Work that engages us meets our needs for meaning, making a contribution with our strengths, and connection with others, according to the Gallup organization. Gallup surveys frequently show low levels of engagement at work. Since a large part of our time is devoted to work, finding a job that meets these needs contributes greatly to our happiness. The cost of low work engagement is high, but there are ways to increase work engagement.
The MAGIC framework from decision-wise.com is a helpful way to look at five keys to engagement at work. The book is available at Amazon.
- Meaning – work that has purpose and adds value
- Autonomy – ability to shape the work and environment
- Growth – opportunities for learning
- Impact – seeing positive outcomes and results of the work
- Connection- positive relationships add to a sense of belonging: caring managers, co-workers, and communication
Increase work engagement through growth:
1. Learning activities to develop skills
A learning organization encourages learning with a system that allows advancement with approved learning activities. Individuals are responsible for their own development, and document progress with a plan for learning.
An Individual Development Plan is a tool to grow professionally.To create an individual development plan, first identify needed skills, then identify learning activities that will increase them. Read more about Individual Development Plans at Indeed, and find a form at Individual Development Planning from Yale.
- Review job description (or an O*Net description) and list competencies or skills needed for the job.
- Target skills to develop.
- Determine your learning style.
- Select a learning activity to develop the skill.
- Determine a target date.
- Identify the support/authorization you need from others – supervisors, employers, coach, substitute.
- Transfer training to the workplace by identifying how you will apply it. Share what you learned with co-workers.
- In-house courses
- Formal courses
- Online courses
- Reading books/journals that focus on a need or problem
- Giving presentations
- Participating in special projects
- Writing for publication
- Job exchange, visiting another workplace to study a procedure
2. Work goals connected to mission and values
Work goals that align with the mission of an organization and your personal values contribute to work engagement.
- Growth- choose goals with the right amount of challenge and stretch
- Opportunities- goals open up opportunities for advancement
- Autonomy- goals are a way to influence our work
- Learning- include learning as one of your work goals
- Skills- goals are a SMART way to develop work skills
Read more about work goals at Development Plans Are Not Just For Work.
Relevance, Results, Recognition are antidotes to job misery and setting work goals goes a long way towards achieving these.
RELEVANCE – choose goals that contribute to mission, vision, and values.
RESULTS- see results with measures for goals, and performance reviews.
Impact: see the impact of your work by choosing measures for goals and reviewing results regularly.
Performance Reviews: how often?
- Basics of Effective One-on-Ones from Manager-Tools.com- weekly or bi-weekly.
- “First Break All the Rules”-Ask how often they’d like to meet. If it’s once every three months, make a note of that preference, today’s date, the date three months in the future for the next review, and schedule that date in your calendar. Do this each time, and you’ll have done quarterly reviews.
More questions to consider:
- What things have made your job more difficult, and what needs to be done in the next year to increase productivity? –Performance Management
- Brand Autopsy-Always Measure Your Comparable Job Performance
Recognition and appreciation is the number one thing employees want. Provide Rewards for learning accomplishments.
Additional Reading on Work Engagement and Learning Organizations
- The Top 10 Skills & Qualities Employers Want
- Top 10 Things Employees Want
- The Learning Organization at Wikipedia
- Book: “The Learning Edge” by Cal Wick
- Purpose, Feedback, and a Balance of challenge and skill are essential for flow.
- Purpose, Autonomy, and Mastery are key to motivation.
See also: Set Work Goals | Develop Work Skills | Development Plans are not just for Work | Work Skills Toolkit | Work Engagement Board at Pinterest | The surprising truth about the workforce gap
Great post! I kept pulling out links to send to our HR person, and finally gave up and sent her a link to the whole thing.
employee job performance appraisals
Using programming languages and markup languages (such as HTML) require some of the same skills, but using markup languages is generally
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