity and innovation in the workplace, what are the core activities that will enable us?
As ever, higher organisational productivity is achieved by the collective extra effort of many individuals. Productivity can improve when each individual employee can achieve and give their best. If each employee has meaningful work defined through meaningful goals, and works closely with someone who supports consistent progress, then a positive climate will grow.
1. Meaningful work
Most of us assume that the work we do is meaningful in terms of the wider organisation. But we can only be certain if we can see the connection between our objectives, tasks and achievements and the published vision, mission and strategy of the organisation and we take ownership for achieving them. Any disconnect creates a question in our mind as to the relevance of our work. And that question creates internal stress that takes energy and reduces our capacity for achievement. In order to maximise productivity we need to remove doubts and clarify the links between the work that each individual does and what the organisation needs to achieve bottom-line success. So the task for the manager is to make sure a strategic conversation takes place on a continual basis with each employee.
2. Meaningful goals
Some self-starting employees are very capable in breaking their topline objectives into smaller achievable goals and getting on with delivering these. Others find the task quite daunting and put their time to less efficient use. We all recognise procrastination and the wide range of displacement activities we can use to avoid difficult or unpalatable tasks. The skill of goal setting is critical to individual performance and needs to become an inherent discipline at work. For the manager, it is really important to encourage goal setting to become a discipline and ensure it is being practised effectively by all team members.
3. Progress support
Productivity comes from many small things being done very well and as quickly as possible. When we are really productive, time is not lost unnecessarily and we move forward in the knowledge that we are working well. We expect that the standard of our work is high and that the quality of our output is consistently good and unlikely to be challenged. So as a manager it makes sense to create a climate where employees can feel certainty about the standard and quality of their work. This can only be achieved by paying close attention to the actions and output of each employee, recognising their successes and helping them to review possible improvements to implement for themselves.
As a leader it is critical to show that you care about each employee as a person and about their well-being as your employee. Your team will be happier, more productive, and results will show in the bottom line.