Sunday, January 31, 2010

Engaging your Workers

Recently, I just finished the book Strategy for Sustainability by Adam Werbach. I really enjoyed reading the book and learning about all the different facts and figures of the companies that have made sustainable improvements. It was interesting to understand more in depth specific companies' sustainable practices and certain incidents where they were forced to change.

However, the chapter I enjoyed most was chapter five Engaging Individuals: People Want to Help. I thought it was interesting and valid to connect a sustainable work environment with engaged employees. I never thought of it that way, but it makes sense, if an employee is passionate about working hard in their job and enjoying the work that they do then they will make the efforts needed to make sure things are done properly and well. It's when unengaged employees that don't care to fix the problems or pay attention to things that don't seem right affect the sustainability of resources in a business, much like the peanut butter incident in Sylvester, Georgia. Engaged workers are happy workers and according to the book there are four factors that help increase happiness in a person:
1. Being of service to something larger than yourself.
2. Experiencing "flow" or full engagement, on a regular basis.
3. Showing your gratitude to the people in your life.
4. Sharing your life with at least three close friends or family members.
Ultimately, people will become more engaged in the workplace if the company stands for a purpose and provides activities where people can connect their work to what matters in their life and what makes them happy. A business that promotes sustainability engages employees to get involved in more than a monetary gain. People do believe that the environment is in crisis, they do want to help and they do want to learn more about the issue. A company that provides this for their employees will improve engagement and better their business.

Take the test from the book to see how happy you and your employees are:

Rank your agreement on the scale of 1-10
7-strongly agree
5-slightly agree
4-neither agree nor disagree
3- slightly disagree
1-strongly disagree
In most ways, my life is ideal __
The conditions of my life are excellent __
I am satisfied with my life __
So far, I have gotten the important things I want in life __
If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing __
Now add up all your rankings to get a total score:
35-31 Extremely satisfied
26-30 Satisfied
21-25 Slightly satisfied
20- Neutral
15-19 Slightly dissatisfied
10-14 Dissatisfied
5-9 Extremely dissatisfied

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