Employee Engagement is Everyone’s Responsibility: the Employee’s Guide to Engagement

Teamwork - collaboration - employee engagement

Google question - employee increase engagement

Google search: How do employees help increase employee engagement?

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When I first discovered the term employee engagement I was thrilled. I thought, “Finally! There is something that describes how I want my work to feel! Why can’t my employers get it right?”

I quickly realized that increase employee engagement can’t happen overnight and is quite difficult to improve. It wasn’t just my employers who were struggling with employee engagement.

Of the hundreds (if not thousands) of articles I’ve read about employee engagement, the articles I’ve written, the presentations I’ve attended and given, and the conversations I’ve had with employees and management, the responsibility for engaging employees tends to fall on the employer.

Frustrated monkey - cycle of non-engagementThe cycle of non-engagement:

Employers have described how they don’t feel like they have the resources available to make changes. Employees feel like there is absolutely nothing they can do until the employer makes the engagement resources available for which they can engage.

Although I believe systemic change is only possible when the employer is on board with employee engagement initiatives, I was disappointed when I couldn’t find any articles or explicit resources out there on the topic of employees working to improve their own level of engagement.

I decided to reach out to one of my LinkedIn Groups: Employee Communications and Engagement. There are almost 40,000 members in this group so I figured it would be a great staring place.

I asked, “How can *employees* help increase employee engagement?” and described how I recently presented at a conference where all levels of employees in an organization attended. I was asked the question during a Q&A: how can employees who are not in leadership or management positions increase employee engagement within their organization?

questions - raising hands

My post received over 20 responses with some great feedback.

I wanted to share the results in one place where everyone can access the helpful information.

The primary theme revolved around the idea of employees taking personal responsibility for the way they act (physically and emotionally) and react in the workplace. This is very easy to say, and I think most reasonable people would agree this is important (talk the talk). It’s a lot harder to implement and change the way one functions (walk the walk).

Change won’t happen overnight; it takes little changes over time to make a large impact. Below are ways employees can embrace the idea of employee engagement and start to take responsibility for changing their own personal workplace culture. These “small” personal changes may cause a ripple effect and begin to change the organizational culture as a whole.

thank youGratitude.

Gratitude has been shown to improve the giver’s well-being, resilience, health, and relationships with others. Expression of gratitude also has a ripple effect – cooperative and altruistic behavior can spread from one person to another. Expressing gratitude may inspire other people to do the same. If you find yourself in a workplace lacking gratitude, consciously expressing gratitude may result in increased gratitude by your team members, and possibly even your organization as a whole.

Say a genuine thank you to someone who helped you on a project. Say thank you to the custodian who removes your trash. Anyone can say thank you. Every time you say thank you, you add something back to your workplace culture. Expressing gratitude makes the giver and receiver feel good, while also empowering those around them to share in the moment and to create their own moments in the future.

Alignment.

Take time to reflect on the mission statement, vision statement, and values of your organization. Are you on board with these statements? What sort of emotional reaction do you have when you consider your part in the overall mission and vision of the organization? Organizations with highly engaged employees have communicated their mission/vision in a way that allows their employees to strongly identify with and work toward the mission/vision. Employees begin feel like they are contributing to something bigger than themselves and are making a difference in the world.

If an organization has a clear set of core values and goals, as well as a clear mission statement, vision statement, and strategy, employees have the opportunity to align their personal values/mission/strategy/goals with those of the organization. When these organizational items are clear, employees may ensure their efforts are focused on the same priorities as their employer. Employees can ask themselves and their leadership targeted questions to seek stronger alignment and bring up ideas for performance improvement. Employees can hold themselves accountable for the results of the organization. This type of alignment can improve organizational collaboration at all levels.

volunteer involvementInvolvement.

Does your organization have a program in place (regardless of how successful) that attempts to engage employees? If so, can you (as an employee) step up your game and become a little more involved?

