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Factors that Influence Team Engagement

Factors that Influence Team Engagement

Has your team engagement dropped over the past year? Since team engagement is directly correlated to employee engagement, we looked closer into employee engagement over the past year. A 2021 Gallup study found that 34% of US employees were engaged in their workplace while 16% of employees were actively disengaged. Compared to a 14% disengagement rate in 2020, this is a concerning upwards trend that is critical for leaders to reflect upon carefully. This study also found that the three areas contributing to the greatest declines in employee engagement were, “…clarity in expectations, having the right materials and equipment, and the opportunity for workers to do what they do best.” (Gallup, US Employee Engagement Drops for First Year in a Decade, 2021) As all three areas are fundamental to employee engagement, and by extension team engagement, it is important that leaders continually work toward providing employees with at least these key areas. 

For leaders looking to increase team engagement, it’s important to look at what factors impact team engagement and then determine how these factors can be improved upon to increase engagement.

What factors impact team engagement and how can I fix them? 

A whole host of issues can impact your team’s engagement, but we’ll highlight the top 3 factors , and give you some tips on how to fix or improve upon them. 

Clarity

As noted in the study above, clarity is one of the key elements of positive employee engagement. Employees who are aligned with organizational values and direction are more likely to perform well and be more engaged at work. Ensure that you are sharing your organization’s core values along with vision and mission statement, plus keep these documents up-to-date. Not only does this establish clarity, it also ensures that new employees are aligned with the organization’s values and future direction. 

Flexibility & Shifting Work Environments

An EY study shows that 90% of employees want “flexibility in where and when they work.” (Ernst & Young Global, Business suffering ‘commitment issues’ on flexible working, 2021) Because the pandemic opened up new ways of working, many employees are now looking for hybrid or remote work options which is forcing employers to evaluate traditional work patterns. These new work environments can really impact your team’s engagement–especially when it comes to having team meetings or events. To help strengthen your work environment to include and adapt to hybrid or remote workers, ensure that you are focusing on both physical and mental well-being along with encouraging human connection

Technology

As our work environments shift, more importance is placed on technology, both in respect to physical technology and software. An EY study showed that 64% of employees want faster internet and videoconferencing technology available in physical offices while 48% of employees wanted organizations to upgrade their at-home hardware or reimbursement for higher-speed internet or cell phone expenses. In order to ensure that all employees can perform their work functions appropriately and participate in engagement activities, it s extremely important that employers establish either budgets for hardware or provide hardware plus offer allowances for internet and/or cell phone expenses. 

What does all this mean?

A recent Inc.com article sums it up perfectly: “1. Focus on outcomes rather than time spent in the office. 2. Trust and empower your employees.” (Inc., This Company’s New 2 Sentence Remote Work Policy is the Best I’ve Ever Heard: Siemen’s new remote policy is a master class in emotional intelligence, 2021) 

In our opinion, both of these points are connected. In order to focus on results, leaders must trust and empower their employees. By creating an environment focused on well-being and human connection along with providing employees with clarity regarding organizational values and direction, you’re laying the foundation for trust and empowerment. Once you’ve established this foundation, the ability to focus on results will naturally follow. The key here is using emotional intelligence to create a culture of engagement as this allows you to elevate your employees to go above and beyond, both for your team and for the organization. 

That’s great, but how do I increase team engagement?

There are definitely a few ways that you can leverage your emotional intelligence to effectively increase team engagement. Focus on these key steps: 

  1. Schedule team meetings regularly to increase clarity amongst the team. Ensure you use a meeting agenda to outline the purpose of a meeting as well as to define the topics that will be discussed and decisions that the team needs to make. 
  2. Ensure you allocate time for your team to make connections and have conversations unrelated to work. 
  3. Show personal interest in your team members and be present during your conversations with them.
  4. Show appreciation in the workplace and encourage others to do the same! 

Provide regular feedback to ensure you’re cultivating a culture of transparency and growth.

If you need help building your team’s engagement, book a call with us here

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it impacts your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, and inventory of resources and much more!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin to keep up with our latest blogs! 

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The Biggest Obstacle in your Business: Silos

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The saying “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” holds true in almost all cases. When we think about team cohesion, we know that multiple forces working together are likely to succeed. In recent years however, organizations have lost touch on this concept. At first glance, it makes sense: each department has their own responsibilities and objectives within a company, so it’s only reasonable for divisions to operate separately. Marketing is responsible for a different set of tasks than Production, while Production has their own responsibilities from Public Relations, and so on.

