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Monday, June 2, 2014

Prolonged Engagement

According to best kept statistics, 17 percent of all weddings take place in June! During the engagement period, there is much anticipation and excitement of the wedding day. While the women are particularly involved in planning the details of the big day, most men will talk about their upcoming union with their bride, a major source of pride and pleasure. And then comes the marriage reality.

Something happens in the routine of marriage and it usually isn’t good. The happy couple seems to take each other for granted over time. Daily pressures build. Romance fades. The power of love weakens. Boredom sets in. Careful now. Best pay attention and learn the best methods of staying… well...engaged. Do that, and marriage can have new life!

As it turns out, our work life can have similar patterns. And similar results. Only with a job, it’s often burnout and a loss of engagement that causes the beauty of work to fade; and productivity to suffer.

For some excellent perspective on this, try this article on “Why You Hate Work” for size.

The essence of the message is that the number of people who feel “engaged” at work is pathetic. One study determined that across 142 countries, just 13 percent of employees experienced “job engagement.” And as the article notes, “for most of us, in short, work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and in some obvious ways, it’s getting worse.”

Why so? One major factor is the sheer volume of information to which we’re exposed. Add to that the number of emails, texts, and other forms of digital technology to which we feel some obligation.

But what exactly IS job engagement? In their research, a company known as The Energy Project claims it is variously defined as “involvement, commitment, passion, enthusiasm, focused effort, and energy.” And this group appears to have found four core needs that, when met, significantly improve the individual’s performance: physical (i.e. recharging), emotional (i.e. feeling valued), mental (i.e. keeping focused), and spiritual (i.e. feeling connected to a higher purpose).

Moreover, companies with more engaged employees achieve significant benefits. Gallup reports companies with the most engaged employees had 22 percent higher profitability, 10 percent higher customer ratings, 28 percent less theft, and 28 percent fewer safety incidents! Remarkable.

Despite these proven results of corporate benefits, most companies do not invest the time, effort, or capital to help employees stay engaged. So job stress continues. Burnout at all levels persists. Work life just keeps keepin’ on. Barely, for many.

Apparently burnout is not such a new problem. Jesus of Nazareth told followers centuries ago, “Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NCV)

Weigh these words. They can energize the soul. And help you re-engage.

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays, 4-6 pm, on AM 1160 WYLL in Chicago. Check the web for WYLL and the app for AM 1160 to listen live or by podcast.

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