Developmental Psychology Journal Analysis (2)

Improving Engagement Course Project

Part One—Conduct a Self-assessment

In this part of the course project, you will further your understanding of engagement and engagement behaviors by completing a self-assessment.

Instructions:

Choose a situation in which you were highly engaged. It may be your current job role and position or a previous one.

Contrast this experience with a situation in which you were neutral or actively disengaged.

Describe the two situations, highlighting how different they felt, as well as the different outcomes associated with the high versus low levels of engagement (for you, your work group, and/or the organization).

Complete the grid below: The Experience of Being Engaged

Engagement Indicator

In the spaces below, describe your experience with each indicator shown in the column at left.

What did you feel?

How did you behave?

Which of your actions demonstrated your engagement?

Employees who are engaged look forward to going to work every day.

I work in the United States Department of State where an involved with issuing identification documents. Getting out of bed is not a drag. I look forward to start the day to go to my workplace and meet my colleagues

Employees who are engaged feel energized from doing something that they personally value. I value my job and thus, I gout of my way to help the applicants get their forms filled which leaves them happy. If the applicant require the documents urgently, I have to work extra harder and assure them that they will get the documents in a few days. I feel obligated to give the best to my clients as it is a job that I like most.

Employees who are engaged don’t get discouraged when confronted by obstacles; they want to try harder.

I love my job; it is a passion. However, just like any other customer service, you may encounter different kinds of people that may discourage you. It is a position that has lots of hurdles as some applicants may be hard to deal with. Despite the challenges, I have never thought of quitting, and still treated those applicants with respect.

For employees who are engaged, time seems to pass quickly. Most of the time am so busy such that I do not recognize as time pass. Being busy makes the time fly faster, and loving the job makes it difficult to notice that time has passed too fast.

During that period of engagement with your work, how engaged were the people around you?

Describe the behaviors you observed from your colleagues:

I have noticed several times that some of my colleagues are not engaged, with some having no engagements at all. While I would even assist the applicants to fill their documents, some of my colleagues would not do it. They simply do what their job description states and nothing more. Sometimes they cant event extend their time to help those on the queue but would rather ask them to come the next day.

How do you know that others were engaged? Describe the behaviors you observed from your colleagues:

Some other colleagues would help the applicants fill in the application documents, and also helped those in the queue rather than asking them to report the next day.

What factors do you think contributed to your engagement in this instance? Try to identify as many relevant factors as you can. Having an excellent relation and understanding of what I am expected to do at work

Having a great understanding that serving others is a passion

Having a great understanding on the significance of being honest and transparent

Complete the grid below: The Experience of Being Disengaged (or Neutral)

Disengagement Indicator

In the spaces below, describe your experience with each indicator shown in the column at left.

What did you feel?

How did you behave?

Which of your actions demonstrated your disengagement?

When you are disengaged, you are robotic, apathetic, or detached. Sometimes I handle many clients and I get exhausted. Fatigue makes me feel like not going to work the next day. I feel detached from work, however, I don’t let this feeling to weigh me down.

When you are disengaged, you are withdrawn, burned out, or show no effort. Handling many clients makes me feel drained, and I cannot wait for the day to be over.

When you are disengaged, you go through the motions of work without giving of yourself. Being disengaged by exhaustion makes me only to be physically there, but just putting in my time and going through the motions.

When you are disengaged, you show a failure to develop close, constructive relationships at work. Exhaustion makes me feel out of place, I just want to relax, and thus, I can go to work and not make effort to mingle, even going to lunch together with my colleagues.

When you are disengaged, you show a lack of vigilance for quality; you are satisfied with “good enough.” Regardless of whether am engaged or not, I would not lack vigilance for quality. I always give my best and work myself out to get the job done.

When you are disengaged, you hide your true identity, perspective, capacity, and creative thoughts. I do not hide my true identity. Yes, I do struggle when am disengaged, but this does not make me loose who I am.

How disengaged were the people around you? How do you know?

Describe the behaviors you observed from your colleagues:

Some of my colleagues are highly disengaged, especially if they are exhausted. They can even redirect the applicants to the next colleague to catch a breath.

