Posts Tagged ‘employee engagement’

The Top 12 Workplace Myths, as Commonly Misunderstood by All Generations

October 26th, 2011

Jim Finkelstein and Mary Gavin, authors of Fuse: Making Sense of the New Cogenerational Workplace put this list together over the many years they’ve been in the consulting business. They have found that these myths – shared by all generations –  cause most workplace misunderstandings and career catastrophes. I thought that you might enjoy reading the list. They are ordered by how frequently we experience their fallout in our work, from least to most.

12. You have to like your job to be happy.

11. The glass ceiling doesn’t exist any more.

10. The hardest workers get promoted.

9. Everyone has sex with co-workers.

8. Office politics is about backstabbing.

7. Do good work and you’ll do fine.

6. A great résumé will get you hired.

5. It’s better to emulate Donald Trump than to be yourself.

4. Millennials don’t work for the money but for the fulfilment.

3. E-mail is always the most efficient communication method.

2. The generation gap between Boomer bosses and Millennial workers hampers productivity and the pursuit of workplace happiness.

1. You can have it all.

So what do Finkelstein and Gavin suggest?

The most likable people get promoted, not the hardest workers.

Broadcast the work you’re doing, especially to your managers.

Be yourself. Really.

Without visual and auditory cues, people often misinterpret an email’s intent and message.

You cannot have it all. You can have the things you want most only intermittently.

To read the complete article featured by the Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/career-advice/careers-book-excerpts/top-12-workplace-myths-misunderstood-by-all-generations/article2214071/page1/

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore spirit at work and its contributing factors in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps renew employee wellness and increase performance and retention by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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Is having spirit at work simply following your passion?

October 18th, 2011

For some of us, spirit at work is about following our passion. For others, following a passion is not enough. We only have to look at the number of nurses, teachers and social workers who leave their chosen field after a few years, disenchanted. 

People who follow their passion can also lose their way. Once we lose touch with why we are doing the work we do and how it makes a difference, all the constraints, pressures and lack of resources can feel overwhelming. So how can we expect to feel good about our work, never mind experience spirit at work? 

Perhaps you have lost touch with what first drew you to your particular work. Maybe you took your job because you needed work and never took the opportunity to uncover the deeper meaning of what you do each day. You might be at a time in your life where work feels like an unsatisfying burden. Family and personal responsibilities may require you to stay in your current job. Perhaps you retire in a few years and want to leave your work in a good way – feeling good about your organization and your contribution. It doesn’t matter; you get your spirit at work back. And, if you never had it, you can create it. 

I have found that there are two ways to get to spirit at work: Discover and follow your passion, or find the deeper meaning in your current work. Do what you love or love what you do. Based on experiences of everyday people who have spirit at work, I have created and tested a process you can follow to bring forth or enhance your spirit at work. What follows are nine ways to foster your spirit at work. Don’t be fooled by their simplicity. These ideas have been tested. Moreover, most of them have empirical support from other fields.

I invite you to join The Power of Spirit at Work, a six-week eCourse starting October 22. How it works: This 18-hour, 6 week eCourse is presented in six parts, one each week. It includes videos, self-assessments, readings, facilitated e-discussions, and, if you are collecting Continuing Education Credits (e.g., this qualifies for 18 Category A credits), a post test. Click on the link for more information and pricing.

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Creating Spirit at Work

October 16th, 2011

How do you feel about your work? Seriously. Do you look forward to work every day? Most days? Even some days? Are you passionate about your work? Do you feel good about the work you do and the contribution you are making? Are you making a difference or are you just making money? 

There is more to work than putting in eight, ten or twelve hours a day. Work is much more than meeting deadlines and coming in under budget. And there is definitely more to work than a paycheque and pension. Money isn’t everything and it certainly doesn’t buy the fulfillment many of us are seeking. Yes, we need money to put a roof over our head and food on the table, but once we have that, most of us find we are looking for more. That “more” is an opportunity to make the world a better place. To do meaningful work and make a difference in the lives of others. To feel good about what we are doing. To have spirit at work. 

