How to Make Time for Employee Engagement (5 of 5)

Employee Engagement: individual’s investment of wisdom, skills, energies, creativity and time in the work assigned.

This is #5 of 5 articles exploring specifics of Employee Engagement. We’ve examined Wisdom and Skills, Energies and Creativity. Using Time as a factor in Employee Engagement is more than merely “time management.” Let’s see how.

Time Promotes Engagement

Time Promotes Engagement

What Time Means (definition)

Concerning “work” Time is the limited period or interval (of minutes, hours, days, etc.) as between two successive events and considered distinct from other periods. We think of work in terms of time required: a day, a week, a quarter. And we know time in terms of deadlines: by tomorrow, by next week, by the end of this quarter. We frame work by time: how long it will take (projected) and how long it actually took (expended).

What Time Brings (value)

We’re referring to the value of engaged time: time in which individuals actively invest themselves and their wisdom, skills, energies and creativity. When employees engage time rather than compete with time, wrestle time, feel pressured or oppressed by time, then their work and its outcomes are of greater quality. Here are some specifics.

Savor Time. Some approach time as the determinant of how much, how fast, or how long the task at hand. Some who savor time are more constructive in what they bring to their jobs and their company. These view an assignment through the lens of what they may do, what they can complete, what they will contribute. These individuals savor the work and therefore the time they spend engaged in their work.

Making Time Work. This is not “time management”. Time management holds that there’s not (ever) enough time. That creates a hardship mindset from the start. Approaching an activity and viewing time as an ally allows more energy and creativity for the work. Viewing time as a raw material, chunks of which are available to use, makes time a workable partner in the effort.

Stronger Self. Chasing time–or being chased by time’s shortage–draws on one’s energies (LINK): physical, mental and emotional. That reduces one’s sense of strength, ability to function, confidence, even self-worth. When one feels that time is her creation with which to work, a resource he makes available when he needs it, those personal strengths are held in greater supply, more readily available to boost one’s engagement.

How to Bring On Time (actions)

Incorporate Self-time.  Both individuals and corporate culture need to respect the value of self-time: time in which the employee frees herself physically, mentally and emotionally from the job. This can and should occur in a variety of ways. Self-time can be 5 minutes up and away from the desk, breathing deeply, and repeating an affirmation. Self-time may be a commitment to making the time between 11:30 and 12:30 non-working lunch time. Self-time may be the carefully built habit of not performing any aspect of work after a certain p.m. time; it may be that zero work is ever taken home.

De-meet Time. Many–likely an increasing number of–business days are riddled with meetings. There is likely truth to the belief that the value of meetings is in inverse proportion to the number of meetings. IOW: the more meetings, the less their value. The company can de-meet-ify itself by discouraging meetings and encouraging  conversations and communications in less time/energy-consuming ways. I’ll bet there will be minimal resistance from employees.

Experience Time. Take a new look at time. Post time-thought questions such as What were your most valuable 10 minutes today? What time of day are you most productive? Do you schedule time for interruptions? How much time do you devote to planning your time? These will result in meaningful answers. They will also produce meaningful thought about time and what time means. That will lead to employees thinking about how they engage their time.

This and the previous 4 articles explored these engagement factors:

  • Wisdom (LINK)
  • Skills (LINK)
  • Energies (LINK)
  • Creativity (LINK)
  • Time
  • Any one factor will improve your business’s Employee Engagement. Any combination will increase it even more.

photo credit: T-K-D via photopin cc

Ideas to Bring Creativity to Employee Engagement (4 of 5)

Employee Engagement: individual’s investment of wisdom, skills, energies, creativity and time in the work assigned.

This is #4 of 5 articles exploring specifics of Employee Engagement. We’ve examined Wisdom  and Skills and Energies. Let’s look at Creativity, a talent every individual can engage in unlimited ways.

Creativity Colors Engagement

Creativity Colors Engagement

What Creativity Means (definition)

Creativity is ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods and inspiration. For business, creativity is not “fine arts”. It is the ability to look at standard ways of doing things and standard things produced, and to see something different. That novel thinking is creativity. Every business needs it to continue progressing.

What Creativity Brings (value)

Employees’ creativity brings value to the workplace. These may be the most powerful.

Innovation. If creativity generates ideas, innovation puts those ideas to work. Innovation includes analyzing, designing, developing, implementing and evaluating the practical output of creativity. Innovation proves creativity is valuable. The business that wants plenty of employee engagement encourages plenty of creative output. The business that wants maximum “return on creativity” applies process and procedure that turn creativity into innovation.

Motivation. Creativity that is recognized motivates individuals to produce more creativity: to think and see and hear and imagine in new, different ways. Frequent, sincere, public idea celebration pushes employees to keep producing them. Here’s a caveat: encouraging only “good” ideas has a limiting effect. Insistence on judging ideas before sharing them automatically cuts their free-flow. Quality is found before quantity in the dictionary, not when it comes to finding valuable ideas.

Inspiration. Inspiration pulls from inside (motivation pushes from outside). Inspiration lures an individual to exert her creative efforts, to share his creative ideas, to explore what’s unknown, knowing that’s where the good is found. Inspiration comes from excitement of feeling the brainstorm, seeing the light bulb flash, experiencing novelty’s rush. Inspiration comes from confidence that creative effort produces valuable results. Coming up with a new idea fuels the desire for another new idea. And another and another.

