Optimising Perception at the Workplace

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employee engagement

The way that employees perceive the workplace determines their engagement and quality of contributions. Engaged workers have a long-term interest in their roles, which reduces employee turnover rates and improves workplace productivity. Organisational leaders can optimise perception at the workplace by approaching employees with a genuine interest in their perspectives and foster growth and development opportunities. Additionally, workers should feel a sense of belonging and be willing to give more than 100% of their efforts. 

Develop Employees

Employee development is not a destination but an ongoing journey. Leaders should keep things interesting by offering new assignments, roles, tasks, and operations that provide fresh new challenges. Employees look forward to a place where they can acquire new skills, expertise, and knowledge to advance their careers. 

Growth and development are especially crucial for a young and optimistic workforce that focuses on five-year or ten-year plans. While we may live in an era known for high turnovers and short-term stints, a dynamic workplace that emphasises employee development may hold up against the trends. 

Leaders will also need to provide employees with the right tools for the learning and developmental process. These may include laptops, IoT devices, access to public cloud systems, and user-friendly APIs. According to Zapier, 16% of millennials and Gen-Z employees have quit due to the lack of proper technology at work. 

Essentially, workplace cultures with diverse learning opportunities can help provide employees with the education they would otherwise seek from a new work environment. Additionally, regular training provides workers with the skills and confidence to function at their best among the evolving workforce. LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Report states that companies rated highly on employee training faced 53% lower attrition rates

Organizational leaders should represent and promote the culture of pro-change and development to set the tone for all employees. Leaders should consider joining courses and seminars with workers to share their learning journey. 

Promote Diversity

Diversity is a term commonly associated with gender, age, or creed. But when it comes down to a workplace, diversity goes beyond personal identity. It is the weaving together of various skills, belief systems, and perspectives into a single high-powered juggernaut for your organisation.  

A diverse workplace is known to improve productivity significantly. One possible reason is that individual strengths are used like putty to patch up others’ shortcomings and weaknesses. The collective strengthens as a result and advances with fewer obstacles in its way.  

Strength-based practices can help improve diversity at the workplace since they focus on improving an individual’s innate talents rather than reducing weaknesses. By improving what a worker is naturally good at, they are better adept at contributing to the organisation’s whole. 

There are two thought-provoking theories associated with strengths-based practices. Firstly, there is the circle of competence developed by legendary investors Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger. Buffet and Munger believed that we should focus on what we’re naturally good at or our areas of specialization. 

We may choose to expand the circle over time, but it is counterproductive to deviate too far from its perimeters. In other words, better a specialist in one than a jack-of-all-trades. 

Munger once explained how we could apply the Circle of Expertise to life beyond investing, “You have to figure out what your aptitudes are. If you play games where other people have the aptitudes, and you don’t, you’re going to lose. And that’s as close to certain as any prediction that you can make. You have to figure out where you’ve got an edge. And you’ve got to play within your circle of competence.”

The second theory is known as the volunteer’s folly. Volunteer’s folly was coined by writer Rolf Dobelli, referring to how individuals tend to volunteer their time for a good cause (like building a well in Africa) when they can achieve more within their circle of competence (earning money and donating proceeds for the construction of ten wells). 

Volunteer’s folly is proof that we achieve less when we focus on things beyond our expertise – regardless of the intention. Leaders who manage workers within their circle of competence can sustain a diverse and positive work experience. 

Stay Engaged

Employee engagement is the special sauce that keeps workers happy, proactive, and loyal to the company. According to Achievers’s 2020 Engagement and Retention Report, employees who feel inadequately recognised have lower engagement and twice as likely to quit in the next year

Leaders play a crucial role in employee engagement, starting from the onboarding process. Always have your employee’s strengths in mind before delegating a task or role. Online assessments such as the CliftonStrengths (Cliftons StrengthFinder) can help leaders identify a potential hire’s innate talents for optimal deployment and results. 

Organisational leaders need to focus on a worker’s authentic strengths, including attitude, altitude, and teamwork with colleagues. A well-tuned employee structure helps leaders personalise long-term strategies in fitting each worker with the rest of the organisation.  

Recognition can help add purpose to the role of employees and keep them motivated toward achieving their own professional goals. The aim is to convey the message that they work with you, and not for you during their stay in the company. It is essential to establish a system that rewards each worker for their unique contributions and letting them know that you will go out of the way to help them reach their goals. 

Leaders should consider sharing their success (even the smallest ones) and formally appreciating employees for being a massive part of the process. It also helps for leaders to learn more about the personal life and challenges faced by workers. Employee engagement is ultimately about maintaining interests on multiple fronts – keeping workers excited over diverse tasks (with minimal repetition if possible) and feeling involved in the organisation’s future.  

StrengthsAsia has helped many individuals and corporate clients empower leaders throughout the region by enabling breakthrough experiences for both leaders and followers. If you wish to learn more about the Strengths Leadership Program, please reach out to us here.

A devotee at the altar of language and a celebrant of expression. Laurenzo has written for various SMEs, MNCs, startups and international brands over the last three years. He specializes in topics of psychology, lifestyle, employee management, and digital trends.

Maalikka is the latest addition to StrengthsAsia’s team of marketing and content extraordinaries. As an avid reader, writer and learner, she’s always on the lookout for new information online or interesting conversations to inspire her. Her other passions include gaming, Netflix and cats.

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