Spirit at work is present in people who are passionate about and energized by their work. These are the people who would continue to work even if they won a lottery, because to them, work is an opportunity to make a contribution. Spirit at work is something that is inside each person. Accessing it is an inside job. 

This blog is about spirit at work: What it is and how we can foster it. Any yes, we can foster it.

Starting October 22, I am offering The Power of Spirit at Work, a six-week eCourse. This 18-hour, 6 week eCourse is presented in six parts, one each week. It includes videos, self-assessments, readings, facilitated e-discussions, and, if you are collecting Continuing Education Credits (e.g., this qualifies for 18 Category A credits), a post test. Click here for more information and pricing.

Because I have been tardy in getting this newsletter out (those darn competing priorities) I have decided to extend the early bird rate. That is already in addition to the already reduced introductory fee – something we have decided to do for each new course.

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Employee Engagement in 2011

April 12th, 2011

To fully achieve the benefits of a more engaged organization, the entire workforce needs to be accountable for their piece of the ‘engagement equation’.  Each individual is accountable for his or her own engagement.  Supervisors and managers have a role to coach team members to higher levels of engagement and manage his or her own engagement. And executives set the tone and create the culture fosters engagement. While employee engagement starts with the leader, everyone in the organization shares responsibility.

Not surprising, employee engagement continues to be a top priority in 2011. BlessingWhite is one of many organizations researching global employee engagement. I thought you might be interested in the key findings from their 2011 Employee Engagement Report.

  • 31% are Engaged, 17% are Disengaged and the rest fall in between.
  • There is a strong correlation between engagement levels and age, role/level, and tenure in the organization.
  • More employees are looking for new opportunities outside their organization than in 2008.
  • Engaged employees plan to stay for what they give; the Disengaged stay for what they get.
  • Employees worldwide view opportunities to apply their talents, career development and training as top drivers of job satisfaction.
  • Trust in executives appears to have more than twice the impact on engagement levels than trust in immediate managers does.
  • Managers are not necessarily doing the things that matter most. The actions most correlated with high engagement are not always the ones that receive the most favorable ratings.
  • Executives appear to struggle with key leadership behaviors, especially what’s required to create a high-performance culture.
  • Engagement surveys without visible follow-up action may actually decrease engagement levels, suggesting that organizations think twice before flipping the switch on measurement without 100% commitment for action planning based on the results.

So what do you make of these findings? Where do you fit in the engagement equation? And what are you doing to fulfill your part?

Similar to BlessingWhite, we find that the creation of spirit at work – that sense that we are fully engaged and inspired by our work – is a shared responsibility between the employee and employer. It is when each individual takes responsibility and the organization as a whole does its part that the magic and the results become evident.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore spirit at work and its contributing factors in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps renew employee wellness and increase performance and retention by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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Posted in Attracting and Keeping Employees, Creating organizational conditions, Emerging from the Recession, Employee Engagement and Spirit at Work | Comments (0)

What makes social workers happy and what keeps them in the field?

April 6th, 2011

Social workers experience higher than average levels of attrition, stress and burnout than other helping professions such as nursing and teaching. Whereas 6 per cent of American nurses and 8 per cent of teachers left their occupations in any given year from 1992 to 2001, the figure was 15 per cent among social workers. Researchers at the University of Calgary suspect similar findings in Canada.

Common issues faced by social workers include scope of practice, perceived freedom and flexibility, work-life balance, support mechanisms in their workplaces, the physical workspace itself, as well as their relationships with clients and colleagues, including supervisors.

“Social workers, by their very nature, care about people,” says John Graham, a U of C social work professor. “People in human services . . . suffer from high caseloads (and) need the support to do their jobs.”

Given this concern, Graham, along with PhD Candidates Andrea Newberry and Micheal Shier teamed up to investigate what made social workers happy and what kept them in the field. This positive and affirmative approach is in high contrast to the traditional problem-based approach such as studying sources of stress and burnout.

