Recognise This! – We can all contribute to more engaging work environments, if we choose.

I’m a sucker for a cute animal photo – like this one of the triplet giant panda cubs recently born in China. How can you not grin in response to that smile on the left panda’s face?

How can I possibly tie this level of cuteness into a blog post on a site dedicated to employee recognition, engagement and performance? Easy – Gallup and many other research firms tell us only one in three employees is truly engaged (at best). Only one in three are up, ready, and willing to happily engage with their work, their colleagues and the company. The other two? Dozing through the day, doing only what’s necessary to keep their jobs.

My experience viewing this photo is a bit like the self-fulfilling prophecy of employee engagement. The more you reach out and engage with others, the more they engage with you in response, and the more you’re willing to continue to go above and beyond.

But what about those other two? In the context of employee engagement, how do we “wake them up?” How can we help energise them and encourage them to engage, too? My colleague Traci Pesch pointed out earlier this week, we are all responsible for employee engagement. So while I certainly can’t force others to engage, it is fully in my power to create reasons why they might choose to.

Here are three questions to ask yourself to help increase employee engagement:

1) How can I be more engaging myself? Do I tend to micromanage? Then I need to back off and let others enjoy autonomy in their work. Do I always put my project needs ahead of others? Then I need to find ways to be more of a team player and prioritise others’ needs when appropriate.

2) How can I encourage the success of others? Do I appreciate my colleagues enough for their contributions? If not, I need to be more proactive about thanking them for their help. Do I recognise the successes of others? Perhaps I need to spend more time deliberately calling out colleagues for their efforts and contributions.

3) How can I change the atmosphere of the workplace? Do I generally have a negative or positive tone when working with others? How can I work differently with others to make the experience more fun, positive and appreciative for everyone?

We can’t necessarily engage others, but we can better engage ourselves and create more engaging environments.

What puts a smile on your face at work? What’s your favorite way to encourage others?

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