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Four Principles That Precede Employee Engagement

Posted by Insightlink on 09/09/16

Learning to communicate is the basis for a happy life and happy employees 

In various degrees, we each have natural emotional needs that are as important at work as any other place in our life. Perhaps even more important given the amount of time we dedicate to our jobs. Employee engagement surveys can give you the inside story about how well your employees needs are being met but how well do you understand your employees needs and what steps can you take to ensure you are creating a healthy positive environment to foster higher employee engagement?

It might be helpful to stop focusing in increasing employee engagement and focus on treating employees well instead. When we focus on the needs of others, listen to them and give them opportunities to grow, engagement naturally follows. If you try to squeeze more productivity out of people for the sake of profits they will see that coming and that will breed contempt and frustration but if your heart is in the right place they will see that too.

The first step is to know the top 10 needs we all share in common.

Most of us all want to feel:

  • Accepted
  • Believed in
  • Cared about
  • Forgiven
  • Safe
  • Supported
  • Trusted
  • Understood
  • Valued
  • Loved

While we don’t come to work expecting to be loved by our colleagues and supervisors we can all relate to wanting to feel accepted, valued, trusted and supported so, what does that look like in a work environment?

Surrender the need to be right

The need to win assures that no one is actively listening. Feeling accepted and validated is nullified by the need to be right. If you need to be right, and there are differing points of view, that obviously makes the other person wrong. The need to be right, erodes all relationships.

Turn conflict into resolution

You always have a choice to think negatively or positively about all situations. You get to decide how you react to every situation in your life so why not look for the good instead of focusing on the bad. If someone you work with or you work for has a problem instead of focusing on what you disagree about, challenge yourself to find a small piece of what they are saying that you can affirm. Once the other person feels heard and affirmed, he or she may be in a far better position to take in what you have to say. “Yes but’ doesn’t cut it, instead try validating something they said, then pause, and you will experience a shift of energy that is the basis for a meaningful and constructive exchange.. Don’t rush to assert your own position or you will look disingenuous.

Shared Meaning

When we use certain words and expressions we assume they mean the same thing to all of us. They don’t. And this contributes to misunderstandings. When you ask what the other person meant by the words they’ve just spoken this is an example of showing respect. It is important to make sure when you are talking to someone that you are on the same page.

The art of listening

Winning is often misunderstood in our dealings with each other. Real winning comes from comes from understanding, listening, and validating another’s point of view—not from trying to prove they are wrong and you are right—even if we’re not in agreement. This represents a shift in communication that requires us to still our thoughts, stop trying to be right and learn the art of listening. It is our own thoughts that get in the way of our ability to truly listen. We have a tendency to deflect or argue any ideas that oppose our own but to really listen we have to quiet the voice in our head to listen closely to what the other person is saying. Avoid taking a position so you can be present to listen. If you stop trying to be right then you can understand and appreciate what the other person is saying which has the positive effect of making the other person feel valued and supported (two key emotional needs). In this way connection is made and from this connection comes greater understanding and respect.

So don’t just focus on productivity, engagement and the bottom line. Instead focus on treating employees well, listen to their concerns, give them a chance to grow and get to  know something about them on a personal level. Make a connection so they feel valued, appreciated and cared about... the rest will take care of itself.

For more information about Employee Engagement and how surveys can help give you insight into your workforce please send us an email at, call 866-802-8095 ext 705 and ask for Lynn or visit our website at


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Insightlink Communications are experts in employee survey design, data collection and analysis. Since 2001 we've helped companies of all sizes measure and improve their employee satisfaction and engagement.

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