Written by Jeremiah Martin
Published: 13 January 2020
The new year is a chance to start fresh. Often, we make resolutions for the purpose of pushing our life in a new direction, doing something that recontextualizes our often-scattered efforts in a concerted plan towards a desirable future. Given the annual structure of engagement programs, the same barriers to meeting our new year’s resolutions can prevent the organization from creating the kinds of changes to make work more enjoyable for everyone.
What is also very true about New Year's resolutions is that they rarely pan out the way that we might have intended them too. Even when we check in regularly on our progress, we often do not see the progress that we set out to achieve at the start of the year.
It is important to remember, however, that simply stepping on the scale each morning, or regularly surveying employees for the levels of engagement, is not enough to make progress. Both the scale and survey are signals that we must interpret to understand what to do next. Defining an outcome and measuring our "progress" towards it is not enough. Often the barrier comes from not having clearly defined next actions.
With this in mind, let’s take this chance to review how we can more effectively action plan and create a support system for our goals. That way we can make 2020 the year that we can confidently cross those resolutions off of our list and apply this focus to improving engagement within the workplace.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Laozi
Within this phrase, we can see how accomplishing immense objectives grows out of tiny, humble behaviors on our part. In the case of a journey of a thousand miles, this involves simply taking the first step.
Sometimes, however, it is difficult to understand what even counts as a first step. This is where, when embarking on an unfamiliar journey, it is critical to consult some form of a map. For example, in the case of weight loss, this might involve researching which diets have proven effective or by consulting someone else who has experience in the matter.
Keep in mind that this act of research, or consulting an expert, is itself the first step This can be quite daunting, but acknowledging that we might not have the expertise within the relevant area to judge what is likely to work or not is a necessary part of the journey. Being effective in our efforts often comes down to being humble and open to approaching the task without our egos getting in the way.
This presents another problem of evaluating the quality of the advice that we come across. Here are a few important considerations:
- Does the advice provided explain how it will help you meet your goals?
- Does the advice give you specific information on the behaviors or "steps" that you will be taking as part of your efforts?
- Are those making the recommendations basing it off of empirical research or in-depth knowledge of how to create the outcomes you are looking to achieve?
Even with advice that meets all of the above criteria, however, we often fail to take the necessary actions. That is why it is also important to ensure that you have the support and buy-in you need to meet your resolutions. For example, if you plan on radically changing your diet to meet a weight goal, ensuring your partner is on-board for changes to dinner plans would be a key step to consider. Just the same, in the realm of increasing engagement within the workplace, it is critical that everyone understands the challenges you face, and why supporting positive change within the organization helps everyone work more effectively and happily.
It was precisely the gaps in much of the advice provided by existing engagement platforms that lead Mindset to begin working in the engagement space. We make sure to pair the result of the survey process with specific feedback on how to enhance engagement at all levels of your business. Engage PERSONAL provides every participating employee with a breakdown of their engagement levels, as well as information on how they can work with their manager to improve their working experience. This, like New Year resolutions, is solely at the discretion of the employee, and helps to buy them in to any broader efforts on the part of the organization.
For managers, we created the Engage INSIGHT tool to help them understand the challenges facing employees within their business unit, and pairs these challenges with actionable information based on scientific research and expert opinion on how to drive deeper engagement on the part of their team members.
Whether you are focused on personal goals or building an engaged workplace, it is critical that you have a clear idea where you need to go, and how you plan on getting there.
Happy New Year from the Mindset Team.