What factors do you think contributed to your disengagement in that instance? Try to identify as many relevant factors as you can. Poor leadership

Lack of training

Pay and recognition

Dead end job

Part Two—Conduct a Needs Assessment

In this exercise, you will reflect on the existing workplace factors that may be at the root of suboptimal levels of engagement.

Instructions:

Think about a work situation in which you yourself have been involved and experienced a low level of engagement (or even disengagement). Alternatively, identify a work group about which you have a lot of knowledge and that you have observed to be suffering from suboptimal levels of engagement.

Using the questions below as a guide, reflect on which issues associated with the three different drivers of engagement—psychological meaningfulness, psychological safety, and psychological availability—may represent potential explanations for the suboptimal levels of engagement.

At the bottom of the worksheet, summarize your hypothesis about the two or three factors you believe might be most important to address in an effort to increase engagement.

I. Briefly describe the work situation you have chosen to examine in this exercise:

The work situation I have chosen is the same job that I hold. Lack of better pay and recognition sometimes made me disengaged. Having to deal with a lot of pressure at work with no motivation.

II. Psychological Meaningfulness

Questions: Describe your observations:

How meaningful or rewarding is the work itself? Is there significant variety, challenge, significance, and clarity associated with the tasks that make up the relevant job(s)?

The work is both meaningful and rewarding despite the numerous challenges such as lack of better pay and recognition and having to deal with rude applicants. Doing the work is fulfilling as it is passion.

How is the level of fit between employees’ (or your) knowledge, skills, and abilities and the demands of the job? All the employees have similar qualifications as described by the job description. Thus, the level of fit between employees’ knowledge, skills and abilities and the demands of the job are high.

How strongly do employees (or you) identify with the values and mission associated with the job and with the broader organization?

The mission of the organization is to Create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community. We strongly identify with the mission associated with the job as we try to provide services that benefit the American people.

Do employees (or you) have opportunities to make decisions that impact the way the job is done? What about input into decisions that impact the broader organization?

We do not have a direct say about what should be done in the organization, but we have the privilege to air our opinions through a suggestion box.

Do employees (or you) receive the feedback needed to understand how well they are doing on the job and which they can use to continually improve their performance and redirect their energies?

We receive feedback needed to understand how well we are doing on the job through employee performance evaluation.

What is the quality of interactions among employees (or between you and your coworkers) like? Do people share information and coordinate well with each other? Do they help each other? Do they engage in meaningful interactions that are personally rewarding?

We do interact with my colleagues at various levels. We interact and share information that is helpful to each other. The quality of interaction is high as we can engage at any time of the day at work.

Do employees (or you) feel appreciated and valued for the work that they do? Most of us do not feel appreciated and valued at work, and this contributes to most colleagues becoming disengaged at work.

III. Psychological Safety

Questions: Describe your observations:

Do employees (or you) feel safe in expressing their views or ideas?

Most of the employees feel safe in expressing their opinions and ideas

Are there risks associated with taking initiative by expressing disagreement or trying to make changes/improvements to the way things are done?

No, our superiors are always open to new ideas, but most of them are departmental

Can employees (or you) rely on being treated fairly?

Yes, absolutely!

Does it seem certain employees have privileges (e.g., access to resources and opportunities) that others don’t?

All employees are treated equally and no one is entitled to privileges

Does the manager play favorites?

No, we are a very closely knit team with everyone treated equally

Does the manager trust employees (or you), for example to be able to make good decisions or to act in the best interest of the organization? Yes, all the employees are trusted to make right decisions which are to the best interest of the organization

Do employees (or you) trust the manager? Do they trust management in general?

Yes, we all trust the manager as he is open and treats us equally

Do managers’ actions align with their words (i.e., do they do what they say they will do)?

Yes, managers to keep their word and every time they promise something, they make sure they have delivered.

Are some employees (or you) working against negative or erroneous stereotypes?

No, everyone in the team is treated equally and thus, there is no stereotyping

Is there a norm for people to be open to learning, especially from mistakes and each other? Yes, everyone learns depending on the situation at hand. For example, conflict resolution when dealing with rude applicants

IV. Psychological Availability

Questions: Describe your observations:

Are employees (or you) under significant levels of stress resulting from long working hours, intense pressures to deliver (results, deadlines), being understaffed, or difficult working conditions?