A common misconception is that when one division runs smoothly, it is a clear benefit to the company as a whole. However, improving each department does not improve the whole. By only focusing on how one department runs, we miss the intersection between different units, which is where the true value lies. In the beginning, a company can get away with improving one part of their company at a time. But when employees in one department fail to effectively communicate with those in other departments, red flags start waving. 

Then we see this happen: different departments fail to cooperate, same tasks are done more than once, and each department maintains an “Us vs Them mentality, succeeding within their own division regardless of the effect on the overall company. Ultimately, it’s up to the HR department to take over accountability and address issues, gaps, and productivity issues; the brunt of all the issues. In other words, when interdepartmental problems go unchecked, the entire organization suffers as a result. 

Welcome to the biggest obstacle in your business: Silos. 

In this blog, we’ll reveal how critical it is to eliminate the destructive power of silos that are impacting the success of your team.

What are Silos?

Organizational silos occur when employees are separated, often characterised by the department they work in. Silos aren’t necessarily a negative thing and are unavoidable in some cases. With departments having their own area of specialties and set of duties, full transparency is not always needed. However, some might interpret organizational silos as solely a structural problem rather than an emotional one

When separate teams refuse to relay vital information, not only is a communication barrier at work formed, but also an emotional barrier. Companies are in hot water once they allow silos to grow to the point where departments are focused on their tasks, with little regard or care for the needs of other teams. Not to mention that employees who are hesitant to share knowledge or collaborate across the board have tunnel vision which creates a toxic company culture. 

Organizational silos have the power to wreak havoc on an organization, and they can be extremely difficult to break down once established.

Why Should I Care About Silos?

As a leadership and emotional intelligence training company, our clients face a multitude of issues within their organization. One that appears to create more problems than anything else is teams working toward separate goals and ineffectively communicating. 

In a recent McKinsey poll of global executives, siloed thinking and behavior were ranked the number one obstacle to a healthy digital culture. This survey underlines the difficulty of developing engagement and connection in a siloed digital workplace. Yet, with the post-pandemic era coming around the corner, this pain point will only be magnified, with some employees planning to work in an office while others are staying at home to work. Soon, the next normal will demand leaders to juggle a hybrid model of workforce both online and on-site. Companies that work in silos are likely to fail at building an agile organization, which will only slow them down further. In our experience, it is critical to recognize the dangers of silos on the overall health of your organization now, so that you can take the next steps of breaking them down.

communication barrier in workplace

The Consequences of Silos

Communication Barriers

Efficient organizations thrive off of effective communication within and between their departments. While information may flow efficiently throughout a department, organizational silos prevent the transfer of this information between departments. With silos, a company that was once a well-oiled machine faces a disconnect in communication. We’re familiar with the effects of miscommunication: poor decisions are made based on limited information, distrust builds between departments and management, departments selectively share information, and sooner or later, your company is struggling to move in the same direction.

Productivity Problems

Silos have the ability to severely reduce performance and production levels. For example, if your employees are not aware of the vital or relevant information, and even worse, they spend time finding it themselves and doing redundant tasks, their productivity is needlessly low. There is no need to go into detail about what happens when productivity takes a hit — employees aren’t performing optimally, managers are displeased, and the HR department is stressed.

Silos reduce performance and production levels

Low Morale

One of the main consequences of silos are the issues it creates for company cohesion and employee engagement. Silos can build up distrust and conflict between teams, erode faith in the company’s values and leadership, and demotivate employees from working in the best interest of the organization. Over the past year, we’ve already seen employers struggle to maintain workplace morale within their virtual workforce. With employee engagement at an all-time low, learning to bridge the gap between silos is essential to long-term longevity and building trust, enhancing employee morale, and improving employee experience

Lack of Innovation

Innovation is rooted in data and discussion. Teams that actively discuss insightful findings together and collaborate as a whole foster creativity. When teams aren’t encouraged to exchange ideas and bounce off one another, innovation is stifled and the company isn’t at the forefront of advancements. When different departments share ideas and bring new concepts to the table, trust and resilience is planted in a company. An organization that breaks down silos is far more likely to be an innovative one.