How to Bring Creativity On (actions)

Opportunities. The business that induces creativity is sure to have higher levels of employee engagement. Opportunities to appreciate creativity, to experiment creatively, and to enjoy creative freedoms provide such inducement. Recognize the wide range opportunities to break away from same ol’, same ol’ thinking, opportunities that appeared at the start of the digital wave. Creative areas present inside and outside the building. Many creative tools: pads, markers, toys to stimulate imagination. Emphasis on collaborative conversation (rather than always and only reporting-to-the-manager).

Celebrations. Celebrating all creative activity (not just “success”) is a great first step to teaching creativity. Recognizing new ideas and celebrating their abundance is critical. Keep in mind: the more raw number of ideas, the more creatively “good” ideas among them. Encourage profusion. The celebration of new ideas can be an ordinary action; I’ve known managers who had “New Idea Share” as a regular agenda item for every meeting.  The celebration of great ideas can have plenty of hoopla; I’ve known managers who  featured “Creativity That Worked” events in which successful innovations were celebrated with plenty of fanfare.

Culture Vibes. How creative is your corporate culture? Are the freedoms to be creative, to test one’s creativity, to speak up and share creative thinking inherent parts of your organization’s personality? To be a vibrant part of your culture, the opportunity and enthusiasm for creativity must be prevalent. It is possible for an element of culture to be part of the norm and to receive ample attention. It’s up to leadership and management to see that creativity doesn’t become so taken for granted that it becomes an “unconscious competence” and loses its power.

Creativity holds a key role in the formula for Employee Engagement. It coordinates with Wisdom, Skills, and Energies. The final component — Time — will be explored in our 5th of 5 articles.

Tips to Bring Energies to Employee Engagement (3 of 5)

Employee Engagement: individual’s investment of wisdom, skills, energies, creativity and time in the work assigned.

This is #3 of 5 articles exploring specifics of Employee Engagement. We’ve examined Wisdom and Skills. Now let’s look at Energies, a resource every employee needs and an effort engaged employees put forth.

Energies drive engagement

Energies Drive Engagement

What Energies Mean (definition)

Energies: the capacities for vigorous activity, available power; the habits of vigorous activity, vigor as a characteristic. We apply the definition to work situations: energy drives and demonstrates action for the purpose of job completion, output, productive results. We distinguish three types of energy: physical energy, mental energy, emotional energy. Each contributes to Employee Engagement.

What Energies Bring (value)

As with the other investments in one’s Employee Engagement, energy and engagement are mutually reinforcing. An energized employee engages more fully; an engaged employee draws energy from the engagement. This mutual enhancement generates specific values your company derives from increased attention to employee energy.

Quality. When energy is brought to work, the quality of performance and output increases. The employee with ample physical, mental and emotional energy approaches tasks more conscientiously and thoroughly. Mistakes are less likely but if present more quickly rectified.That adds up to quality.

Commitment. Commitment to one’s work, one’s team, and one’s company demands energy. Attention to short-term tasks at hand and to long-term expectations demonstrates that commitment. Both attention types matter to the company and its success. How much and how well your company provides resources that energize employees can impact how much commitment and how much success.

Enthusiasm. Although not the same thing, Employee Engagement, employee satisfaction, and employee happiness all share high level of employee enthusiasm. Typically for one’s job, one’s team and teammates, and for the company at large. Enthusiasm is an expression of energy, whether physical, mental or emotional. Enthusiasm serves any organization from performance to profitability, from retention to revenue.

How to Bring Energies On (actions)

An energetic list of resources is at the end of this article. Many of the resources offer blends of physical, mental, and/or emotional energizing tips. These immediate suggestions are separated by energy type.

Physical. Let employees know their physical energy is valued and they will give their energy ample attention. Frequent, energetic reminders and reinforcements will help. Specific attention to food, sleep and exercise scores high.  Also consider: Posters. E-mail reminders. Newsletter columns. Health benefits awards. Healthy foods in cafeteria and vending machines. Events celebrating good health and physical energy. These items just begin the list!

Mental. Mental energy increases one’s ability to use the knowledge and wisdom in one’s head. That energy comes from relaxing the mind from (tiring) tasks and stimulating the mind with innovative thinking exercises. Filtering out decisions proactively clears the mind by not trying to handle every decision that “must be made” at this very moment. Mental diversions – regular breaks, puzzle books, games, no-talk-about-work areas – demonstrate value placed on mental energy and pragmatic ways for employees to boost it.

Emotional. How one feels about her work, her team/teammates, and the company creates emotional energy. Positive energy generates positive engagement in the work. The stimulation of positive emotional energy is one aspect of emotional intelligence. Specific actions in the workplace can contribute also: bright colors (in the office, as dress for certain days), fun events and environment, non-competitive games. Work requires too much time not to have good emotional energy for it.

The simple truth is this: the more ways you support and encourage employees’ energies, the better their level of Employee Engagement.

Keep an eye out for the next article; we will explore Creativity’s contribution to Employee Engagement.

Resources for Energy:

To Work Better Just Get Up From Your Desk

13 Ways to Boost Your Work Energy

5 Ways to Boost Employee Energy

Bored at Work Energy Tips

Super Charge Energy at Work: 10 Ways

21 Ways to Boost Energy

8 Unobvious Ways to Have More Energy at Work

55 Out of the Ordinary Ways to Get More Energy

Help Employees Sleep Better

photo credit: SOMBILON ART, MEDIA and PHOTOGRAPHY via photopin cc

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