Employees are not under significant level of stress resulting from long working hours, intense pressures to deliver. However, if one of the team members calls in sick, we have to cover and do extra work but this doesn’t make it stressful as we understand the conditions

Are employees (or you) experiencing strain on the job as a result of feeling like they lack the preparation, skills, or confidence to do what is being asked of them?

No, we are all qualified for the job and thus, we give our best. There is no strain on the job resulting from feeling lack of preparation, skills and confidence.

Are there any other significant sources of frustration or anxiety that may be causing emotional exhaustion among employees?

No, the team is happy, content and in good spirits.

Are employees being supported to meet their non-work needs? For example, being given flexibility in when/where they do some of their work, or having a manager and coworkers who are sympathetic to the challenges associated with juggling multiple roles?

Yes, the employees are supported to meet their non-work needs. The managers and co-workers are sympathetic and thus, understands what an employee is going through. As a result, an employee can be given some days off to take care of their issues.

Do employees have the opportunity to experience meaningful sources of engagement in their non-work lives?

Yes, the employees have an opportunity to experience meaningful sources of engagement in their non-work lives as they may take paid leaves to work on their projects

Part Three—Report Work Group Survey Results

Now you will further your understanding of engagement by examining a group. Use the Survey Your Work Group tool to find out how engaged the employees say they are.

Distribute the following survey questions to employees in any team or work group. You may find it most appropriate to collect responses anonymously. Add up the scores received from everyone. A 3 is a neutral score. In general, the higher the score, the higher the level of engagement is indicated.

Survey Instructions:

Please answer the following questions on a scale of 1-5, where 1 indicates your strong disagreement and 5 indicates your strong agreement.

Statement 1 Strongly Disagree 2 Somewhat Disagree 3 Neither Agree or Disagree 4 Somewhat Agree 5 Strongly Agree

1. Time goes by quickly when I am at work. x

2. Performing my job is so absorbing that I forget about everything else. x

3. I really put my heart into my job. x

4. I don’t even get discouraged when I’m confronted by obstacles; they just make me want to try harder. x 5. I look for ways to expand my skills. x

6. I anticipate opportunities to take action. x 7. I get so involved in what I’m doing that people can’t easily distract me. x

8. I trust that I’m being treated fairly by my organization and my managers. x

9. I trust my management team. x

10. I feel energized from doing something that I personally value. x

11. I look forward to going to work every day. x

12. I’m so passionate about my work that it doesn’t feel like work. x

13. I dedicate a lot of energy to my work, but it doesn’t feel like a burden. x

14. I work hard and I perform well, but I am not exhausted by it. x

15. I feel like I am investing my hands, my head, and my heart in my work. x

Totals: 73

Complete the grid below

Summary: Offer your summary:

What were the results of the work group that you chose to survey?

4.87

Were you surprised by your survey results? No, the team works well whether they are under pressure or confronted by obstacles despite a few colleagues who are often disengaged. All the rest of the team remain to be engaged at all levels.

Part Four—Choose Strategies for Improving Engagement

Management strategies based on the drivers of engagement are outlined below. They all relate to the conditions for engagement and are all within the sphere of influence of individual line managers. Which ones do you think will be most helpful to your efforts in improving engagement in your workplace?

Take note: One reason engagement efforts may be disappointing is that some companies try to transform a lot of cultural dynamics all at once. Professor Nishii recommends that managers will get better results when they start with a few smaller successes, which then provide a basis for expanding. Consider the management strategies listed below. Choose the ones that you think will yield the best results for your needs.

Complete the grid below.

