Employee Engagement: individual’s investment of wisdom, skills, energies, creativity and time in the work assigned.
This is the last of 5 articles exploring specifics of employee engagement. We’ve examined Wisdom, Skills, Energies and Creativity. Using Time as a factor in employee engagement is more than merely “time management.” Let’s see how.
What Time Means (Definition)
Concerning “work,” Time is the limited period or interval (of minutes, hours, days, etc.) 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 for 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: 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:
Any one factor will improve your business’s employee engagement. Any combination will increase it even more.
About the Author: Tim Wright is professional speaker/coach/facilitator with expertise in employee engagement and culture improvement.