Employee Engagement: individual’s investment of wisdom, skills, energies, creativity and time in the work assigned.
This is No. 3 of five articles exploring specifics of employee engagement. We’ve examined wisdom and skills. Now let’s look at energies, which are resources every employee needs and are efforts engaged employees put forth.
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 a 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)
A list of resources for developing energies 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. When employees know their physical energy is valued, they give their energy ample attention. Frequent, energetic reminders and reinforcements will help. Specific attention to food, sleep and exercise scores high. Also consider: Posters. Email reminders. Newsletter columns. Health benefits awards. Healthy foods at the cafeteria and in vending machines. Events celebrating good health and physical energy. These items just begin the list!
Mental. Mental energy increases the ability to use one’s knowledge and wisdom. 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 his or her work, team/teammates, and the company creates emotional energy. Positive energy generates positive engagement in the work. Stimulation of positive emotional energy is one aspect of emotional intelligence. Specific actions in the workplace 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 stronger their employee engagement.
Keep an eye out for the next article; we will explore creativity’s contribution to employee engagement.
Resources For Energy:
About the Author: Tim Wright is a professional speaker/coach/facilitator with expertise in employee engagement and culture improvement.