If your organization has a networking or affinity group, or an advocacy/community program, how involved are you? Do you genuinely participate in surveys, focus groups, or dialogue opportunities so you can involve yourself in how the organization can improve its performance or culture? Could you volunteer to spear-head a team building or volunteer event?

Employees need to remember that if they want something to change, it is their individual responsibility to engage in social events, attend staff meetings, respond to surveys, and share their ideas. Engagement is never a one-sided effort, it will only be truly successful when both sides (employee and employer) give 100%.

connecting the dots - highway

Connecting the Dots

When it comes to employee engagement, it often can feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe you work for a company or a boss who doesn’t believe they can do anything about the workplace culture (I had a boss say this once). Maybe your boss doesn’t think there’s anything wrong and is either oblivious or avoidant of the issues at hand.

If this is the case, focus on yourself. If you have the mindset that there is nothing you can do to change workplace culture, your workplace culture will never change. However, if you can prevent yourself from becoming cynical and negative about your work situation, your perspective change may help change the perspective and attitudes of those you work with as well.

Say thank you, express gratitude regularly and consistently in a genuine manner. Others will follow suit. Revisit what you love most about your company and how you can contribute to the overall mission/vision of the organization. Finally, involve yourself. If there is a focus group or committee forming, take a risk and join. If your HR department sends out employee surveys, participate and take them seriously. You may even be like one of the individuals described in the success stories above and go as far as starting your own lunch workout class!

Leadership at all levels is responsible for setting the tone of an engaged businesses. At the same time, every employee is responsible for creating and sustaining the culture. You are responsible for the way you think and act. Even when it seems impossible and like you’re stuck in the rut of negativity, you can change your perspective and outlook.

It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my post! If you’re looking for ways to increase your organization’s level of employee engagement, please review my services here and contact me here.

**Special thank you to the members of the Employee Communications and Engagement Group who responded to my post! This wouldn’t have been possible without you.**

Employee Engagement: It’s All About the Relationship

Playing pillow fight

Employee engagement is a popular phrase in today’s business world. It is quite common for employees to expect more than just a paycheck when it comes to their work, and employers are struggling to figure out what they can do to meet these expectations.

I have a simple answer for you: human relationships.

positive human relationships

It’s really not that simple – if it was, everyone would do it. When it comes down to employee engagement initiatives, most programs fail because organizations forget to focus on human relationships, which I would argue are the building blocks of engagement.

work fun - positive human relationshipsThere are many different definitions of employee engagement, and they all revolve around a common theme: emotional commitment and attachment to one’s workplace and fellow employees. Engaged employees feel a profound connection and commitment to their company; they work with passion, they are loyal, and they are willing to go the extra mile.

workplace culture star fingersWhat separates those organizations with high levels of employee engagement and those with low levels of employee engagement? Culture.

Employees want to be hired and retained by organizations with exceptional workplace cultures. These cultures have many different aspects to them, but they often involve overall feelings of trust, contribution, inclusion, altruism, achievement, and happiness. These feelings are all derived from one thing: human relationships.

A 2016 survey by the Society of Human Resources Management revealed relationships in the workplace are top drivers of employee engagement. Respondents described how relationships in the workplace were vital to their overall engagement in the workplace. 77% believed their relationships with their co-workers influenced their engagement and almost the same number, 74%, believed their relationship with their immediate supervisor influenced their engagement.

This makes sense – if you enjoy the people you work with, the easier it is to enjoy going to work each day. If you don’t enjoy the people you work work with you likely experience the Monday Morning Blues on more days than Monday.

friend coffee

Do you have a best friend at work?

Gallup, a research-based, global performance-management consulting company, has conducted employee engagement research for over 30 years and the best friend question, “Do you have a best friend at work?” is one of the most controversial.