The First step to Breaking Down Organizational Silos

breaking down silos

Before anything else, we must remember that we are human. As much as we like to believe that we are most productive in our own isolated silos, humans are social beings. In fact, a company with effective cross-functional collaboration and communication typically outperform siloed organizations by up to 40%. This is no surprise as employees lose the ability to share knowledge and cross-pollinate ideas when they’re emotionally segregated.

The first step to breaking down silos is learning how to communicate with impact. The key to impactful communication? Emotional intelligence. In order to build trust, improve employee satisfaction, build morale and facilitate real-talk conversations, an organization must leverage emotional intelligence to ensure that the company collaborates effectively and maintains a cohesive mission that runs deep within an organization.  

Not sure where you stand in terms of your emotional intelligence? Try our free 15-question quiz to measure your level of emotional intelligence:

 

Breaking down silos at work is not an easy job. However, ignoring the problems and obstacles that silos impose on your organization would be more destructive to your employees and the sustainability of your business. In the long run, there’s nothing stronger than a unified team that communicates with impact and has a common goal. 

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it impacts your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you need help breaking down silos in your organization to foster productivity and achieve more, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can. 

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to keep up with our latest blogs! 

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How to Build an Agile Organization

How to Build an Agile Organization

The only constant in our lives is change. This has become apparent with the onset of COVID-19 in the past year when many companies were forced to pivot their strategies to adapt to their businesses going digital and remote. In a survey of over 10,000 companies, 94 percent reported that agility is “critical to a company’s success.” Yet in the same survey, only 6 percent claimed their company was “highly agile.” 

 

Why do companies struggle to be agile organizations?

This begs the question: if we know that agility is important, why do companies still struggle to become an agile organization?

Let’s unpack this question together.

What defines an agile work environment? And why should companies care?

An agile organization is a company that responds quickly to change. Agile organizations use the latest technology and tools to tackle change, and are focused on the customers’ needs, rather than their own. They understand the importance of relationships and interactions with their customers, and are willing to prioritize that first during an onset of change.  However, becoming an agile organization does not mean you have to switch to all the latest technologies right away. In fact, there are several characteristics that an agile organization possesses which stem from a foundation in emotional intelligence.

The Key to Becoming Agile: Emotional Intelligence

In a fast-paced world full of uncertainty and competition, many people are pushed into leadership roles that they are not ready for. In “normal” times, challenges were dealt with by practical solutions with predictable outcomes. In the wake of increased competition, uncertainties, and a global pandemic, nothing is “normal” anymore. How can organizations adopt agile methodologies and thrive through change while also trying to keep their heads above water?

While it’s important for organizations to switch to the newest technologies, practices, and tools to keep up with changing business environments; especially while leading remote teams, the main reason why most companies struggle to transform into an agile organization is due to the underemphasis of agility in processes and people.

As human-beings, our goal of building an agile organization should be more than gaining the ability to move quickly and easily. The key to tackling adversity and prospering requires organizations to connect the gap between emotional intelligence and agility. Whether it’s responding to accelerated career tracks or facing a worldwide pandemic, emotional intelligence is a crucial ingredient that allows leaders to facilitate an agile transformation. Using emotional intelligence, an organization will gain the ability to pivot and keep pace with unpredictable events by strengthening and evolving people and processes. Below, we have included three characteristics of an agile organization that stems from emotional intelligence:

Be Strategic with Your Vision 

Instead of focusing on their own best interests, an agile organization is empathetic and puts themselves into the perspective of their stakeholders and asks the question of what they value the most. By concentrating on the customers’ needs, the organization is able to zero in and determine how to create the most value for all those involved. By switching to a customer-centric focus, the organization responds to change from the lens of the stakeholder, allowing them to capitalize on the needs desired from a customer. 

Two other emotional intelligence competencies that will assist leaders in bringing agility to their organization’s purpose and mission are reality testing and self-actualization. Reality testing challenges leaders to see things as they really are, and actively question assumptions. Instead of looking at the organization’s purpose and mission from a subjective view, leaders need to use their reality testing to override their biases and keep a fresh perspective. 

Being self-actualized reminds leaders to continuously develop their business. Instead of having a fixed mindset that your organization is already top-tier, leaders of agile organizations know that there is always room for improvement. A great way to begin is by evaluating the company core values, as they are the guiding principles behind every organization. 

