Energize your workforce: 10 ways leaders can take employees "beyond engagement".

Author:Wilson, Brady G.

Today's employees--even those who may be engaged--are exhausted. Depleted of passion, resilience, verve and excitement, they are devoid of the personal energy that compels them to consistently go above and beyond the call of duty.

To create a sustainable, innovative and high-performing organizational culture, businesses need to focus on both engagement and energy--essentially, moving "beyond engagement" as we know it today.

Brain science provides us with an understanding of how to get there. Here are 10 ways for leaders to change the way they approach engagement--and put energy first.

  1. Manage energy, not engagement

    When we are low on energy, we lose our ability to focus, regulate emotions, make decisions and take action. By managing energy instead of engagement, leaders protect employees' executive function. This can unlock energy that fuels enthusiasm and innovation--generating sustainable engagement.

  2. Deliver experiences, not promises

    When elaborate recognition/reward programs and intricate performance management systems don't deliver on leaders' promises, this creates workplace cynicism workplace--leading employees to see employee engagement as a con game. But by delivering on experiences, leaders can create a happy, productive, frequently energized employee base.

  3. Target emotion, not logic

    We live and work in a "Feelings Economy," where feelings--not intellect--drive employee behavior. In fact, research shows that emotional engagement trumps rational engagement by a multiple of four! Understanding what matters most to employees--and then acting upon that information--is an effective way to show compassion and support.

  4. Trust conversations, not surveys

    Annual engagement survey results only provide a small glimpse of a very large picture. To really understand and energize employees, leaders must shift to frequent, face-to-face, meaningful conversations with employees. Why? Quality conversation releases all kinds of high-performance hormones in our brains.

  5. Seek tension, not harmony

    The brain's natural response to tension is to interpret it as a threat. However, we are actually energized by tension. Many opportunities for innovative breakthroughs exist between the current and desired way of doing things. The trick is for leaders to learn to stand amid that tension--not to avoid it--and effectively manage competing priorities.

  6. Practice partnering, not parenting

    The brain perceives "shared responsibility" as a risk. Therefore, leaders may resort to parental-like...

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