Gallup asks this question for one primary reason: performance. The research shows a “concrete link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job.” They give the example of women who strongly agree they have a best friend at work compared to those who don’t strongly agree: those who strongly agree are two times (63%) more likely to be engaged at work.

friend - helping hand - positive relationshipHolistically though, it’s becoming more acceptable to want and expect more than just a paycheck from work. As social beings, we want sense of accomplishment, value, and altruism from our work. If positive social/human relationships are missing from your workplace, chances are you feel less energized and motivated by the work you do – even if you are good at what you do. This leads to being less invested and possibly less productive.

51% of employees who strongly agree that their organization encourages close friendships at work (who rate this statement a 5 on the 5-point scale) are extremely satisfied with their place of employment, compared to just 19% of employees who disagree with that statement (by choosing a 1 or 2) – Getting Personal in the Workplace, Gallup

If 75% of employees agree relationships in the workplace influence their engagement, how do companies and management prioritize human relationships and make their workplace more relationship-centric?

Employee Engagement: Teamwork

Bonfyre describes how human relationships in the workplace are a result of how often people connect and communicate (interaction) and how much people have in common (relatedness). Organizations, leadership, and managers are relationship-centric when they set up their work environment for their employees to become best friends. This is done by increasing the ability to interact with other employees, which may lead to a discovery of what the employees have in common. As Bonfyre describes, best friends are a product of high levels of interaction and relatedness.

You typically can’t discover what you have in common with someone (relatedness) without interacting with them first. Companies looking to become more relationship-centric need to focus on giving their employees the opportunity to interact with each other.

How?

1. Step away from the computer.

Instead of sending an email, take the opportunity to go speak to the recipient in person. It’s been said that 93% of communication is nonverbal. If this is the case there is a high chance that a miscommunication may occur if you only communicate via text-based means.

in-person meeting

2. Invest in technology that promotes social relationships such as video chat software and/or collaboration software.

If you must communicate in ways that are not in-person, invest in video chat or collaboration software that will enable your employees to interact on a more personal level. Of course emails and phone calls are a popular communication means, but you can make it more personal by providing a different social element.

invest in technology

3. Gratitude.

There is no such thing as too much gratitude. The benefits of gratitude are numerous both in the professional world as well as in your personal life. In my article 3 Ways Gratitude Promotes a Culture of Engagement in the Workplace, I describe how gratitude increases productivity, job satisfaction, and may increase feelings of psychological safety. It’s important to know your people: some may like public displays of gratitude, others may prefer a private thank you in the hallway.

happy grateful

4. Ask for employee input.

Have you heard of the Ikea-effect? This is the idea that if you help build something, you will love or value it more. If your employees feel heard and like their input matters, they will feel valued by the organization and their engagement can increase. Giving employees the opportunity to collaborate and co-create will promote positive relationship building, trust, and belonging.

employee input and diversity

5. Talk the talk and walk the walk.

When it comes to culture changes employees typically won’t buy-in or join-in until leadership and culture champions show they are dedicated to the change in culture. If you are genuine with your efforts to change the culture your employees will notice.

connecting dots/puzzle

Connecting the Dots

Employee engagement initiatives fail because organizations forget to focus on the basic building block of engagement: human relationships. Organizations promoting relationship building between employees gives employees opportunities to discover what they have in common with other employees. This discovery can lead to close friendships; possibly even best friendships. If an organization is looking to become more relationship-centric its leadership and culture champions must invest in face-to-face interactions, whether this is in-person or virtually, they must become comfortable expressing genuine gratitude on regular and consistent bases. When employees feel like their input is valued and considered they feel a deeper connection to their work, fellow employees, and organization. All of this is irrelevant if leadership and management don’t create and stick to patterns of behavior that is consistent with building a culture of trust, contribution, inclusion, altruism, achievement, and happiness.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post! If you’re looking for ways to increase your organization’s level of employee engagement and improve positive workplace relationships, please review my services here and contact me here.

This was originally posted on LinkedIn on May 18th, 2018. See the full post here.

