Three Employee Attributes Critical to Any Continuous Improvement Initiative
Work engagement can be elusive. I have often seen management assign the responsibility of an initiative or project to a warm body filling an office chair. In my opinion, this isn’t the best way to maximize work engagement. Picking unskilled people to lead an initiative shows no consideration to whether such a person was right for the job. When I look for people to lead an initiative or project, I look for these qualities: vigor, dedication, and absorption.
Moving a Company from One State to another is a Journey
Moving a company from one state to another can be a challenging exercise. It is like going on vacation, if we don’t plan the trip then the journey can be troublesome. Companies need vehicles to move it from one state to another. Employees serve as vehicles and the work they do are critical to advance a continuous improvement initiative or project. Thus work engagement is one factor that is critical to the success of an initiative. So what is work engagement? The best way to understand it is to start with a definition.
Work engagement is a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind. It’s characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption.
As I stated earlier, three attributes define work engagement: vigor, dedication, and absorption. Vigor refers to a willingness to invest oneself in their work. Such a person is resilient and consistently deals with difficult situations. Dedication refers to an individual that is enthusiastic and proud of their work. They find it challenging and inspiring. Absorption refers to how consumed an individual is in their work, focus and concentration is deep.
Work Engagement and Continuous Improvement Initiatives
Continuous improvement initiatives encounter problems from time to time. They can be difficult to approach and solve so they need the right people, doing the right things, at the right time. Without the right people, doing the right things, at the right time continuous improvement initiatives get stalled.
When employees are unfamiliar with the tools and techniques needed to advance a project then pick them with care. If previous projects failed then employees may be reluctant to work on the next one. When projects experience technical problems, the wrong solution often gets chosen. For these reasons, vigor, dedication, and absorption are important. People need to remain enthusiastic and proud to do the work even if previous efforts have failed. They need to stick with it when the solution is elusive. Employees need to absorb such problems and not walk away from them – focus and concentration is critical.
Try this Work Engagement Experiment
Have you have ever worked for a company that picked a warm body to run an initiative or complete a project? If so, then chances are the initiative or project had a poor ending. You may want to consider the following experiment. Pick one group of people and another group that demonstrates vigor, dedication, and absorption. Have each group engage projects and see how well things go. The research suggests the group with vigor, dedication, and absorption come out ahead.
I would appreciate your insight. If you have something to add to the conversation then please leave your comments below.