In addition to emotional intelligence, there are various tools that can help shift your organization’s strategy to become more agile. For example, concepts such as customer journey maps and customer feedback surveys will help your organization become more customer-centric, adapting their processes, structure, people, and technology where needed. Once leaders align their company vision with the best interests of their stakeholders, the organization will be ahead of the innovation curve, which in turn leads to establishing a competitive position in their market. 

Invest in the Right People

This next characteristic cannot be stressed enough. While leaders may have established the vision, they need a viable team to carry out their initiatives. Agile organizations know this to be true and recruit team members who are passionate about their roles. You want to invest in team members who are not only extrinsically motivated, but intrinsically motivated. These are the people who are passionate about your cause and vision, and will not only share your values with your customers, but also help foster a healthy internal team culture.

As mentioned in Hiring for the Future with Emotional Intelligence, leaders need to hire candidates who are a strong culture-fit, instead of hiring based on their skills. Skills can be learned, and if the newly hired candidate does not fit within the team’s culture, they are only a short term solution. Befriend your EQ competency, interpersonal relationships, to foster a strong team culture. This competency assists in forming mutually beneficial relationships with your team members

By engaging with their teams, leaders can intrinsically motivate their employees to reach self-actualization, the highest level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. For more context, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a motivational theory where individuals are motivated by five categories of needs which must be met in the following order: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem and self-actualization. 

To reach the final level of self-actualization, leaders must empower their employees by making them feel important, and providing meaningful work. This leads directly to higher levels of employee engagement. However, when workers are disengaged, it’s easy to blame tools, processes, even workplace culture as contributing factors. But more often than not disengagement boils down to a lack of effective leadership.  It’s up to the leader to learn what each employee needs to feel connected to the rest of the team, appreciated for their efforts and fulfilled and self-actualized in their job.  

They should strive to pivot their employees’ way of thinking from working at a mundane 9-5 job to making them feel like they’re making a difference. This will in turn, give their employees a sense of ownership over their work, and may result in more synergy within their organization. By investing into human capital, organizations are able to cultivate a culture of growth and support. Once there is an increased sense of synergy in an organization, leaders will have a strong team pursuing their mission who are willing to pivot in times of change and adaptation.

Continue to Evolve Everyday

Agile organizations are adept in adapting to change; they know that nothing stays the same forever, and the company must be ready to switch gears whenever possible. An initiative that can help transition your organization to adapt agile principles is the pursuit of learning. Agile organizations are full of self-actualized individuals in a culture of continuous improvement and learning, whether it be through self-directed learning or learning from a team member’s mistake. Continuous learning provides an opportunity for agile teams to constantly improve; as a result, this helps the organization pivot once change creeps around the corner. 

The EQ competency that will assist in adapting to uncertainties everyday is flexibility. Flexibility is the art of adapting emotions, thoughts, and behaviours to unfamiliar or dynamic ideas. When leaders lead with flexibility within their organization, they’re cultivating an environment that is receptive to change, resulting in their teams following suit. This mindset can pave the road for an organization that will thrive through change. By embedding flexibility in everyday practices, change becomes less intimidating as the team becomes open to learning how to adapt. 

The Time to Be Agile is Now

More than ever, organizations have been forced to rapidly transform their operations and management to comply with unfamiliar circumstances. This transformation doesn’t stop there ー our future is full of turbulent events that require us to adapt to survive. Building an agile transformation starts with leadership and trickles down. 

In order to stay one step ahead, an organization needs to be quick to respond in order to maintain resilience, which can be led through example by a resilient leader. Emotional intelligence connects an organization at its heart and is the linchpin for an agile organization. In order to cope with constantly evolving environments and become a well-oiled machine, emotional intelligence is necessary to become an agile organization.

Change is inevitable, and will probably be the only constant your organization faces. Let’s bring us back to the pre-pandemic world. Imagine it’s 2019 and you’re managing an agile organization. You not only have a strategic vision in mind, that’s aligned with your values, but you’ve also invested in the right people, who are passionate and excited about fulfilling your vision, even with uncertainty ahead. When the pandemic of 2020 comes your way, your firm will be able to adapt quickly and be resilient, which will set your organization apart from others and enable you to thrive. 

Do you need help in transforming your organization in becoming agile? Book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can. 

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it impacts your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more! 

For more, you can check out our workshop on Thriving in Changing Times, to learn more about how to build emotional resilience in times of uncertainty. 

Let’s turn it back to you now. Reflect on a couple of our questions and think about how agile your organization is, and next steps to take. 

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, to keep up with more of our blogs!

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