Surveys were sent to 2500 social workers in Alberta. Of the 700 returned, the researchers completed in-depth interviews and job shadowing with the 13 “happiest” social workers.

The happiest social workers reported higher levels of fulfilment in areas such as flexible work schedules, better work-life balance and a stronger sense of engagement.  Having a high degree of freedom built into their jobs gave them the flexibility to manage the demands of their jobs with their personal lives including the opportunity for “self-care.”  This behind-the-scene support made a big difference and enabled them to do their jobs well.

“We’re much better at helping others when we’ve learned to find satisfaction and happiness in what we do, and to develop organizational cultures that reinforce these principles,” says Graham.

Their findings have implications for a variety of career fields. Our experience and research tells us that when employees get to the heart of what matters about their work, when they feel like they are making a difference, and they feel like they are part of a community, employee spirit at work –that sense that we are fully engaged and fulfilled by our work – increases. When employers create the conditions to foster spirit at work, the effects can only multiply.

We have demonstrated that not only can you increase spirit at work, as it increases so too does personal well-being, job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Client service and productivity goes up. And absenteeism and turnover goes down.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore spirit at work and its contributing factors in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and inspirational speaker, she helps renew employee wellness and increase performance and retention by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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Posted in Attracting and Keeping Employees, Creating organizational conditions, Employee Engagement and Spirit at Work, Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup, Getting to Spirit at Work | Comments (0)

How are you going to foster your spirit at work this year?

January 25th, 2011

What is it about your work that moves your heart? Or does it? Are you satisfied with where you are at with your work and the contribution you are making? Or, are you like most people, looking for more?

Looking for an opportunity to make the world a better place. To do meaningful work and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Work gives us an opportunity to find meaning and fulfillment that we are so desperately seeking. It provides us a way to make a contribution; a difference in the lives of others. It gives us a chance to create a sense of community and to belong.

I have been researching and promoting what I call spirit at work for a decade. It is now, my life’s work. Spirit at work is about finding meaning and fulfillment through our work. About being fully engaged and energized by what we do. Understanding we make a contribution through our work and feeling good about it.

We have learned that when we get to the heart of what matters about our work, when we feel that the work we are doing is important and can see how we make a difference in the lives of others, and when we share a common purpose with our colleagues or clients everything changes. For us, our organization and the people we are serving.

The creation of spirit at work is a shared responsibility: shared between us and our employer. But, it begins with us. That is where the power lies.

How are you going to foster your spirit at work this year? Who can you call upon to act as your accountability partner?

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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How might we create stronger, more connected communities at work?

May 19th, 2010

How would our workplaces be impacted if we made it easier for employees to gather over a cup of tea? If we created an environment for colleagues to come together for conversation and a sense of community? Like the CommuniTea Infusion van is doing for community residents?

The City of Edmonton and the non-profit Edmonton Learning Community have just made it easier for residents to come together for a cup of tea. Residents are encouraged to invite the CommuniTea Infusion van – a mobile tea house – to their community. All they have to do is let their neighbours know when it is coming.

At the predetermined time, the CommuniTea Infusion van drives to the established location and creates a town square where neighbours can gather, listen to music and share a cup of tea and conversation.

Ben Weinlick, a director with the learning community says the van “is a catalyst for people to come together. It is the simple idea that conversations can sow the seeds of stronger, more connected neighbourhoods.”

The CommuniTea Infusion concept is based on Portland’s T-Horse and Jim Diers, a Seattle-based community engagement expert. What if we used a similar notion to engage the community at work?

My research has shown that belonging and feeling that we are part of a community is a key dimension of spirit at work – that sense that we are fully engaged and that our work is meaningful and fulfilling. It is a matter of rethinking our work.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work. Chapter two delves into the dimensions of spirit at work - a sense of community is one.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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Communicating with Employees Helps Boost Engagement during Difficult Times

March 11th, 2010

With employee engagement continuing to take a dip, employers are grasping at ways to turn it around. A recent study by Towers Watson – Capitalizing on Effective Communication: How Courage, Innovation and Discipline Drive Business Results in Challenging Times – points to communication as a key driver of engagement. Especially in difficult times.

