Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Engagement at Work

Engagement -- is the buzz word that we keep on hearing. According to Gallup study in 2013, only 13% of the workforce are highly engaged. That means most people are not engaged at work and this could lead to performance loss by the organization.

But how do we keep people engaged? 
Most of the time, companies who are looking solely at the bottom line will assume people also looks at bottom-line. They started to pay a higher salary to retain their top talent. However, statistics show higher salary does not contribute to higher engagement. Even though they get a higher pay, they quit the job sometimes for the lower pay but more engaging job. How do we create an engaged workforce so that our people can live up to their potential?

Categories of people in organization
In school, we were trained to get all the knowledge. Exams were designed to test on our competencies in a subject (well, some exams to test our ability to memorize the content). But we were never thought to be engaged in work. 

As the diagram above, if we don't have the knowledge and don't have the passion, we are basically useless to our organization. Our contribution will be the bare minimum and we don't give any significant impact. We come to work probably because we have to, not we want to. 

I still remembered the first time came to work, I have so much passion for doing great thing. But because I am newI just don't know the systems in the organization and my academic qualification just does not cover what I suppose to know in my job. Even though I have full of passion within me, I just cannot do a good job because I am not competent to do my job.

On the other hand, if we have a great knowledge or skills, we might be competent. But throughout my work experience, I met so many experienced people but they just don't contribute enough to the organization. Most of the time they have worked for many years but they have no passion for doing what they are been doing. They have no intention to do more than they have to and sometimes delaying certain things. Even though they have the potential to do great things, they just don't have that commitment to do excellence job, perhaps because of the working environment.

But someone with knowledge and with passion, there is nothing can stop them. These are the one that made a difference in organization. They are willing to challenge the status quo and innovate their way to accomplish what they intended to accomplish. They took initiatives to get things done, and plan to do more great things to achieve more because they get that fulfillment along the journey.

But how do we create this kind of working environment?
There are a few factors but today I want to share one element that I believe is the most critical in creating an engaged workforce, which is purpose. If we can have a sense of purpose, giving some meaning in whatever that we do, we can perform so much better that we could think of. 

Organization most of the time measured the bottom line because of the tough business environment often forgot about their purpose. In other words, why they are doing it in the first place. Research shows that appealing to the sense of purpose is the key to exceptional performance. Doctors even found that people who have a sense of purpose in their live are less prone to disease.

They key to purpose is to ask WHY
Why are we doing this? Why are we exist? Why is this importance? Most of the time bossess will tell how. How do we do this, how do we create results, how to sell our products. But most bossess forget to tell why. I would suggest the next time you have a conversation to with your subordinate, have a less conversation about how, but put more emphasize on why.
Two types of purpose
The bigger purpose - most of the time company vision are related to the bigger purpose. Companies have their own philosopies and these are most of the time the reasons of their existance. And there is another purpose, we called it the smaller purpose. Why we have to fill up this forms. Why we have to deliver this on time.

Let's live with purpose! Because people who are living with purpose are those who live with passion!