Get your staff engaged in their work says professor

Promoting “work engagement“ can improve both employees’ health and their work performance, according to research by Norwegian organisational psychologists.

Job engagement represents a motivational process in which the available work resources stimulate activity and efficiency, explained Professor Astrid M. Richardsen of BI Norwegian School of Management. She added that the important thing is to focus on positive feelings for the workplace, rather than concentrating on negative aspects of the work or an individual’s poor performance.

”Organisations could benefit a lot from focusing more on the positive aspects of work, rather than concentrating on things that don’t work,” she said. She added that her research - carried out with Monica Martinussen of the Centre for Mental Health for Children and Young People at the University of Tromsø, and published in the Journal of the Norwegian Psychological Association - shows that positive psychology can produce employees who are better motivated and more productive.

Richardsen identified several factors that can trigger positive work engagement, which she described as the opposite of burnout. These include: autonomy or the opportunity to make individual decisions concerning important work aspects; social support from supervisors and co-workers; career satisfaction; and career opportunities in the organisation.

”To improve job satisfaction in the form of vigour, enthusiasm and absorption, it is necessary to reinforce those aspects of the working conditions that improve the employees’ abilities to master the job requirements,” she concluded.

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