Why I Almost Quit Social Media: The Importance of Workplace Relationships

social media - positive workplace relationships

I almost quit social media because of work.

Social Media - Google - TechnologyI loved social media. I thought I did a good job keeping things private, that was, until someone at work told me he Googled me. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal. I’ve Googled people before and I know recruiters/potential employers Google job applicants to learn more about them.

Why was this particular event different?

It was different because this person made me extremely uncomfortable in the workplace. He was above me in the workplace hierarchy and, looking back on it now, he used his status to influence when and how I did my work. He would request meetings lasting for hours, in his office, just the two of us, with the door closed. When one of my coworkers moved, he would ask me about her, he would tell me about the emails he sent her and couldn’t understand why she wasn’t emailing or calling him back.

He requested an early morning meeting, before anyone else was in the office. He said he Googled me.

He told me he found my wedding registry and asked to be invited to my wedding. He said he read through my entire Twitter (over 3 years of content) and wanted to talk about some tweets. He had written them down and brought them to the meeting. He wanted to know “more” about my family. He said he “thought he knew me before,” but “now feels like he knows me so much better.”

Questions

I felt sick. I felt like my privacy was more than invaded. It was violated. I felt like it was my fault.

He told me we didn’t have to talk about it if it made me uncomfortable. I told him it made me uncomfortable. He ignored my statement and proceeded to his questions, which were written down on multiple sheets of paper.

social media iconsI sat in his office, silent, until he said I could leave.

I couldn’t believe what had just happened.

The instant I escaped his office I took personal responsibility for the event and I decided to protect myself from this happening again. I Googled myself and went through the first 12 pages of Google results to see what I could find and remove; I deleted all social media accounts except for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram; I locked down those three remaining accounts; I deleted or disconnected from people I didn’t know very well; I deleted pictures; I deleted posts; I made things so private it looked like I almost didn’t have an online presence.

sad workI quit posting.

I became less connected to long-distance friends. My relationships with those outside my immediate circle began to dwindle. I became suspicious and distrusting of others, especially those I met at work.

This distinct experience significantly influenced my perception of safety in the workplace, and it was a key reason I refrained from building relationships in the workplace and in school for the next two years. I didn’t trust anyone, especially people who reminded me of the individual I described above.

After several years of going to work just to get paid and being the person who didn’t want to make friends or put significant effort into workplace relationships, I realized just because this happened to me in one workplace didn’t mean it would happen to me in every workplace.

The importance of workplace relationships

barrier and boundariesMost people are aware of boundaries. Even if they Google you, they don’t tell you they Googled you and they especially don’t start a discussion by pulling out a list of questions about things they read/found.

I realized I spent more time with people at work than with my family or non-work friends. This was my turning point. Workplace relationships are important, if not vital to the success of an organization, and if people work to build positive workplace relationships, workplaces can thrive. People don’t have to show up to work just to get paid. Those who do are likely not engaged and they may end up decreasing the overall level of engagement within an organization.

friend - helping hand - positive workplace relationshipThe Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) released survey results in 2016 that showed how workplace relationships are drivers of employee engagement.

77% of respondents indicated relationships with their coworkers influenced their engagement in the workplace and 74% indicated relationships with their immediate supervisor also impacted their level of engagement in the workplace. Along the same lines, Gallup, a research-based, global performance-management consulting company, has conducted employee engagement research for over 30 years. One of the most controversial questions Gallup asks is, “Do you have a best friend at work?”

Gallup repeatedly shows a concrete link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job. Gallup uses the following example: women who strongly agree they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged (63%) compared with the women who say otherwise (29%).

Research shows employees seek out and stay with organizations with exceptional workplace cultures. While there are many different components to workplace culture, exceptional workplace culture is often characterized by overall feelings of trust, belongingness and inclusion.

trust, belongingness and inclusion.

