Posts Tagged ‘job satisfaction’

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)

Finding Meaning in Health Care Leads to Increased Job Satisfaction

November 11th, 2009

Nowhere is it more important to find meaning in one’s work than in health care. The emotional stress experienced by health care employees to provide quality of care during times of staff shortages and administrative demands to perform with fewer resources is taking its toll. The demands of the health care environment have resulted in the need for nurses to find coping mechanisms to decrease the stresses of their work. One such way is to find meaning and fulfillment in their work.

The literature suggests that nurses are most fulfilled when they feel they are making a difference in the lives of others, when they are able to complete a job to the best of their ability, and when they are helping other people learn.

I have found that not only does finding meaning and fulfillment in one’s work – something I call spirit at work – take the bite out of stress, it contributes to a sense of well-being, increases job satisfaction and commitment to one’s work and organization. At the same time, absenteeism and turnover goes down. All of which are good for the employee, the patient, and the bottom line.

The research of Rhonda Bell, PhD, Health Care Management Consultant provides additional support. Rhonda examined the relationship between spirituality and job satisfaction among registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. She had hoped to gain an understanding of the relationship between the elements of spirituality (purpose and meaning in life, innerness or inner resources, unifying interconnectedness, and transcendence) and job satisfaction (general job satisfaction, intrinsic satisfaction, and extrinsic satisfaction) levels among nursing professionals.         

As expected, Dr. Bell’s research showed a significant correlation between spirituality and job satisfaction. The more nursing staff felt that they had purpose and meaning in their life, had inner resources to draw upon, and experienced a sense of connection and transcendence, the more satisfied they were with their work.  

The relationship between spirituality and intrinsic job satisfaction was even stronger which suggests that nurses may be more satisfied with the intrinsic factors of job satisfaction when they are more spiritually oriented.

So how can we apply these findings in health care?

Employee retention is key to resolving the nursing shortage issue. Introducing a spirit-at-work program will go a long way to reconnecting nurses to their work, the patient, their colleagues, and their organizations. How? We take employees through a process of rethinking their work. The program helps them to find meaning and fulfillment by getting to the deeper purpose of their work. Discovering how they make a difference in the lives of others. Developing a sense of community with their colleagues where they feel that they belong and share a common purpose. Connecting to something larger than self.  That is spirit at work and when we experience it, everything changes.

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 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 http://www.kaizensolutions.org/. Val is the author of Rethinking Your Work and Rethinking Your Work Guidebook. Available now at http://www.rethinkingyourwork.com/.

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Posted in Creating organizational conditions, Employee Engagement and Spirit at Work, Employee Wellbeing: Refilling the Cup, Purpose and Meaning In Work, SAW and Organizational Outcomes, Transforming Health Care | Comments (3)

Engaged Employees Have Happier Home Lives

August 26th, 2009

Want a happier home life? Become more engaged at work. That is the latest finding of the Kansas State University. Psychology researchers found that positive work experiences of engaged employees carry over for a happier home life. Employees who are engaged in their work have better moods and more satisfaction at home. This was the case regardless of workload – heavy or light work hours were not a factor.

Culbertson, who presented the research findings at the annual conference for Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, said, “Our research indicated that individuals who were engaged in positive experiences at work and who shared those experiences with significant others perceived themselves as better able to deal with issues at home, became better companions and became more effective overall in the home environment.”

Being fully engaged in our work is not the same as being addicted to work or being a workaholic. Engagement refers to positive work involvement, whereas workaholism and work addiction refers to negative forms of job involvement which contribute to higher levels of work-life conflict.  And, prior research has shown that people who experience high levels of work-family conflict also tend to experience lower job satisfaction, poorer health, lower job performance and a greater likelihood of leaving the organization. In fact, stress at work and stress at home interact in ways that affect outcomes in both domains. But we already knew that, right? It is impossible to separate the two.

In addition to increased job satisfaction and commitment, improved health, enhanced job performance and better retention, we now know that employees who are fully engaged in their work experience happier home lives. All the more reason for organizations to make employee engagement a priority. Now that is a win-win!

In our own research, we have found that we can increase employee engagement and spirit at work simply by rethinking work. Start rethinking work today for a more rewarding tomorrow!

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Posted in Employee Engagement and Spirit at Work, SAW and Organizational Outcomes | Comments (3)

Why has the public sector gone from being a noble calling to having the highest absenteeism rate?

August 10th, 2009

Working for the public sector used to be considered a noble calling. Today, Statistics Canada reveals that employees in the federal public service have the highest rate of absenteeism in the country. They are followed by health-care and social service providers, provincial public servants and municipal employees. Absenteeism is lowest in the private sector.

Absenteeism rates have been rising in all sectors since the late 1990s. The average days lost to absenteeism due to sick leave, family demands, and other personal reasons has gone from 7.4 days per worker in 1997 to 10.2 days in 2007. For public service employees, the rated jumped to 16.2 days per worker per year on average.  These days are on top of vacation time, maternity leave and other scheduled time off.

Why the difference? Statistics Canada points to an aging workforce, increased women in the workforce, higher stress levels, and more generous sick and family-related leave policies in the public services.

