In 2005 David Bolchover took it upon himself to find out what actively disengaged employees do when at work (and also when not). Scouring the research, he found that:
- 1 in 3 people have taken illegal drugs at work: ecstasy, cannabis, and cocaine
- 1 in 5 people have had sex at work
- 70% of porn site hits happen during working hours
- The actively disengaged have twice as much time off sick (and many of them are to be found at Alton Towers, apparently)
- 1in 5 people describe themselves as constantly surfing the net, while a majority of people estimate they spend the equivalent of a day a week on non-work websites at work
- 7% send more than 20 personal emails a day
- 1/3 of young professionals confess to being hung over twice a week at work; and
- A quarter of people have fallen asleep at work
Active disengagement at work costs the UK economy about £38bn a year.
So what makes for active engagement at work?
Using strengths and talents
People encouraged to use their strengths at work are about 2 & 1/2 times as likely to be engaged as those who are encouraged to focus on their weaknesses. They are particularly more likely to be engaged if they get to use their strengths every day. Help people identify their strengths either with good psychometrics like strengthscope, or through Appreciative Inquiry discovery interviews and Feedback Strengths Cards such as those sold on this website.
When people are in flow they are engaged. Flow is by definition an engaging experience. Flow experiences occur at work but aren’t always recognised as such. Help people understand their flow experiences. To discover them, inquire into when they ‘lose’ themselves in their work, or ask them when they feel ‘in the zone’
The helpful use of goals and rewards
Much goal setting at work is poorly done. At its best goal setting provides opportunities for people to experience plentiful, positive and meaningful rewards (positive reinforcement). Working for social or self-satisfaction rewards can be highly motivating and engaging. The sustainable reward pattern is one that is self-reinforcing e.g. the more or better I do, the better I feel. The flourishing factor of accomplishment is an expression of this self-reinforcing rewarding activity.
Help people find meaning in work
When people are engaged in work that they experience as meaningful, they are more engaged. People can be helped to create positive meaning at work, particularly when groups are given the opportunity to collectively to discover why their work is meaningful to them, to the organisation, and to the world.
Create positive emotional experience moments
The research into positive emotions continues to demonstrate the powerful positive effects of a high ratio of feeling good moments to feeling bad moments. Create environments where positive moments: a shared laugh, sharing good news, pauses for wonderment at the achievements of others, happens often.
Encourage job crafting
Helping people to shape their roles and tasks in a way that maximizes their sense of meaningfulness, their ability to use their strengths, their self-reinforcement and the pleasure they can take in their work will boost their engagement and their performance.
More on using positive psychology to boost engagement at work can be found in Sarah’s book Positive Psychology at Work
See more articles from the Knowledge Warehouse on this topic here.
Appreciating Change Can Help
Appreciating Change is skilled and experienced at supporting leaders in working in this challenging, exciting and productive way with their organizations. Find out more by looking at how we help with Engagement
For further information on these alternative approaches to change, please contact us or phone 07973 782 715