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The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell created the Employee Recommended Workplace Award to honour companies that put the health and total well-being of their employees first. Register for the 2020 Employee Recommended Workplace Award at: employeerecommended.com. This series of articles supports the award.

What are the first three things that come to mind when you think about your experience in the workplace?

Following are examples, which can be positive or negative:

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  • People I work with;
  • The work I do;
  • The culture I work in;
  • My experience with my direct manager;
  • The sense of pride I get from my work;
  • The hours I work.

What comes to mind and how you respond to each can predict your employee experience. Employee experience includes everything that can influence how you perceive your workplace.

The employee engagement evaluation industry was created based on this notion: If employers become aware of what employees are perceiving, this information can assist in validating what the employer is doing well and provide insights for improvements.

Although the environment plays an important role in shaping the employee experience in the workplace, each employee’s microdecisions and behaviours have major effects. Ultimately, every employee’s experience is influenced by their own actions and those of their employer.

This microskill focuses on what employees can do to positively impact their personal experience in the workplace.

Awareness

“Why am I doing my current job?” The answer to this question can vary from, “I need money to pay my bills,” to, “My work is a major inspiration for me and fulfills my life purpose.”

Anyone feeling they’re doing a job that’s not of value and doing it basically to survive is likely starting each day in a negative mindset. To provide context, if their potential positive charge is 10 and they’re starting each day at a three before the employer does anything, their employee experience is already jaded.

The new-age wisdom of mindfulness is teaching millions how to turn off being on autopilot by pausing and becoming more aware of what they’re doing so they can make better choices and enjoy life more in the moment.

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The first thing employees can do to positively influence their workplace experience is to be aware of where they’re starting cognitively and emotionally with respect to work – and own it – before they get to their workplace.

Accountability

“What are my best job options for me now and why?” Again, the answer can vary from, “I’m continuing what I’m doing because it’s fulfilling my career goals and dreams,” to, “I’m feeling like I’m just surviving without a plan to make things better.”

William Glasser, author of choice theory, taught that we always have a choice, and not making a choice is a choice. His key message is that each human being only has control over their own actions.

Action

If your current responsibility makes it difficult for you to change or think about changing your job to finding one that’s of more interest to you, there’s an alternative. It begins by learning to change your mindset and daily habits, which can change your attitude and enhance your employee experience.

  • Set minimal expectations – Define your minimal expectations for your work, such as a psychologically safe workplace where the employer doesn’t tolerate bullying. If you can’t have or influence this reality, it may be best for you to bite the bullet and plan your exit. There’s nothing wrong with setting a minimal expectation for you to feel safe. Your role is to set your minimal expectations and enforce them.
  • Frame your purpose – Be clear on the purpose and why you’re doing your current job. This may allow you to negotiate with yourself to help you reframe the reason why you go to work each day. By reframing your current situation, instead of feeling trapped in a job forever you accept it as a stepping stone. This can assist you to look for positives and to change your attitude about your work.
  • Colour your picture – Evaluate all the decisions that are within your control that could brighten your situation. If your work is not fulfilling your career goals and is basically to earn a paycheque, you can influence your mindset and employee experience by adding elements to your life. Perhaps you can get engaged in an activity outside of work that’s a passion for you, such as training for a Spartan race.

Maximizing your employee experience in the workplace requires taking responsibility and control for what you can control. Regardless of what an employer does to support the employee experience, it’s helpful for each employee to remember that they own their career decisions and choices.

Read about the 2019 winners of the award and watch a video from the winners here. You can also purchase the benchmark report that outlines findings from 2018 at this link.

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Bill Howatt is the founder of Howatt HR Consulting and a co-creator of the Employee Recommended Workplace Award.

You can find other stories like these at tgam.ca/workplaceaward.

Download our e-books: Inch by Inch, Make Life a Cinch; Little Steps to Big Change; Staying Afloat.

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