Communication arises as a concern in almost every consulting project I am involved in. Employees simply not being informed. Not understanding how their work fits in with the big picture. The lack of communication clearly contributes to employee disengagement. Yet it is often overlooked as a contributor to employee engagement.

Employers that keep the lines of communication open are in the best position to keep employees engaged, retain key talent, provide consistent value to customers and deliver superior financial performance. In fact, companies with the most highly effective communicators had 47 percent higher total returns to shareholders over the last five years compared with firms that had the least effective communicators. Now that is worth taking note of.

To best position themselves to succeed in an uncertain future, Towers Watson conclude that employers need internal communication programs that are courageous, innovative and disciplined.

Successful organizations have the courage to talk about what employees want to hear. They explain the rationale behind difficult decisions, provide leadership training and actively address the impact on employees.

High-performing companies are innovative. By delivering messages on customer feedback and increasing productivity, they make sure employees see how they affect the business.  

They make greater use of social media to reach a diverse workforce in real time than do other organizations. They understand that failing to focus on these objectives now will compromise their ability to move ahead quickly when the business environment improves. 

High-performing organizations are disciplined. They take the time to document their communication plans and develop metrics to assess their success and identify areas for improvement. The best tie their measures to the organization’s strategic business goals and have a communication advisory group.

How is the communication in your organization? Is everyone clear about the direction your organization is going? The changes that are taking place?  The impact that will have on the employees and the people you are serving? How long has it been since employees were told that they were appreciated for their contribution?

 Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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Presenteeism at Work: The Hidden Costs

February 12th, 2010

We all know about the impact of absenteeism on the workplace and productivity. But have you heard about “presenteeism”? Presenteeism is a term used to describe people who show up to work, but do not perform to their capacity.

Presenteeism was first used by Dr. Cary Cooper, an organizational psychology and health professor at Manchester University in the UK to describe the overwork and feelings of job insecurity resulting from downsizing and restructuring in the 1990s. When they feel at risk of losing their job, employees feel an overwhelming need to be putting in more hours, or at least appear to be working long hours.

Perhaps you have an employee or a colleague who continually shows up to work coughing and sneezing and spreading their germs. This is another form of presenteeism. Employees who come to work despite illnesses (asthma, migraines, back troubles, depression) are less productivity and may even cause a colleague to get sick. A study completed by Desjardins Financial Security indicated that 42% or Canadian workers went to work sick or exhausted at least once in 2007. Why? Concern about looming deadlines, workload pile-up, overloading colleagues and loss of income. In many organizations, missing work is frowned upon.

Presenteeism is also related to disengagement. Employees who are moderately engaged in or actively disengaged from their work show up, but do not produce. This has a significant impact on morale and productivity. Towers Perrin found that companies with the highest level of employee engagement achieve better financial results and are more successful in keeping their valued employees than those companies with lower levels of engagement. The reverse is also true.

Presenteeism is more common in tough economic times and when unemployment is high, likely because people are afraid to lose their jobs. A long-term study showed that absenteeism declines as unemployment rates increase, while presenteeism increases. Even though employees may be dissatisfied with their jobs and lack commitment to their organization, they will show up if they fear that they will lose their job. This doesn’t mean that they will work.

Researchers say that presenteeism can cut productivity by one-third or more. In fact, presenteeism has been shown to be more costly than its cousin absenteeism or disability. Some researchers believe that the cost of presenteeism could be around 7-9 times more than that of absenteeism.

It is time to rethink work. Rather than cutting back, forward thinking employers are spending to save. They know that employees want to be engaged. They want to feel good about the work they do and the contribution they make. They want to work for a secure organization that allows them to grow and develop a career. They want to work for an employer that they can feel good about. Forward thinking companies are helping employees become engaged.

