David Zinger has over 24,000 hours experience and work with engagement and employee engagement and is the founder of the global 7500 member Employee Engagement Network. A prolific author, David has written 4 books and over 3000 blog posts on work, engagement, management, and leadership.
Engagement resides in the moment. When we balance challenge and skills we enter the flow zone, a place that heightens our work within the moment. In addition, focusing our work on the moment alleviates work stress. There’s no question that employee engagement is, therefore, a powerful tool for all organizations to master. To truly engage your workforce, it’s important to focus on these moments. Let’s explore 6 powerful moments that will truly drive employee engagement.
1. Access even 1% of the 20,000 opportunities for engagement. According to Nobel Prize-winning scientist Daniel Kahneman, we experience approximately 20,000 individual moments in a waking day. Each “moment” lasts a few seconds and each offers an opportunity to engage. Within a moment we can fuse with our task at hand for full engagement or reach out beyond ourselves to appreciate and recognize others. Even at just 1% fulfillment, we would experience 200 powerful and engaged moments every day.
2. Be a micro-manager, really! Generally, being a micromanager is not perceived to be an admirable quality in a manager or a helpful connection to the manager or work for the employee. But what if we manage our moments and focus on our moments of interaction. Small things make a big difference. Engagement, to be effective, must be reduced to the verb of engage and when we fully engage the moment seemingly miraculous things to begin to occur. Instead of the energy-sapping interaction of micromanagement based on command and control of trivial details become a manager of the micro-moments of work by enhancing connection, input, interaction, authenticity, and co-creation.
3. Reach out, Create a TouchPoint. This approach to managing engagement is the Campbell Chicken Soup for an Organization as it originates from the former CEO of Campbell Soup, Doug Conant. Doug used TouchPoints to transform dismal engagement scores at Campbell Soup into some of the best scores ever recorded. Doug believes the moment of interruption is the real work of management. Each of the many connections you make has the potential to become a high point or a low point in someone’s day. The point of getting in touch is that each touch point has the opportunity to “establish high-performance expectation, to infuse the agenda with great clarity and more energy, and to influence the course of events…TouchPoints take place any time two or more people get together to deal with an issue and get something done” (page 2). Our interruption interactions are not distractions but rather the real work of management. In the moment of engagement, action resides in the interaction.
4. Transform IQ into HQI to power up the organization. Jane Dutton believes that there is tremendous power in our connections and interactions and we must guard against corrosive connections that corrode motivation, loyalty, commitment, and engagement. Rather, we must enhance High-Quality Interactions marked by mutual positive regard, trust, and active engagement on both sides. A cornerstone of high-quality connections is respectful engagement characterized by being present to others, affirming them, and communicating and listening in a way that demonstrates regard and an appreciation of the other person’s worth. Even small acts of respectful engagement infuse a relationship with greater energy. An ongoing stream of high-quality interaction by people within an organization may be the single most powerful way to renew and contribute to an organization’s energy to achieve results through strong relationships. It takes some energy to initiate a high-quality interaction but usually, we find a return of energy through the interaction.
5. Dwell at the moment to banish stress. If you make where you are going more important than where you are there may be no point in going. Stephan Rechtschaffen stated in Time Shifting: ”there is no stress in the present moment.” Rechtschaffen advocates time awareness — living fully in the moment. The practice of timeshifting recognizes that every moment has a particular rhythm to it and that we have the capacity to expand or contract an individual moment. One way to shift what’s going on in our world is not to try to rush to do more but to allow ourselves to go deeper into that moment. Our ability to shift gears, to shift our rhythm to meet that moment and be present in it. We waste great chunks of time by thinking about what we’ve just done and what we’ve got to do next, instead of what we’re doing now. Much of our stress comes from regret and dread. Rechtschaffen offers a number of practical tips to improve our moments at work:
- Get to meetings early so you can compose yourself before the others arrive.
- When the phone rings, let it ring one extra time to “get centered.”
- Practice “mindfulness” by doing just one thing at a time, giving it your full attention.
- Pause after you finish one task before beginning another. If possible, make it last for several minutes.
- While waiting for a call or an elevator to arrive, think about the present instead of succumbing to the rush and anxiety of tasks still waiting.
6. Intersect challenge and skill to find flow. Work in the moment by working on tasks that balance challenge and skills level. Csíkszentmihályi’s book Flow is over 21 years old yet offers timeless perspective and advice on how we approach a state of a great time shifting. He has found that we experience more flow in work than our leisure time and suggests we frequently overlook the richness of the experience engagement at work offers us. Many of the current game developers have studied flow very closely to ensure their games are designed to help players experience flow. We need to do the same in our workplaces. Some of the key characteristics that promote flow at work are:
- Clear goals – expectations and rules are discernible and goals are attainable and align appropriately with one’s skill set and abilities.
- Concentration – a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention.
- Lack of self-consciousness – the merging of action and awareness.
- Timelessness – one’s subjective experience of time is altered.
- Powerful feedback – successes and failures in the course of the activity are apparent, so that behavior can be adjusted as needed.
- Balance of ability and challenge – the activity is neither too easy nor too difficult.
- Sense of personal control over the situation or activity.
- Intrinsic rewards, so there is an effortlessness of action.
- Full absorption into the activity, narrowing of the focus of awareness down to the activity itself, action awareness merging.
Passageways’ OnSemble Employee Intranet is purpose-built to drive an engaged workforce. That means more than social tools (though it has those too), it means our customers have full creative license to build portal pages with our drag and drop tools, creating infinite engagement opportunities. If you can dream it, OnSemble can do it. Our customers have recreated classic board games within the portal, launched digital scavenger hunts, and organized charity drives with the portals flexible tools.