We want our work to feel worthwhile and meaningful. Having trusted confidants and supporters helps foster those feelings. We go to our work friends when we need to celebrate and commiserate about both our personal and professional lives. In the absence workplace friendships, work can become lonely and isolating. It lacks attachments. Although we may like what we do and we may get to use our talents and strengths every day, if we don’t have positive workplace relationships or workplace friendships, we’re probably not feeling fully motivated to put everything into our roles.

If companies focus on creating relationship-centric workplaces they will allow employees to build quality relationships with one another. These quality relationships will strengthen business by increasing morale, employee retention, productivity, and teamwork.

Connecting the dots photo

Connecting the Dots

Lesson 1: Be prepared for someone you don’t know very well to Google you. You may even want to be prepared for them to tell you they Googled you AND for them to want to talk to you about it. If this happens, don’t go nuclear on your online presence like I did. If you disconnect from your online presence you may become distanced from important connections and opportunities. Don’t over react and determine all workplaces are equal and this will happen to you again (it hasn’t happened to me since).

Lesson 2: Positive workplace relationships are important to the functioning and overall success of a business. Research shows that those who report having a best friend at work are significantly more engaged in the workplace than those who don’t. Foundational feelings of contribution, trust, and altruism are all derived from one thing—human relationships. If positive human relationships are missing form a workplace, engagement will most definitely suffer.

Have you ever had something uncomfortable like this happen at work? How did you handle it?

Do you have a best friend at work? How does your friendship influence your perception of the workplace?

friend coffee

Thank you for taking the time to read my post! If you’re looking for ways to increase your organization’s level of employee engagement and improve positive workplace relationships, please review my services here and contact me here.

This was originally posted on LinkedIn on March 26th, 2018. See the full post here.

Employee’s Hierarchy of Needs, Part 3 of 3: Self-Fulfillment Needs

The top tier of the hierarchy of needs includes self-fulfillment needs.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs - self-fulfillment needs

In the first two parts of this series, Part 1: Basic Needs and Part 2: Psychological Needs, I described Abraham Maslow’s 1943 Theory of Human Motivation and the idea of a Hierarchy of Needs. As humans, we all strive to achieve our full potential and feel a sense of self-fulfillment. Before we can reach the highest level in our hierarchy of needs (self-fulfillment), we must first ensure our lower levels of basic (physiological and safety) and psychological (belongingness & love and esteem) needs are addressed.

employee basic and psychological needs

This same theory of motivation and a hierarchy of needs can be applied to employees in the workplace. In Part 1 I described how the physiological need equates to the need of adequate workspace and the safety need equates to security & stability in the workplace. In Part 2 I described how the belongingness & love needs convert to team camaraderie in the workplace and esteem needs match individual achievement in the workplace.

These basic and psychological needs must be met in the workplace before an employee can achieve a sense of self-fulfillment, or engagement & innovation.

Employee Hierarchy of Needs - self-fulfillment

If you address the first four levels of the employee’s hierarchy of needs, you’ve given your employees the tools they need to succeed and it’s likely they will have the potential to be truly engaged. By reaching the top level of the hierarchy, employees are given the opportunity to meet their self-fulfillment needs. Your employees will begin to feel a sense of ownership over their work and sense will empower them to continue working toward the greater good of the company while simultaneously inspiring those around them to do the same.

There will always be little things that go wrong, but employees who exist in the self-fulfillment tier of the hierarchy will be able to look past these things and focus on the work in front of them with intrinsic drive, passion, imagination, and creativity.

Once employees make it to the top tier of the hierarchy, it’s a lot easier for them to stay at this level and bring other employees with them. Employees at the self-fulfillment level inspire those around them and create a ripple effect of engagement. Their enthusiasm and attitude help others strive to operate at their same level and engagement becomes contagious.

