“What can you do to be great?” According to New York Times best-selling author and Elevate Conference Keynote Speaker Cy Wakeman, that simple question can both diffuse workplace drama and improve engagement.

 

 

On the ever-elusive path to increasing employee engagement, how can something so simple be so effective? Because in a potentially stressful workplace situation, taking a step back and asking this question causes you to think of solutions instead of disengage from a situation that feels out of control. We all know what “great” would look like in our jobs, but unfortunately we often default to judging others by that standard instead of using it to look inward. Thinking about being “great” allows us to discover ways we can make an impact in the situation. And the bonus? The ability to make an impact leads to improved employee engagement.

 

 

Encouraging employees and managers to adopt this way of thinking can eliminate drama, help cultivate a healthy workplace, and save valuable time. In fact, as of 2015, the average person spent about 2.5 hours each day in drama! When we eliminate drama and instead focus on making individual improvements rather than critiquing others, we create a more effective and engaged workplace.

 

 

But besides removing drama, what defines a positive work environment? According to Employee Engagement Expert and Elevate Keynote Speaker Jason Lauritsen, the same things that characterize a healthy personal relationship should guide our workplace interactions. Lauritsen explained that employees view work as a relationship, but the disconnect comes when employers instead view employment as a contract; not providing the appreciation, support, and commitment employees crave.

 

 

As employers, we need to evaluate how our employee interactions would translate in personal relationships, and shift some of our policies and practices accordingly. This means rethinking performance reviews, communications, and even our employee handbooks to reflect a more trusting, accepting, and supportive tone that sets the standard for the workplace.

 

 

Paylocity’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Cheryl Johnson, reiterated this perspective in her keynote, highlighting that the modern employee is looking for quality relationships at work and wants the opportunity to pursue things that make them happy. They value being part of a team that thoughtfully acts on their feedback.

 

 

The modern employee views work as much more than a job — and that is an exciting opportunity for today’s employers. Challenging some of the traditional workplace practices allows employers to truly engage their employees at work, which naturally creates a healthy, collaborative community that moves the business forward.