How do you engage employees? Help employees discover spirit at work. We have found that employees can develop spirit at work and become fully engaged in their work simply by rethinking their work – which by the way is the title of my book. Here are some ideas to get you started:

o Get to the heart of what matters about your work. Be clear about what you are here for, who you are serving and the real point of your work. Connect to the deeper purpose of your work.

o Appreciate who you are and the contribution you (and your colleagues) make through work.

o See your work as an act of service. Who are you serving and why? How can you best help your client, customer or patient? After all, it is about them, not us.

o Refill your cup. Manage your energy. Take time to replenish and rejuvenate.

The responsibility for fostering spirit at work is shared between the employee and the employer. While several organizational conditions contribute to or impede spirit at work, we have found that the key is inspired leadership. It is the leader who sets the tone, creates the culture, inspires the vision and purpose, and recognizes the contribution of employees. More about this in another blog.

I work with employees and organizations to cultivate SAW and we have found that work attitudes improve, absenteeism and turnover go down, and as you would expect, presenteeism also decreases. Start rethinking your work today for a better tomorrow.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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Employee Engagement: What is an employer or employee supposed to do?

February 5th, 2010

Research is showing us that what drives engagement is different for different groups, whether that be generations, sector, gender, or position. However, a study completed by the Kingston University for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), found that two factors were most important in driving up engagement, for all groups.  and employee voice emerged as the most important drivers, regardless of group or sector. The third most important driver was the way in which senior managers communicate with employees.

Meaningfulness of work

Here are three ways to increase employee engagement:

1. Connect to the meaning underlying the work

We want to know that our work matters. That we are making a difference. That someone or something is benefiting. Understanding the meaning underlying our work is key to being fully engaged and to experiencing spirit at work.

All work has meaning. While it is easier to see the meaning underlying a public sector position or a job of service such as teaching, nursing or social work, it is important to dig for the meaning in all jobs. Employers can help employees make the link between their work and the broader organizational goals and to connect with the organization’s deeper purpose.

Appreciating the contribution we make through our work goes a long way to increase our spirit at work and our sense of well-being. In my workshops, I help employees uncover the deeper meaning of their work, why it matters to them, and to appreciate themselves and their contribution. I also help them make the connection between their work and the deeper purpose of the organization.

2. Ensure that employee’s have a voice.

Regardless of what role we play within the organization, we want to be acknowledged and heard. Not surprisingly, being heard and having the ability to share your views upwards was the second engagement driver. We want to be involved. To participate. To be able to express our views. And to know that our opinions will be taken seriously by our immediate supervisor and senior managers.

There are several ways to give employees a voice. The most important is to create an environment where employees feel like they can contribute openly and honestly and that their opinions matter. Then, ask for their opinion and ideas. Give them an opportunity to participate in planning sessions. Ask for advice in meetings. Make sure that you let them know they are being heard.

3. Share the vision and make communication a priority.

I believe that the key role of senior management in any organization is to create a compelling vision for the organization. What is the purpose of this organization? What do we stand for? Where are we going? The next step is to share the vision and deeper purpose of the organization with employees and to inspire employees to fulfill that purpose and achieve the vision. To connect with the vision and see how their work contributes.

Communication is key. Almost every employee survey points to concern with communication. Yet, for employees to be fully engaged, they need to experience communication. Both ways. Earlier we spoke about the need for employees to have a voice. Here we are talking about information coming to the employee and senior management being open, approachable and transparent.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our monthly newsletter where we will explore this topic in more detail. Read the book Rethinking Your Work (link below) and learn how to create spirit at work.

Val Kinjerski, PhD, is a leading authority in the field of employee engagement and on the topic of “spirit at work.” A consultant, agent of change and professional speaker, she helps companies and organizations increase employee retention and boost productivity by reigniting employees’ love for their work. Check out her Spirit at Work Program and Inspired Leadership training at www.kaizensolutions.org. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at www.rethinkingyourwork.com.

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