Employee Engagement is a popular catch phrase. But what does it look like?
I have a friend whose elderly mother developed an anxiety-inducing fear of hospitals after a rather traumatic experience five years ago, most of which she attributed to the apathetic attitude of much of the hospital staff. Her mom had managed to avoid another visit until recently. But everything was different this time. And it started with a couple of bulletin boards. Upon entry to the floor, patients and visitors are greeted with a collage titled “This is Us.” On it are photos of hospital employees raising glasses of beer at a baseball game, a happy couple on their wedding day, a doctor on a dream vacation, and cherished pets. Further down the hall is a board covered in “Random Acts of Kindness” cards that patients, visitors, and employees can fill out to praise staff for their good deeds.
The hospital staff has found a way to inject some levity and humanity into an often stressful and challenging work environment, in a way that actually lowers the stress and heightens the human connection. My friend’s mom loved looking at the boards on her twice-daily walks around the unit. And she kidded her nurse: “Hey, I see you like Corona!”
And then there’s my favorite example that I experienced a year ago — my friend Janez. Last year when my husband, Bill, and I were returning from New Orleans, we arrived at the airport well in advance of our departure time in the hopes of catching an earlier flight. We ensconced ourselves at Gate Nine. And that’s when we met Janez, who was the Southwest Airlines gate agent that night. She picked up the microphone: “Ladies and gentlemen would you like to have some fun tonight?”
What ensued was a good hour of our fellow passengers — and yours truly — singing and dancing. Here’s the video where I recount the experience, and suffice it to say, it was a dream example of the power of bringing joy and fun to your everyday work.
You can create engagement in hospitals, in airports, and in factories. If there are employees, there’s an opportunity to increase engagement. But don’t take my word for it, check out this article from The Society for Human Resource Management: 7 Tips to Increase Employee Engagement Without Spending a Dime.
Do you have any examples of how you’ve channeled your inner Janez in your work environment? I’d love to hear them!
This morning, my son Jeffrey suggested we meditate together. “Great,” I replied, “where should we sit?”
“The view is nice from the hotel window, let’s just sit here.” I looked out the window in incredible disbelief. “What the heck?” I thought. And then I said, “What I like about you, Jeffrey, is you see the positive in everything, even parking lots and the backs of buildings.”
He said, “Allow me”, and he pushed the drapes aside a bit more, and gently took my head in his hands, redirecting the way I was looking out the window. Yes, we had two very different views from our hotel room, as his included a sprawling Arizona mountain landscape.
“Wow,” I said, “I could have left this hotel and never realized we had a view!”
I feel like this happens so often in corporate America. Last week I was having coffee with an executive and he shared with me a conflict that had occurred in his office recently.
The client retold that he had said during a meeting, “I think we might be agreeing with each other.” When that didn’t work, he said, “I don’t think we are very far apart here.” Both are statements of finding commonality, and understanding differing points of view.
Unfortunately, and the reason we were meeting for coffee, is that two members of that group were already too incensed and upset to listen. They were unable to have their vision “gently redirected.”
What do you miss when you don’t allow yourself to be “gently redirected?”
The Loves of My Life…
In other cultures, there are multiple words for the various kinds of love that we experience. I am told that there is a word for romantic love that is different from the word for the love a parent has for a child, and another word altogether for loving an activity like eating or walking on the beach…
I could Google this and learn about it, but I think that it would be more fun if you, my blog readers, would write to me and tell me about your many loves.
I use the word “love” all the time!
I love my kids with such intensity that I can feel it in my bones. I love my house. I love my friends. I love pizza and french fries (I like a good salad but I don’t love salad). I love my husband so much that I refer to him as “A lover” in my contacts list on my cell phone.
AND I love my work!!
When I think of work, I think of anything we as humans do that is productive. If you are a student, that is your work. If you are caring for a loved one, that is your work. You may have two (or more!) jobs.
So, I love feeling productive. I love helping clients. I love being creative. I love my colleagues. And I have memories of things that I loved about previous jobs. I will share mine, if you share yours!
A project that I loved doing…what project did you love doing?
A work group that I loved being a part of…what work group did you love being a part of?
Something about my workspace that I loved…what is something about your workspace that you loved?
A technology that I loved…what technology did you love?
A favorite restaurant near work that I loved frequenting…what restaurant did you love near work?
A stretch assignment that hurt, but after the fact, I loved…what was your favorite stretch assignment?
A boss, or mentor I loved because of how he or she believed in me…what boss or mentor believed in you?
A colleague I loved…what colleague(s) have you loved?
A piece of clothing that I loved wearing to work…what article of clothing have you loved wearing to work?
I can’t wait to hear about your work-related loves. If you tell me yours, I will tell you mine!!