One Simple Way To Align With The 26% of Engaged Workers In The US

By now you may have heard that there was a recent Gallup study that revealed that more than 70% of workers are disengaged in US companies.  Amazing – right?  But if you work in America, you may not find it surprising at all.  In fact, you might even relate.

The report shows that feedback, recognition and friendship are among the drivers that can help employees engage.  Is it any surprise that what these 3 things have in common is  they provide possible “evidence” that our unique contributions have a positive impact for others.  Of course feedback may include the negatives as well as the positives, but more and more evidence is tilting the scales in favor of focus on strengths vs. weaknesses – and employers are responding to this perspective.

You can read the full report here.

As a former head of HR and an HR professional for 20 years I have noticed for years that a commonality among engaged, valued employees is that they have a internal sense of confidence that what they offer to others has a positive impact.  Beyond a confidence of what they can do, they also have an innate interest in giving their best to others – no matter what they are up against, with or without a dangling “carrot” promising a company reward.

I have also noticed a transformation in what companies do to help employees engage (and stay engaged) in the workplace.  “Engaged” is a fancy way of saying “help employees stay motivated to do their best work” – or even more simply put (like when I first started my HR work) – avoid “burnout”.

Companies offer many tangible and intangible reward programs and strategies – such as formal cash reward programs and even non-formal, non-cash gestures of “thanks”. However, many disengaged employees often misinterpret these company programs as a company obligation to engage employees.  As I have observed commonalities among engaged workers, I have also observed that common factors among disengaged employees.  One of those factors is that they  primarily seek external evidence that they are valued (a kind word from their boss, peer recognition, bonuses, etc.).

When we are focused on what others are not giving to us, we are often guilty of not fully giving what we have to offer to others.  True happiness at work (and in life), comes from understanding how we make a difference for others and then actively making that difference.

So if you in any way having been identifying more with the 74% of disengaged workers than with the 26% of engaged workers, ask yourself – “What can I do to make a difference for others?”  and “When will I do it?”

Don’t do it just because others deserve to enjoy positive interactions with others at work more than you do – do it because it truly is the path to feeling a sense of happiness through your work.

If it is hard to answer these questions, let me give you a step-by-step exercise to help you gain some clarity…

1.  Think about something going on at your work that drains you or makes you unhappy.
2.  Imagine (have fun with it) an opposite scenario – your opposite state doesn’t have to have anything to do with work.  For example, if you hate when your boss is condescending towards you, you might imagine an opposite scenario to that as sitting on the beach, under a palm tree with your feet in the sand and your favorite drink dressed up with a cute little umbrella in it in your hand.
3.  Identify a few personal qualities it would it take for you to fully enjoy or participate actively in your imagined opposite state.  So going back to our beach dream – would the qualities of calmness, peacefulness, or relaxation enable you to enjoy that beach, sand and drink more fully?
4.  Pick any one of your qualities that you feel confident would be enjoyable and easy for you to happily give to others – no matter what is going on around you.
5.  Decide to apply that quality to your interactions with others on a regular basis.  Let that quality act as a filter that all your motives run through before you interact with others.

Engage in challenging situations the same way you would engage in an easy to enjoy situation – be who you desire to be no matter where you are (at work or at the beach).

Offer your best qualities to those you work with – those you serve – every day.  It’s a powerful tactic that builds your confidence and sense of engagement (your sense of purpose and a connection to a calling as well!).  Being reactive is a confidence-sucking tactic.  And since every situation calls you to be either proactive or reactive – which will you chose?

Try this simple strategy even once this week and see if you don’t feel more powerful – more engaged.  Give your best qualities to others (even if they are just imagined at this point), and even if they are giving you their worst.  It is a simple, easy and powerful way to tap into an internal source for energy to engage and therefore move more quickly through challenging situations towards rewarding situations.

About Gina Calvano

Gina Calvano is a certified coach and Senior Professional in Human Resources, with over 20 years of experience as a talent management professional in both the private and non-profit sectors. With a unique approach, she combines her strategic corporate expertise and accreditations with metaphysics and transformational thinking which has resulted in people all over the world feeling good about themselves and connected to a sense of purpose.

She created the Success Readiness Bootcamp™, a step by step process that enables people to easily discover their unique talents and abilities and match them to majors, jobs, industries and leisure pursuits. Gina is also the co-author of Breakthrough! Inspirational Strategies for an Audaciously Authentic Life with NY Times Best Selling Authors Marci Shimoff, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood and Powerful Connections Made Easy™ with Aprille Trupiano, and is currently working on her next book — Caged in My Cube: The Turnaround Guide For Loving The Job You Hate.

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