It is important to remember that moving through the hierarchy of needs is fluid; we can always be bumped down to a lower level of the hierarchy and we can climb our way back to the top. This means we have to work through challenges and barriers to get back to the top, which can sometimes be difficult to deal with. However, once employees reach the top of the pyramid, it becomes much easier to get back there the next time around.

It is a long and difficult journey to help employees reach the top of the employee hierarchy. That’s why true employee engagement is so rare! According to Gallup, a research-based, global performance-management consulting company, only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. After working through this hierarchy, it’s easier to understand why.

If only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged and exist at the top of their hierarchy, where does everyone else fall? About 67% of employees are considered “not engaged.” These employees likely have their basic needs met and are looking to meet their psychological needs. The remaining 18% fall into the “actively disengaged” category. These employees are probably struggling to have their basic workplace needs met.

The big challenge for employers involves identifying the “not engaged” employees. These employees are often the hardest to identify because they are usually relatively happy or satisfied in their role. They do the bare minimum and are not invested in their company’s mission, values, vision, or goals.

Connecting the Dots

When reviewing the hierarchy as a whole, the first two tiers of employee engagement are generally covered by compensation, stability, security, and benefits. Some workplaces need to address basic resources so employees can do their jobs (technology, temperature, workspace, etc.) but in general, the first two tiers should be easy to confront as an employer. In addition, our need for social interaction, friendship, and belongingness can at least be partially addressed while at work. It’s the last two tiers that can be the trickiest to address.

When it comes to individual achievement, each person is different in the way they want to be recognized or respond to motivation. This takes more effort on the employers side to individualize the experience for employees. The critical point (no pun intended) is the top level, self-fulfillment, which is the hardest aspect of employee engagement for most employers and organizations to achieve.

When organizations provide the tools, the education, the environment, and the stability, employees can realize their potential. They start contributing ideas, leading, and bringing others along for the ride by inspiring them to be better employees. Reaching the self-fulfillment level of engagement gives employees the opportunity to inspire others around them and perform optimally – which is not only best for your employees, it is best for business.

It is important to see engagement as a day-to-day experience that ebbs and flows. Engagement is not something that will happen overnight, and change is hard. Engagement should improve with time and dedication from all levels of an organization. If an organization focuses on the day-to-day experience, the benefits of achieving or striving for engagement will become evident.

Self-fulfillment needs

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my post! If you’re looking for ways to increase your organization’s level of employee engagement, please review my services here and contact me here.

This was originally posted on LinkedIn on March 7th, 2018. See the full post here.

If you missed Part 1 on Basic Needs, you may read it here.

If you missed Part 2 on Psychological Needs, you may read it here.

*Credit to Zen Workplace and Health Links for the employee engagement hierarchical/framework concept.

 

Employee Hierarchy of Needs, Part 2 of 3: Psychological Needs

In my most recent Article, Employee Hierarchy of Needs: Part 1 of 3, Basic Needs, I described Abraham Maslow’s 1943 Theory of Human Motivation and the idea of a Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow proposed the concept that humans are motivated to attain certain needs (basic needs, psychological needs, and self-fulfillment needs), and some needs are prioritized over other needs (basic needs must be met before fulfilling psychological needs, etc.).

 

In Part 1, I described an employee’s basic needs in the workplace: workspace and security & stability.

When an employer meets an employee’s basic needs in the workplace, employees start to feel like they have an adequate workspace and are secure & stable in their job. With these basic needs met, employees can become successful and proficient in their job duties, and work with diligence and persistence. But doing a job proficiently and persistently doesn’t mean an employee is engaged. Now it’s time for psychological needs, team camaraderie and individual achievement, to be recognized and addressed in the workplace.

Psychological Needs #1: Team Camaraderie

Team CamaraderieMost of us spend at least 40 hours or more at work, which means we typically spend more time with our coworkers than anyone else in our life. The relationships we have within the workplace are critical to a successful and enjoyable work environment. We want to feel like we belong to the group and we need different types of relationships with other humans.

