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Winning in the Workplace: What Employees Want

  • H. Norman Schwarzkopf, retired U.S. Army General, once remarked: “I have seen competent leaders who stood in front of a platoon and all they saw was a platoon. But great leaders stand in front of a platoon and see it as 44 individuals, each of whom has aspirations, each of whom wants to live, each of whom wants to do good.”
  • A feeling of “being in on things,” and of being given opportunities to participate in decision-making often reduces stress. It also creates trust and a culture where people want to take ownership of problems.
  • As former Campbell’s Soup CEO, Doug Conant, once said, “To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.”
  • Employee engagement is often viewed as a “soft” HR sort of subject, but the hard reality is that flawed management practices contribute significantly to employee disengagement – and disengaged employees are unproductive employees.
  • Employee engagement doesn’t mean employee satisfaction. Many companies have “employee satisfaction” surveys and executives talk about “employee satisfaction,” but the bar is set too low. A satisfied employee might show up for her daily 9-to-5 without complaint. But that same “satisfied” employee might not go the extra effort on her own, and she’ll probably take the headhunter’s call luring her away with a 10% bump in pay. Satisfied isn’t enough.
  • Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a paycheck, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization’s goals.
  • In a study for the American Psychological Association, researchers James Harter, Frank Schmidt and Corey Keyes concluded in a report entitled, “Well-Being in the Workplace and its Relationship to Business Outcomes,” productivity was enhanced in workplaces where daily occurrences that bring about joy, interest, and caring that lead to high level of bonding of individuals to each other, their work and their organization. The authors concluded that well-being in the workplace is, in part, a function of helping employees do what is naturally right for them by freeing them to do so–through behaviors that influence employee engagement and therefore that increase the frequency of positive emotions.
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