Schwartz and Porath, in their Times op-ed article “Why You Hate Work” define engagement as “involvement, commitment, passion, enthusiasm, focused effort and energy” and link it to greater corporate performance. They back their conclusion with findings substantiated by studies undertaken by Gallup and the consulting firm Towers Watson.
Companies can build engagement among their employees by meeting four core needs:
- Renewal – Employees who were encouraged to take frequent breaks reported enhanced feelings of rest, creativity and increased energy.
- Value – Feeling cared about by one’s manager increases employee productivity and well-being more than any other single attribute of a manager.
- Focus – When employees could focus on one task at a time or prioritize tasks, they demonstrated significantly greater productivity.
- Purpose – Employees who could derive meaning and a sense of purpose in their work were more likely to stay with their organizations.
When asked if their employees performed better when they felt more energized, valued, focused and purposeful, senior managers answered with a resounding “yes.”
When the same leaders were asked how much they invested in meeting those needs, most often the question was met with silence.