Engagement-Driven Management Strategies Is This a Good Choice for Us? Notes:

Managers can take time to understand their employees, such as by having informal conversations at the beginning of meetings and approaching conversations like they are valuable, not a waste of time. Yes ☐

No ☐ I feel that leadership styles suit differently to different kinds of people. With managers understanding their employees, they develop trusts and makes the employees feel valued and thus, they will gave the best for the organization

Managers can provide opportunities for people to interact informally. Yes ☐No ☐ I do believe that too much work can ruin the opportunity to know and understand colleagues better. Paid vacations can help enhance interactions

Managers can show concern when people are dealing with personal issues or working too hard; they can be human. Yes ☐No ☐ Employees are humans and have emotions. They undergo various problems at personal level. Employees with personal difficulties exhibit high levels of stress which decreases their productivity levels. Showing concern will make the employee feel valued and this may work for the long-term benefit of the organization.

Managers can pay close attention to the way jobs are designed: do employees have meaningful opportunities and means to coordinate and support each other? Yes ☐No ☐ I feel that employees give their best when they are least supervised and monitored. Being trusted by the manager can help increase their confidence and improve their productivity

Engagement-Driven Management Strategies Is This a Good Choice for Us? Notes:

Highly engaged organizations implement highly visible mechanisms for recognizing and rewarding employees who demonstrate strategically focused behavioral engagement. Managers can implement these mechanisms. Yes ☐No ☐ I do believe that recognition and rewarding of employees plays a crucial role to their engagement. The more rewarding and recognition is done to an employee, the more they will contribute towards the success of the organization.

Managers can communicate to employees that the organization recognizes them as individuals and values their specific contributions. Yes ☐No ☐ Every deserves to be recognized for their contribution in the organization. Lack of recognition reduces motivation and the overall productivity. It is therefore essential to have the managers continuously communicate to the employees and let them know they are appreciated.

Managers can demonstrate they trust employees to put their full energy and commitment to work; without it, people spend energy protecting themselves. Yes ☐No ☐ Employees who feel trusted have high productivity rate compared to those who don’t feel trusted. Less supervision by managers means more trust, commitment and thus, high productivity.

Line managers can influence psychological safety by treating employees fairly, such that employees don’t feel vulnerable and unsupported by their manager and organization. Yes ☐No ☐ All employees need to be treated fairly and equally. No one deserves to be privileged in the organization as it creates a division between the employees. Also, favoring some employees make others feel like they are not valued and thus, doesn’t give their best.

People care more about whether the process is fair than about the outcome. If they feel that the process is fair, then they can live with the decision. Managers can demonstrate the fairness of decisions being made. Yes ☐No ☐ All decisions made by the managers in an organization need to be fair and representative of the diversity and inclusivity of the organization. Failure to give fair treatment may result to resentment among the employees.

Engagement-Driven Management Strategies Is This a Good Choice for Us? Notes:

Managers can build in resources for employees. The negative relationship between job demands (workload, stress-inducing physical environment) and work engagement is weaker when employees have many resources.

Yes ☐No ☐ With available resources, employees do not have to struggle to deliver quality outcomes. Therefore, with managers providing adequate resources they can create a comfortable working environment to achieve the success of the organization’s goals.

Managers can offer resources, such as supervisory support, opportunities to be innovative, appreciation and respect, and skill variety.

Yes ☐No ☐ Appreciation is key to promoting innovation in an organization. Managers should adopt a leadership style that encourages the employees to learn on the job, promoting creativity and innovation. However, close supervision may not work to provide a creative and innovative environment.

Conclusions

Summary: Offer your conclusions:

Summarize your hypothesis about the two or three factors you believe might be most important to address in an effort to increase engagement.

Good management arises from effective leadership. Leadership that promotes fairness and inclusivity among the employees can increase engagement.

Employee participation provides room for the organization to have ideas and opinions in first hand on what the employees are going through in the organization. Having the employees provide their opinions can help in increasing their trust and value to the organization, and this helps to increase engagement and overall productivity.

Frequent recognition of the employees through rewards based on performance can help them feel appreciated and hence, increase employee engagement.

What are your recommendations for improvements?

The management in the organization needs to treat all employees fairly and equally such that none will feel discriminated. Also, employees need to be given a platform to air their grievances and contribute through providing meaningful opinions that can help advance the interests of the organization. Also, employees need to be continuously recognized and rewarded to make them feel valued and as part of the organization.

To submit this assignment, please refer to the instructions in the course.