How engaged are you?

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How engaged are you? Engaged is one of those HR buzzwords that seems to be losing its meaning.  I recently read through the Gallup State of the American Workforce  study.  It was fascinating.  I thought I would summarize the high points and provide some insight into the results:

1.) Only 22% of U.S. employees are engaged and thriving.  Do you recall the last time you were thriving at work?  What about those days when you came home from work excited?

Suggestion: Victor Frankl in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, says that your cause is the current moment you are in.  Focus on the current moment and allow yourself to outline a picture of what you desire your work to look like.

For example: In 2009, I invested my off work time to visualize myself engaged at work and met with individuals who were captured by a cause.  The images that returned time and time again were leaders and influencers flourishing and creating strong results for their business.   I saw myself engaged in conversations with these leaders and training these leaders.  Today I spend all my time dedicated to this endeavor.

2.) Only 41% of employees know what their company stands for.  The best leaders connect the goals of the business back to the mission of the business.

Whether you care for patients or patrons the cause is there for the taking.  If you are the receptionist, then you are the first line of service, so become the best ever receptionist. If you are the nurse, then serve your patients with a smile and empathy.

Suggestion: Leaders take some time to create a shared purpose for your team and bring it forward quarterly.

3.) Employees who use their strengths for 10 hours per day or more report less stress than those leveraging their strengths for three hours per day.  This takes us back to number 1 regarding thriving.  You are thriving when you uphold who you are and what you are good at.  Interests ought to lead our work and when we work in what we are interested in we tend to develop skill in those areas.

Suggestion: Instead of asking: “Am I using my strengths?” ask “Am I doing work that I am interested in?” Then the strengths or skills will follow.

For example: I am an excellent bowler averaged about 190 in high school, but I do not have any interest in becoming a professional bowler.  This is no different for you, if you are in financial services and are not interested in money or financial reports, then pursue something you are interested in.

This topic of employee engagement has a strong economic and societal impact.  As the Gallup study shows,  leaders your engagement is higher.  The bad news is that your people are not thriving.

How do you lead them to ensure that they thrive?