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6 Ways to Flourish at Work

Research has shown beyond reasonable doubt that having engaged employees boosts a business's profit, but what does it means to be 'engaged'? It is often defined by whichever survey is current, or simply the one you choose to use.

We decided to conduct our own study and set about interviewing those people who love what they do. Our original academic research shows that for individuals to flourish, they need to feel a combination of six things:

Feeling Valuable – to someone or something other than yourself. This is enabled by seeing the impact of the task, being appreciated/rewarded and demonstrating expertise.

Feeling Autonomous – in control of what you do and empowered. This is enabled by taking responsibility for tasks, being trusted, having clear outcome expectations but freedom on process, having confidence in your own abilities.

Feeling Challenged – by things that stretch you, but don't terrify you. This is enabled by doing or achieving something new, working under pressure (being busy), intellectual stimulation, task variety and stretching goals.

Feeling Passionate – about your tasks, role, company or field. This is enabled by a sense of appreciation, showing energy, showing pride and reframing situations

Feeling Safe – and supported by your surroundings. This is enabled by having confidence in others' expertise (including your manager), having a supporting manager, and your manager acting as your 'ambassador'.

Feeling Connected – to everyone around you. This is enabled by liking your colleagues, communicating well with other people and having an open plan office

So, how do you manage to achieve these feelings at work? There are many different ways to help you increase these feelings and we've chosen six for you to try. I've actually tried all of these and they really do work. Probably some of my best and most fulfilling times at work have been achieved by doing these simple things:

1. Explore your expertise. What have you done recently that you did well, were proud of, and really enjoyed? These tasks are likely to involve your strengths. Think about what your strengths are, write them down and focus on using these as much as you can every day.

2. Build a 'confidence bank'. Write down the things you are most proud of achieving and how you feel you achieved them. Then keep this somewhere safe and refer to it if and when you're feeling vulnerable.

3. Put yourself forward for new tasks. What's going on that interests you? Even if it's not something in your usual remit, or comfort zone, push yourself a little and get involved in new things.

4. Look back over the last week and think of three things at work that you were grateful for. It could be something you were proud of, or a nice comment from a colleague. Write them down and remind yourself. You can even add them to your confidence bank to refer back to.

5. Get your name out there. Who could your manager, or another colleague, connect you with? Who are the important people to know at your organisation? Go and have a coffee with them and take an interest in what they're doing. This networking will also help when you're putting yourself forward for new tasks. If you've shown an interest outside your remit, it gets your name out there too. A two-pronged approach.

6. Saying hello to everyone. It sounds simple, but it is very likely to brighten up your day and make a difference to the whole office. This really works, we've done it. We mean everyone; on reception, in the lift, as you walk past desks. You never know where you might find new friends, not to mention open up new opportunities.

We would be really interested to hear how you get on after trying these, so please do let us know and if you're interested in finding out more about flourishing at work, take a look at our training and development pages or get in touch.

If you're a manager and you need to look at the employee engagement of your team, check out our 'Engaging your team' session. We've designed it specifically for team leaders and managers.

Employee engagement


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Protect. Enable. Strengthen. Flourish. Your business is in their heads.