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Employee Wellbeing

Self-Awareness Is the Change in Mindset Businesses Have Been Waiting For

Michael Hocking

Deputy Editor, HRD Connect

It’s no secret to business leaders that an engaged workforce is a successful one. Businesses with high engagement scores are more profitable, more productive, and are twice as likely to see their stock prices grow compared to that of their peers.

Improving employee engagement is one of the greatest challenges a business can face. Feeling engaged and loving what you do isn’t relative to sector or profession, and neither are the root causes behind it. There is also a clear statistical link between mental wellbeing and engagement.

So many engagement efforts are doomed to fail because they are focused on addition – additional methods of feedback, rewards, and so on. What can we give our employees that will make them want to stay here?

Increasing engagement

At the root of changing engagement is changing mindset — creating the mindset to bring the entirety of oneself to work, to commit oneself fully and without reservation to a role.

Traditionally, the idea of creating a business mindset was one of passing on a pre-set attitude: hold yourself like this, sign off your emails like that, give feedback in this way. Of late, business leaders have realized that, instead of placing pressure on individuals to conform, empowering successful employees is about accessing what is uniquely valuable at their core and allowing it to thrive. This means empowering them with self-awareness.

Being self-aware is a matter of both self-knowledge and having the confidence to be yourself. Self-aware employees know their unique strengths and can to commit themselves fully to any task without fear of failure or reprisal. Self-awareness is the enabling tool for full workplace commitment and engagement.

How to create self-awareness in businesses

Within leadership and learning, a switch in focus is required from performance-based management and feedback to real personal development. What aspect of who you are did you use to approach this task? Which aspects of your role clash with your greatest strengths? How free do you feel in communicating your ideas?

It’s about how we communicate with our teams, and how we approach the hard skills required in the daily management of our roles. In this sense, self-awareness is not a soft skill, but a strategic imperative and a key capability at any level of a business.

A fundamental shift must take place before this can happen, around how we define the divide between personal growth of the individual and their growth within work. It must be understood that the two are not mutually exclusive. Like the intersection of consumer technology and our workplace tools, personal growth both inside and outside of work are inseparably linked. After all, how can you be your best self at work, if that version of yourself is denied access to the building?

As with so much in life, the difference between success and failure is a matter of having the right mindset. Wake up to yourself, and let your workers do the same.

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