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November 19, 2009

Use a “Spirit at Work” Program to Engage Employees

Filed under: General HR Buzz11:46 am

A study at the University of Alberta showed that people need a sense of purpose in order to feel engaged with their work. A ‘Spirit at Work’ intervention program for a group of long-term health-care workers boosted morale and job retention. This program urged employees to rethink their job, which reduced absenteeism by 60% and turnover by 75%.

“We discovered that people who are able to find meaning and purpose in their work, and can see how they make a difference through that work, are healthier, happier and more productive employees,” said Val Kinjerski, a University of Alberta PhD graduate who co-authored the study.

E-science news gathered this information from the Journal of Gerontological Nursing. By helping your people understand why they do what they do – you can increase happiness and productivity. Here are few ideas that might help your employees/coworkers to connect with their work.

Create Your Own Spirit at Work Intervention Program

1. Talk about positive stories
2. Have people share positive stories to be compiled for other employees
3. Listen to customer feedback
4. Find out what improvements your people would like to implement
5. Ask your employees how they want to celebrate great results

Your organization has an opportunity to create happier and more engaged workers with these easy to apply secrets that everyone should know, but many aren’t willing to try:

1. Talk about positive stories. Your organization has many stories of how employees solved problems, helped others in need, and other ways in which they went above and beyond to make someone happy. However, a lot of us like to play the modesty card. We hesitate to flaunt our achievements. Wrong. So wrong. You need to flaunt your greatness; it’s a must!

2. Have people share positive stories to be compiled for other employees. So now that you have all these positive stories, you should compile them in a central location. That means keeping emails from customers/clients and that also means writing down stories from employees. The more stories an organization can compile the more powerful it becomes. If your organization is huge, then break it down into departments. Even departments such as marketing and accounting need to compile stories. These stories may be more internal, but it’s still important to document what is happening so you can link to why you do what you do.

3. Listen to Customer Feedback. In order to stay engaged in our work, we have to recognize our mistakes and understand how to fix them. By listening to customer feedback, an organization is taking the time to understand their mistakes and correct them.

4. Find out what improvements your people would like to implement, If you can listen to customers’ needs then it’s time to listen to employees’ needs. Your employees are at their most creative when they are trying to fix problems. Your organization employs smart people, otherwise they probably wouldn’t hold the positions that they do. They just need a chance to unleash that creativity and wow the customer.

5. Ask your employees how they want to celebrate great results. Every company is capable of achieving great results, especially if they’ve been around for more than a few years. If your organization is ho hum about the results that do occur, your people may stop trying. People want to know that what they do matters. That means celebrating all the good things.
This should be done in large and small groups. The larger gatherings can occur about 1-4 times a year, while the smaller groups (celebrations by department) should be done more often.

After implementing these secrets for about a year, assess how these changes affect your organization. You will probably notice that people are more engaged and willing to try a little harder to meet each other’s needs as well as the needs of the customer.

These techniques will work for most companies. The companies that do fail usually do so because they don’t make this practice a habit. It needs to become part of the culture, so when something difficult happens there are techniques to fall back on. And when something great happens everyone dances on their desks, feeling proud of their effort.



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