Employee engagement is an increasingly important metric for companies of all sizes to track throughout their lifetime. From employee satisfaction and happiness to retention and productivity, there are a huge number of benefits correlated to improving the level of employee engagement.
Whenever the topic of employee engagement and performance comes up, it isn't long before people start talking about the concept of discretionary effort. A truly engaged employee will put in discretionary effort when it comes to their career.
But what does discretionary effort mean? Discretionary effort refers to the amount of additional effort, beyond what is already expected, that an employee is willing to put in to their work.
It’s an all-too-familiar scenario: a couple of disgruntled employees with a glass-half-empty outlook are constantly poisoning the well and spreading their unhappiness to the other workers. Team members find it difficult to trust one another, projects stagnate (or worse, implode), and productivity plummets.
Radical Transparency has been the subject of a TED Talk, and even received a shoutout on an episode of the HBO show “Silicon Valley,” but can your company truly benefit from this controversial concept? It’s certainly not new, but the buzzy business term has gained widespread exposure from the book Principles by Ray Dalio. In Principles, Dalio shares how he transitioned his company, Bridgewater Associates, from boss-to-employee critiques to a more thoughtful exchange of differing ideas, even when it means disagreeing with a superior. Dalio was encouraged to make this transformation after a colleague told him that his feedback style was too blunt. [Photo: Nadine Shaabana}
“I want every little girl who’s told she’s bossy to be told instead that she has leadership skills.” — Sheryl Sandberg
Unfortunately, women still encounter unconscious gender bias in the workplace. This is especially true when they are evaluated for leadership opportunities, as a new research study conducted by New York University Professors Andrea Vial and Jaime Napier uncovered. Vial and Napier discovered that feminine traits such as intuition and empathy were valued less in leaders and more masculine traits such as competence and assertiveness were valued more.
The people we work with have an enormous impact on our lives, both personally and professionally. So it’s no wonder that within the professional ecosystem, we manage different types of relationships that benefit us and our work in different ways. A Gallup poll on the state of the American workplace found that positive work relationships have an immediate and tangible impact: “When employees possess a deep sense of affiliation with their team members, they are driven to take positive actions that benefit the business.”
Leaders are made, not born.
A study released by the University of Illinois states that leadership is 30% genetic and 70% a result of the lessons you have learned from life experience. That’s great news for all of us. Because although just some are born with natural leadership skills, becoming an effective leader is something we all can learn through an ongoing process of introspection, self-awareness, and being open and receptive to all feedback.
The challenges of managing a multigenerational workplace have come more sharply into focus as Generation Z enters the workforce, Millennials emerge as team leaders, and more Baby Boomers delay retirement. Generational stereotypes and workplace ageism are real issues, but a deft manager can head off discord by emphasizing common values and goals and cultivating a culture of appreciation and support, rather than internal competition.