Forbes defines employee engagement as the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. Employee disengagement continues to cost businesses $450 to $550 billion annually. This is because businesses continue failing to recognize that employee engagement is an emotional phenomenon. Instead, organizations tend to limit or block emotional expression. But businesses can’t have engagement without engaging emotions. Emotions are a fundamental driver of behavior and action. Emotional involvement makes employees willing to devote extra effort to make a real difference at work.
Here are five easy ways you can actively engage emotions at work to position your team to perform its best.
1. Acknowledge Emotions
Before you can use emotional effectiveness for improved work outcomes, you need to develop a certain degree of self-awareness. When you can recognize your own emotional responses, you can control them. This requires a deliberate decision to develop and use emotional awareness. Build up your word bank to identify emotions before they can hijack your day.
2. Show Appreciation
Gratitude and appreciation can reverse primitive stress reactions by engaging higher functions in the prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, a simple act of appreciation goes the distance with employees by fulfilling a fundamental need for recognition. Also, when people feel valued, it stimulates the reward center of the brain, inciting them to repeat rewarding behaviors.
3. Have Fun
Studies have long concluded that play engages specific neural pathways that ignite creativity and spark the imagination. Studies have also found that fun in the workplace increases productivity, while reducing stress and absences. Additionally, companies that have “fun policies” report significant increases in employee retention, loyalty and engagement, as well as greater job satisfaction.
4. Tell Stories
Storytelling is a timeless practice to pass along knowledge that integrates emotional connections with important lessons and facts. Employees emotionally identify with stories, making the lessons more memorable.
5. Confront Conflict
People tend to avoid conflict which only compounds the problem. At least with conflict, there is active engagement. Leveraged properly, conflict can lead to better policies and understanding. The best way to use conflict to your advantage is to find common ground and work from there to come to a resolution that works for everyone.