kaboompics.com_Happy CoffeeAccording to a worldwide study by Gallup [1], only 13% of workers, internationally, are considered to be “actively engaged” in their workplace. This leaves a staggering 87% either not engaged or actively disengaged in their work environment.
Actively engaged workers, are those who are positive about their workplace, psychologically committed to their work and are more likely to ‘go the extra mile’. We know these people, the ‘go getters’, the friendly conversation starters even on Monday mornings. The ones who work hard, get the job done, and move up the corporate ladder quickly.
The latter however, at best are non-committal and indifferent towards their work and workplace (“Not Engaged”). Or at worst, “Actively Disengaged” colleagues who are unhappy, unproductive employees, likely to contribute negatively towards their work environment, hindering economic productivity and staff morale. The regretful reality is that the majority of our work forces are not the actively engaged bunch. So how can we change them?
It’s of my professional opinion that, despite asking for greater working demands – employers often do little to contribute to the lives and work environments of their work force. Then stand back puzzled, and wonder why their staff are disengaged!
The psychology is simple – Great companies to work for are those that meet employees basic needs, make us feel noticed as individuals and our contributions appreciated.
In this past week I have heard more than two conversations between professionals bantering whose company is better because of the ways in which their basic needs are met whilst at work. These have been small yet powerful changes they have experienced in their workplace, both of which revolve around food…
So here is the recipe.
First- get decent coffee and tea stations. Your staff are spending at least 8-12 hours in your offices, the least you can do is provide a decent beverage. It’s noticeable and it’s appreciated. Add in a packet of good biscuits at a set time each day. People gravitate around good coffee, the conversations will shift from the lack of company care, to how great the new coffee machine is- free cappuccinos at work- life changing. The result- you’ve created a space for positive company appraisal by staff who feel respected.
Second, offer subsidized meals for lunch/ snacks. International exemplars of this school of thought offer fully catered restaurants or kiosks which are free to company staff.  If we want our staff to ‘go the extra mile’ work late and still stay motivated, we need to meet their basic needs as well. Offer staff discounts for meals close by/on the premises. Free fruit/ snacks after certain hours or before certain hours. Support and motivate those who travel in early or work late, by offering small beverage privileges. It’s a simple reward system but it sends a very loud message to your tired staff.
The psychological message they will receive is “my presence here (late/ early) is noted, my contributions are appreciated”. This in turn will begin to develop an internal reciprocation for their work environment and will have direct impact on their work engagement and behaviours in the workplace. As work-life and personal-life integrate rapidly, we need to be mindful of how each is compromising to meet the needs of the other. Depression, stress and burn out are on the increase, leading to absenteeism and workplace disengagement.
Through small, easy to implement changes, staff satisfaction can increase tremendously. This improvement in psychological well-being will not only enhance productivity but also creating more positive work environments. So- How engaged are your staff?
Here’s the litmus test-
What coffee are you offering?
[1] Gallup. State of the Global workplace. 2013.
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