Want More Employee Engagement? Try Micro-Goals.

Every client I speak with would like to have more engaged employees no matter how well things are going.

However! Wanting something and getting it are two very different things. The fact is that a more engaged workforce doesn’t happen just because you want it to happen, you have to make it happen, intentionally and consistently.

One practical way to get that more engaged workforce is through the power of Micro-Goals.

How do you feel when you achieve a goal?

Question for you!

How do you feel when you achieve a goal? Positive, Upbeat, Happy, Motivated, are words I often hear when I ask the question.

The reason why you feel Positive, Upbeat, Happy, Motivated after you achieve a goal is because one of the neurotransmitters in our brain – Dopamine (the feel-good chemical) kicks in when we achieve a goal, giving us a lift and making us feel better.

Now, wouldn’t it be great, if you could find FIVE reasons for Dopamine to kick in each day, FIVE reasons to make you feel better about your job AND also make your work colleagues feel better and more engaged.

You can do it CHAPS, by setting and implementing FIVE daily Micro-Goals that just happen to spell the acronym CHAPS.

Compliment

Hear “Thank You”

Address by Name

Positive words

Smile (as in put a smile on someone’s face)

We’ll look at Micro-Goal 1 by asking a few questions.

Is it fair to say that when you are complimented you feel more motivated?

Is it fair to say that when you are complimented you have a better appreciation of the person who compliments you?

Right, let’s turn those questions around!

When you compliment a colleague, is that person likely to be more motivated?

When you compliment a colleague, is that person likely to have a better appreciation of you? I’m sure the answer is “Yes.”

SO! How often do you compliment your work colleagues?

Now, let’s turn the question into a Micro-Goal which is “My Micro-Goal is that I will compliment one work colleague when I go into work each day.”

Guess what? When you compliment that work colleague, because you have set it as a goal, you will hear yourself complimenting the colleague, you will appreciate that you have achieved a goal, the dopamine kicks in, you feel better about yourself and how do you think your work colleague feels? That’s right, Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Zip-a-dee-ay!  It’s a Win-Win, because you set it as a Micro-Goal.

Micro-Goal II: HEAR the words “Thank You.” That’s right – HEAR the words “Thank You.”

You may already have been thanked today, but you probably didn’t really pay attention to it. So! Let’s set a daily Micro-Goal that “I will HEAR the words “Thank You” today.” Obviously, for you to HEAR the words “Thank You,” you have to do something for a colleague that justifies that reaction. And here we go again with “Guess what”! When you HEAR “Thank You,” the dopamine kicks in again because you have set it as a goal and how do you think your work colleague feels? Yup? Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Zip-a-dee-ay!  It’s a Win-Win, because you set it as a Micro-Goal.

Micro-Goal III: Address colleagues with their name in conversation

You’ve often had the experience where a conversation is going on in another part of the room that you don’t really hear or pay attention to — until someone mentions your name. Your ears now perk up.  Why? Because the most impactful words in your vocabulary are (is?) your name. Similarly, the most impactful words in colleagues / customers / vendor vocabulary is their name. Set yourself a daily Micro-Goal to address colleague by name which will create a visceral, bonding response.

Guess what! That good old dopamine kicks in again because you have achieved a Micro-Goal and how do you think your work colleague feels? It’s a Win-Win, because you set it as a Micro-Goal.

Micro-Goal IV: Use Positive words

We’ve all worked with Debbie Downer and Danny Downer. Some people have a depressing ability to suck all the energy and fun out of a room, mainly through the continuous use of negative words and negative phrases. However, the opposite can also apply and you can make it apply  and you can energy and vitality to a room by setting and achieving a daily Micro-Goal to use positive words. If you can get into the habit of using (without hyperbole) words like Amazing, Brilliant, Cheerful, Delightful, Energizing, Friendly etc. Guess what! When you HEAR yourself addressing your Micro-Goal, the dopamine kicks in again because you have set it as a goal and quite likely after a while, your work colleagues may well start using words to describe you and the work environment as Amazing, Brilliant, Cheerful, Delightful, Energizing, Friendly. It’s a Win-Win, because you set it as a Micro-Goal.

Micro-Goal V:  Smile

No, I’m not asking you to walk into work with a Smile on your face, although it would be great if you could. The Micro-Goal here is to PUT a Smile on a colleague’s face.  And what will you do when that colleague smiles? You Smile.

The net result! Your colleague is smiling, you’ve achieved the final CHAPS Micro-Goal, dopamine is doing its work and it’s Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Zip-a-dee-ay time all over again.

This is not hard, but to make it work, you must be intentional and consistent in implementing it.

CHAPS works chaps, it really does. – Compliment, Hear “Thank You,” Address with name, use Positive words, put a Smile on someone’s face.

Remember, improved employee engagement doesn’t happen because you want it to happen. You’ve got to make it happen. I know you will make it happen.

Conor Cunneen
About the author: 

Conor Cunneen (IrishmanSpeaks) is happily exiled in Chicago, as an in-demand keynote speaker whose mission in life is to Improve People, Performance and Productivity – with a Smile. Conor is a former Vice President of Marketing with Unilever, a Chicago Humorous Speaker of the Year and multiple author including two books on Mark Twain. He is also a Metallica fan.  Follow him on Twitter.