It is counterproductive for an employer, leader, or employee to discount the importance of positive workplace relationships. Have you ever heard someone say, “We are here to work, not make friends”? This approach sets an individual or organization up for failure because team camaraderie is vital to the success of an organization. Psychological safety, trust, a sense of belonging to a team, and positive workplace relationships are all things that must be promoted within a team in order for an organization to achieve the best organizational end result.

Why does team camaraderie come before individual achievement on the hierarchy? An individual can be successful and achieve on their own, but individual achievement does not always set a team up for greater success. If a team has one or more people focused on their own success and achievement over others, the team will not function as cohesively and successfully as they might if the individuals first feel accountable to their fellow members.

Getting the best result as a team requires collaboration with others before individual achievement. Zen Workplace uses Olympic athletes as an example: In many cases, Olympic athletes compete as individuals. But what drives the greatest individual performance? The connection to the team, the accountability to each other and the support from one another. Rarely does an individual athlete, who spent their time locked away in a gym training by themselves for years, come out on top. It is the same idea for the world of work.

team win

Think back to a time when you were on a dysfunctional team. What happened when one or more team members focused more on their individual achievement than the achievement of the group? How did that make you feel? Did you feel like they were trying to put their own achievement over your own? Did you become suspicious and lose trust? What was the outcome?

individual celebrationPsychological Needs #2: Individual Achievement

Once team camaraderie has been established, it is easier for an individual to focus on their own achievement. Our society and culture has trained us to be modest, and it is hard for most of us to express overt pride in our work. We don’t want to seem like a showoff, or like we are bragging. But, if organizations are to reach the next level of an employee’s hierarchy of needs, where employees feel engaged in their work, organizations must promote confidence, self-esteem, and pride among their employees. When employees lack pride or confidence in their individual contributions it is difficult for them to begin taking initiative and pursue their responsibilities and job duties with passion.

group celebrationWhen a team has a solid foundation of trust formed through their team camaraderie, individual achievement becomes something the team celebrates as a whole instead of feeling competitive, negative, and bitter. When you have genuine happiness and pride for your teammates’ accomplishments, the feeling of camaraderie is reinforced through positive feedback and gratitude.

altruismWhen your team cares about how their fellow members perform and achieve, they begin to feel like their own work matters to other people. They can begin to feel like they are making an impact. Individual team member achievement becomes so much more than the achievement itself. Instead of focusing on just the achievement, individuals begin to feel like they are contributing to the greater whole, something bigger than themselves. This sense of altruism promotes employee engagement.

Connecting the DotsConnecting the Dots

Promoting a work environment where the psychological needs of employees can be met is vital to the success of an organization. When organizations, departments, or individual teams lack team camaraderie and do not promote individual achievement, they will never have employees who are fully engaged. Unfortunately, it seems as though this is typical for many organizations worldwide. As I described in my article, How to Increase Employee Engagement: Treat Your Employees like They Matter, only about 15% of employees worldwide are engaged. Non-engaged employees lack the commitment and connection to their company that engaged employees feel. This lack of engagement may be a result of a cutthroat culture, or the idea that it’s every individual for themselves. The lack of support through team camaraderie and the difficulty expressing pride in their work may be one of the factors leading to this lack of engagement.

Have you experienced a work environment where you had great team camaraderie? Have you worked within an organization where you did not feel like people were jealous and bitter of your achievements? How did this influence your productivity and engagement in the workplace?

employee basic and psychological needs

Thank you for taking the time to read my post! If you’re looking for ways to increase your organization’s level of employee engagement, please review my services here and contact me here.

This was originally posted on LinkedIn on February 23rd, 2018. See the full post here.

Please check the second article in this series, Employee Hierarchy of Needs, Part 3 of 3: Self-Fulfillment Needs.

If you missed Part 1 on Basic Needs, you may read it here.

*Credit to Zen Workplace and Health Links for the employee engagement hierarchical/framework concept.