How to Increase Employee Engagement

One thing that many organisations struggle with is keeping their employees engaged. Whether the problem is the culture, a lack of purpose or of opportunities to grow, disengaged employees cost businesses dearly due to lost productivity and high staff turnover. So how can you motivate employees and get them engaged and working for the good of the business again?

Tell them your ‘why’

What is your company’s mission and purpose, and how do your employees fit into the overall picture? If they understand this, they’ll feel as if they are a vital and valuable part of something bigger than them, and they’ll be more motivated to work towards business goals.

Tell them their ‘why’

Employees will feel less engaged if they don’t understand how they contribute. Be sure to clearly define their role and how it contributes towards the achievement of strategic goals.

Communicate

If managers make an effort to be approachable and have regular contact with employees, they’ll feel valued and less like they’re just a ‘number.’

Encourage collaboration

Encouraging employees to contribute their ideas and suggestions will increase engagement, inspiration, and innovation.

Encourage regular breaks

If motivation and energy levels are low because people are stuck at their desks all day, including at lunchtime, make a point of encouraging them to take regular breaks, away from their screens and ideally, in the fresh air.

Be flexible

Employees have lives outside of work, and many of them would be better engaged if they had more flexible working patterns. Being able to start later, finish earlier, or occasionally work from home would improve work/life balance for many people, and they’d be happier, more productive, and more likely to stay as a result.

Look after employee wellbeing

If long working hours prevent people from exercising or heavy workloads make them feel chronically stressed, they’re much less likely to be happy and engaged at work. Introducing things like subsidised gym memberships, walking groups, and relaxation or meditation classes can go a long way towards improving employee wellbeing.

Reward a job well done

Giving an employee some recognition for a job well done can really boost morale and make them feel appreciated. It doesn’t have to be anything costly, but whatever it is, recognising good work can be an incentive to work hard for the company.

Encourage professional development

If employees see that they’re being encouraged to develop and learn new skills, they’ll feel more challenged and engaged, and they’ll want to stay, rather than go elsewhere for better opportunities.

 

Maureen O’Callaghan is a Member of the Chartered Management Institute and has an MSc in Mindfulness-Based Approaches. She works with organisations, teams, and individuals to create less stressful working environments, improve team working, enhance performance and productivity and develop leadership and management skills.  For more information visit www.mocallaghan.co.uk or e mail maureen@mocallaghan.co.uk

How to Take Inspired Action

Do you ever try to plan something to the letter, only to find that something unexpected happens and throws everything up in the air? Whether it’s work plans or plans we make in our personal lives, life has a funny way of scuppering our best intentions.

When things in life are going our way, it feels good, but when something happens to derail us, we can feel all sorts of emotions, from disappointment, to frustration, anger, anxiety, and overwhelm.

The reason for this is our need to control situations and their outcome, especially if the situation stirs up negative feelings like anxiety and fear. But control is an illusion, the only thing you can really be in control of is your own reaction to a situation, and the action you take as a result.

The importance of awareness

When you find yourself in an unexpected difficult situation, it’s important to take a moment and give yourself some breathing space before you make a decision about what you’re going to do next. Be aware of how you feel. Do you feel sad, angry, or frustrated? Acknowledge this. You might have felt these feelings so often that you’ve forgotten what they truly feel like. Allow yourself to just be with your feelings and to see them for what they are, even though this may be uncomfortable. This awareness gives you some much-needed space and being mindful grounds you in the present moment when you start thinking about things that have happened in the past, or trying to control a situation that may or may not happen in the future.  It can also help to ask yourself these questions:

What is it that I believe when I’m feeling like this?

Is this belief true?

What would my life be like if I didn’t have this belief?

Taking inspired action

Awareness and mindfulness are about what is present in each moment, and from a place of being aware and mindful, it is more likely that we’ll take inspired action. Inspired action is action we take when we’re choosing what our actions are inspired by. Every action we take is inspired by something, whether it’s habit, compassion, greed, or desire. Being aware and mindful helps you to make conscious choices about what inspires your actions. It might be that you mindfully decide to let go of a habit that no longer works for you, or you give up rushing through your life at 100mph and slow down and smell the flowers, either way, being truly aware can transform your life.

Inspired action feels good, but it’s not always comfortable

You might have to follow a course of action and simply trust that it’s right, and fight your mind’s desire to plan and control every aspect of what happens along the way. It’s not easy, but when your actions come from a place of deeper awareness and knowing, they are more aligned with who you really are, and you get to experience the true peace that comes with that.

Maureen O’Callaghan is a Member of the Chartered Management Institute and has an MSc in Mindfulness-Based Approaches. She works with organisations, teams, and individuals to create less stressful working environments, improve team working, enhance performance and productivity and develop leadership and management skills.  For more information visit www.mocallaghan.co.uk or e mail maureen@mocallaghan.co.uk

Success Without the Stress

Many people dream of being their own boss but few people don’t realise how challenging and stressful it can be. Leaving a secure salary behind can be scary, and then there’s the thought that you have to make all the decisions and wear all the hats. Suddenly, it all seems very daunting.

The pressures and challenges business owners have to face:

Financial insecurity

Walking away from a secure job and a salary can be scary, especially when you’re just starting off.

Uncertainty

There are no guarantees that your business will work or turn a profit, or even if you’ll be able to pay yourself a salary at first.

Staying motivated and passionate

You might have dreamed of being your own boss and following your passion, but will you have the determination and motivation to keep pushing on when it gets tough?

Lack of work/life balance

When you’re building your business, and even further down the line, you’ll come to realise that balancing work with a family and social life is very difficult unless you take some steps to properly manage your time.

Isolation

Being your own boss can be quite isolating, especially if you’re a sole trader or you work from home. The long hours you put in working on your business can make it tough to see your family and friends as much as you would like.

You’re not alone

So business owners have a lot on their plate, but the good news is, you’re not alone. After 20 years’ experience of leading teams in high-pressure corporate environments and running my own businesses, I decided to write ‘Success Without the Stress,’ a definitive guide to reducing stress for small business owners.

Stress can have an insidious impact on physical and mental health, and the book aims to help small business owners understand the pressures and challenges of running a business, and how to manage them.

What’s in the book?

You’ll find tried and tested management theory and practice, up-to-date research, and my own personal insights on topics such as:

  • Identifying the pressures and challenges faced by small business owners and how much control / influence you have over them
  • Building your confidence and self-esteem
  • Developing an authentic and powerful personal brand
  • Avoiding feelings of isolation by connecting with others
  • Developing business skills
  • Making wise and ethical decisions
  • Developing a less stressful approach to handling problems
  • Working more efficiently and effectively
  • Avoiding negative thinking habits
  • Building emotional resilience
  • Maintaining optimum health and wellbeing

There are also interactive activities to help you apply what you’ve learned

There are plenty of business books out there that aim to motivate people and help them reach their potential, but I saw a need for a book that addresses how stressful owning a business can be. I wish there had been a book like this when I first started out, and I wrote it with that in mind.

If you are a business owner who frequently feels overwhelmed, this book is for you. You can buy it here.

Maureen O’Callaghan is a Member of the Chartered Management Institute and has an MSc in Mindfulness-Based Approaches. She works with organisations, teams, and individuals to create less stressful working environments, improve team working, enhance performance and productivity and develop leadership and management skills.  For more information visit www.mocallaghan.co.uk or e mail maureen@mocallaghan.co.uk