Others point to low morale as the cause. In a recent poll by Angus Reid, one-third of Canadians think it is more honourable to work in the private sector as compared to 15 percent who believe the working for the government is more honourable. Given a choice, 43% of those surveyed said they would choose careers in the private sector, whereas only 33% would choose the public sector.

Those interested in the private sector are drawn by the creativity, salaries and mobility. Those attracted to the public sector say it is because of the generous benefits and job security. Only one-quarter say they were drawn by a “vocation of service.” I believe that this is the root of the absenteeism concern.

While benefits and job security are important, particularly as we weather the recession, they do not give us that deeper meaning and fulfillment so many of us are seeking. They do not give us the feeling that our work is honourable. We need to know that our work matters, that we are making a difference through our work – to have something we call spirit at work. Others call it work engagement, happiness at work or flow, but it all refers to feeling good about our work and the contribution we are making.

Spirit at work can be developed. I took a team of workers through the Spirit-at-Work Program and it dramatically reduced the rate of absenteeism and turnover. Not only did we see an improvement in retention, our research pointed to an increase in job satisfaction and commitment. Morale improved and the group began working together as a team. Why? Employees began to see their work as a noble calling. They appreciated themselves and the work they did. They began to think about their work differently.

I believe that the answer to high absenteeism rates lies in helping public servants see their work as a noble calling and to feel good about their work. How can they do that? By rethinking work. Here are four ways to begin rethinking your work:

  1. Get to the heart of what matters about your work.
  2. Be on purpose at work.
  3. See your work as an act of service.
  4. Cultivate a spiritual value-based life.

Absenteeism has a huge effect on morale, productivity and profitability. It can and should be halted. We will talk in more detail about these four ways in our subsequent blogs.

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Posted in Attracting and Keeping Employees, Purpose and Meaning In Work, SAW and Organizational Outcomes, Spirit at Work Program, Spirit at Work in the Public Sector | Comments (1)

What does Blink-182, a Pop Punk Band, have to do with Spirit at Work?

July 31st, 2009

While the music of Blink-182 may not be your favourite, this band’s story illustrates how a brush with personal disaster can transform our experience of work. Faced with a personal crisis, we have a tendency to re-evaluate our priorities and our way of being, putting us on what I call, the transformative events path to spirit at work. When we have spirit at work, we are fully engaged in our work, we find meaning and fulfillment in that which we do and we see how our work makes a difference in the lives of others.

Here is Blink’s story. Having sold some 13 million albums, the pop punk trio was at the height of their music career. Then due to extraordinary pressure and irresolvable differences, the band took a time out, resulting in a four-year hiatus. Last year, drummer Travis Barker nearly died in a plane crash – a crash which took the lives of his assistant and bodyguard. It was that event that led the group’s singer-guitarist Tom DeLonge to re-evaluate his priorities and break the radio silence toward his band mates. In an interview, DeLonge said that “It was very clear to me after Travis’s (near-death) that all these forces of nature were pushing for (a reunion) to happen.” The group decided to put aside their differences and come together to play again. Blink-182 is now on a 50-date North American comeback tour. But it took a near-death experience to get them there.

My research has shown that there are four paths to spirit at work: always there, coming together, contextually sensitive, and transformative events. Members of Blink-182 are on the path of transformative events.

What is the path of transformative events?  Stuff happens. We get sick. We are diagnosed with a debilitating disease, maybe one that is terminal. Our marriage ends in divorce. Our children make bad choices with negative and long-lasting results. The company we work for downsizes or goes under, and our spouse loses his or her job. We lose a loved one. The path of transformative events occurs in response to a crisis or spiritual awakening and can precipitate spirit at work.

A personal crisis (as Blink experienced) demands a response before it results in spirit at work. It requires that we do something. Individuals often begin to question their values, life priorities and lifestyle, a process sure to affect their relationship with work. Often, they begin to question the meaning of their work: Why are they doing it? Who is it helping? What is the contribution? How does it related to their deeper purpose? This response can turn a difficult event into a transformative event.

Why should we be interested? The recession has led to an increase in job loss, organizational takeovers, and downsizing – a significant life event for those impacted by such a decision. But even how we respond to events that are unrelated to our work – such as serious accidents, divorce or the loss of a loved one – will impact how we do our work. Thus, all of these events become opportunities as well as challenges. Once the necessary grieving has taken place – and that is important – times of crisis offer the potential for growth, change and spirit at work. A personal crisis gives us the opportunity to rethink our work – if we take it.

What is the next step? It is important for employers to realize how actions taken during the recession – some necessary for the survival of the company – have impacted employee spirit, job satisfaction and commitment. Action needs to be taken to rebuild relationships and help employees gain a renewed enthusiasm for their work and increased job satisfaction. At the same time, employees need to take steps to foster their spirit at work – the first being rethinking work. Everything changes when we rethink our work.

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Posted in Creating organizational conditions, Emerging from the Recession, Employee Engagement and Spirit at Work, Purpose and Meaning In Work | Comments (0)