Employee engagement initiatives have come a long way, from providing ‘pay and rewards’ to including ‘quality of life’ which is about employee well-being, both, physical and mental; work-life balance, quality of work activities and more. These inclusions to the employee engagement initiatives are inviting organisations to acknowledge each employee’s uniqueness and understand that there is a need for differentiated engagement approaches.
Interest as a term describes the attitude characterized by a need to give selective attention to something that is significant to a person such as an activity, goal or research area.
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment.
Exploring employees’ broad interests and giving them opportunities to engage with these interests, through non-work activities or official work projects, can help employees become ‘mindful’. Large population-based research studies have indicated that the practice of mindfulness is strongly correlated with greater well-being, perceived health and productivity at work.
Dwelling in interests and practicing mindfulness are closely interlinked – they both are based in ‘giving attention’.
Giving opportunities to employees to pursue interests or making them a part of their work projects, will yield the same effects as practicing mindfulness. Some benefits experienced, could be –
Where can ‘interests’ find place in organisations?
- On-boarding of new employees can be made a positive and unique experience e.g. fresh graduates can be aligned to projects and teams where their interests will be leveraged
- Mentoring programmes and mentors can use the information about mentees interests to create learning and career opportunities
- Engagement activities can be aligned to a teams’ interest patterns, making it unique and meaningful for them
- Employees’ interests and their engagement with them can be used to recognise talent and create cohesive teams within the organisation
Like personality assessment tools, there are tools that can help gather information on interests. One such tool is the Strong Interest Inventory®. This inventory with its rich history of over 85 years is redefining how we look at interests with respect to careers and life at large.