The 411: The emotional drivers of employee engagement

Emotions have a major impact on an employee’s engagement level.

Although certain emotional responses can be positive, negative emotions have a greater impact on a person’s work performance.

The fully engaged employee is more enthusiastic, empowered, happy, confident and valued, while the disengaged find their workplace upsetting and are irritated merely by having to show up for work.

The emotional responses to questions that employees ask themselves about their organisation are crucial to their level of engagement, affecting their performance at work and their willingness to learn within the organisation:

* Do I feel I am valued?

* Do I value the organisation where I work?

* Do I feel I belong?

People won’t excel in their working environment unless they have fun in what they are doing. Irritation, disinterest and discomfort are the three core negative emotions that drive disengagement.

Workers cannot be critiqued into performing better, and constant negative feedback from a manager or supervisor ensures an emotional disconnect and disengagement.

Managers who induce positive emotions foster a stronger sense of satisfaction. They receive the highest satisfaction ratings when their employees feel inspired, enthusiastic, happy and excited. Alternatively, when immediate supervisors evoke negative emotions in employees, their satisfaction ratings are below average.

Specifically, supervisors whose direct reports result in feelings of insult or irritation, receive the lowest levels of satisfaction. This shows how the satisfaction with management affects the overall level of satisfaction within the organisation.

Negative emotions are more contagious than positive ones and because they are more noticeable, they can impact co-workers, the organisation as a whole and spread beyond the workplace to clients, potential clients and possible future hires.

Employees personalise their work through emotions felt about the company’s actions as a whole and about their immediate supervisor in particular. Those who emotionally connect in a positive way with an organisation feel a sense of ownership and are more likely to stay with it, deliver superior work in less time and reduce turnover costs.

* Information submitted by Dale Carnegie Training.

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