THE BLOG
11/26/2014 11:33 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2015

5 Free, Quick Ways You Can Boost Engagement At Work

Do you walk through your office doors each morning with a bounce in your step and a sense of anticipation about the day ahead? Or do you drag your feet and feel weighed down by that feeling of dread that's tugging at your heart?

While the numbers vary on just how engaged people really are at work - anything from 13 percent to 60 percent globally - there's no doubt most of us would like to feel a little more inspired, confident, enthusiastic and empowered at work.

After all feeling engaged at work isn't just a way for organizations to squeeze more productivity from us, it's also the secret to being able to perform at your best and maintain your wellbeing - no matter who you're working for or what your job description says.

"Individuals who are engaged in their job have more fun, they feel more connected to their place of employment, they're more likely to have good social relationships and it contributes to their all around wellbeing" explained Lisa Sansom, a positive interventionist who helps bring out the best in organizations and their people when I interviewed here recently.

Click here for the full interview.

"And organizations who have higher levels of employee engagement are more likely to say good things about the organization, stay with the organization and strive to put in discretionary effort to get things done, and get things done well."

In fact, studies suggest companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202 percent. While significantly engaged employees are three times more likely to rate themselves as thriving in their overall lives as those who are actively disengaged.

So what can we do to improve engagement?

"There is no doubt in the research that relationships with our leaders have a significant impact on our levels of engagement. It's essential that leaders are engaged themselves, communicate openly and trust their employees to use their strengths and do what they do best," said Lisa.

She recommends that three cheap, free and easy things leaders can do to engage employees include:

  • Smile - one organization found they were able to boost engagement by implementing a rule that when leaders walked past people in the office they looked them in the eyes and smiled. So when you pass someone smile, say good morning, ask how are you and mean it.
  • Say thank you - surveys consistently show that employees would love to hear managers say thank you for all their hard word. It's tremendously engaging and empowering.
  • Make meetings more positive - start your meetings with "What went well?" to help people share good stories to raise morale and engagement and allow people to feel proud of what they're doing.

"Of course organizations can set the conditions for engagement, but as employees we have to walk through the door ourselves," says Lisa. To feel more engaged - no matter what your leader is doing - Lisa suggests:

  • Try putting yourself in your leaders shoes. They may be suffering from great pressure we don't understand but they're people to so try to practice compassion.
  • Find other sources of light in your organization. Look for where people are shining in your workplace. Where are things going well? Who can you spend time with to fuel and renew yourself? Instead of saying this is all broken and miserable, try to find the things that are going well and focus on these to help to balance out your stress levels.

What could you do - starting today - to improve your levels of engagement at work?