The Science-Backed Guide to Boost Workplace Engagement
Work-related stress among Filipino workers has never been higher than today. In fact, fifty-nine percent of Filipino workers are found to be suffering from illnesses induced by work-related stress according to the latest survey done by Regus.
The same survey also reports that 56 percent of Filipino employees agree that they find themselves more stressed out than they were five years ago.
Stress affects workplace engagement, which inevitably leads employees to become less productive, and worse, even leave their company. Actually, Watson Wyatt Worldwide’s study proves that work-related stress is the top reason on why employees quit their jobs, resulting in a high turnover rate among many companies.
With the high turnover rate, organizations now turn to loyalty programs in the Philippines to encourage their employees to stay. Lack of exercise, unreliable technology, and insufficient staff are found to be the top triggers of work-related stress.
In the Philippines, add commuting and Manila traffic to the mix, and you have the perfect recipe to make a burned-out employee.
How to Increase Positive Workplace Engagement
As humans, we tend to run away from things that threaten or hurt us. Work can be one of them, especially when we’re stressed and suffering from an emotional burden.
But, good news for every single one of us, there’s still a way on how we can shift away from this lifestyle to improve our workplace engagement. All it takes is a change in the way we think.
Understanding How Our Brain Works
Our brain works on a threat and rewards response. When we encounter a threat, we trigger a response in the amygdala region of our brain, which lets us experience panic. This emotional response is called “Amygdala Hijack.”
In relation to the panic triggers, our body also lets out a physiological response. Our heart rate quickens, our breaths become shallow, and our blood rushes to several parts of our body.
On the contrary, our body experiences the same thing when we encounter a reward. We may feel elation and our body releases more dopamine than usual.
You may not be aware of it, but certain factors and people can be perceived as threats by our brains. In the workplace, it might be our boss or our co-worker. Similarly, it may come in the form of criticisms from our supervisor or the constant nagging of our paranoid co-worker.
To manage these threat signals, you must be extra observant in your interactions with your fellow employees. Note that the amygdala hijack is a fleeting response and usually only lasts for seconds. Look for quick reactions, as it might merely be wincing or a slight twitch of the mouth but can actually mean so much more.
Managing Unproductive Responses
To improve your employees’ workplace engagement and get everyone out of the slump from being unproductive, know how to utilize the reward and threat response of your staff by providing the right stimulus.
On the reward-seeking side, ensure that your employees always feel like they belong in the team. Filipinos are very sociable, as they can work greatly as a team. So, make sure that everyone in the team has a positive interaction.
Recognize the positive – if they did a great job, reward them for it. Give incentives for employees when you know they deserve it. Be specific and genuine on your praise as well. Taking into account the Filipino culture, your employees can probably see through it if your praise is forced or purely given out of respect.
On the threat-avoidance side, be sure to be constructive with your criticism and give your feedback in a respectable manner. Don’t humiliate your employees in front of everyone and cause them to lose face.
Stress affects everyone – even managers and bosses – but that doesn’t give you an excuse to shout (or worse, curse) at your employees. Doing this might only decrease their morale and push them down further on their unproductive work slump.
Make sure that your employees are all treated fairly as well. Don’t play favorites, as this could give trigger an internal competition that could lead to an unwanted tension in the workplace.
While some companies encourage competition among their employees, this doesn’t work for every organization. In the Philippines, in particular, where crab mentality runs deep in the culture, competition can quickly become personal and unhealthy with employees trying to pull down each other.
With the great demand and heavy workload thrown to us, work-related stress is definitely unavoidable. Fortunately you can foster a healthy working environment by treating your employees as part of the growth of your company, so they won’t feel as just another cog in the machine.