In our April issue, in the article titled “Are your employees rowing in the right direction?”, we discussed the importance of shaping an engagement culture in an organisation. The statement was made that a culture of engagement can only be created if leaders have a greater understanding of the key factors that enhance engagement levels.
Furthermore, it was stated that a clearly defined and communicated vision and the alignment of daily tasks to the vision is essential in ensuring that all employees are directing efforts in the right direction (To read the full article, click here).
A second factor that has proven to directly influence engagement levels is Psychological Capital (PsyCap). If the vision ensures that everyone is rowing in the right direction, PsyCap is the lifejacket for your employees, ensuring that they will stay floating despite unexpected rapids that may knock them down.
PsyCap is defined as an individual’s positive psychological state of development. More specifically, it is a collective term for four positive psychological constructs that individuals possess, namely Hope, Efficacy, Resilience and Optimism (H.E.R.O). The presence of these four constructs in individuals is more strongly related to employee satisfaction and performance than the individual four constructs (i.e. Hope, Efficacy, Resilience and Optimism) of which it is comprised. In other words, the combined motivational effects of the four constructs have a greater effect than any one of the constructs individually.
Hope involves two components: the motivation to achieve goals (willpower), as well as being able to devise plans to achieve these goals (waypower). The motivated, persistent pursuit of goals and proactively determined pathways to the goals results in an individual who is vigorously dedicated to the goal at hand.
Efficacy refers to the self-confidence to take on and put in the necessary effort to succeed at challenging tasks. It is the belief that you can accomplish something effectively. Individuals with high efficacy levels exert greater effort and energy to complete a task.
Resiliency is an individual’s ability to deal with adversity or even dramatic positive events. Resilient individuals can ‘bounce-back’ and adapt after experiencing a disappointing outcome, failure or positive event. The outcome of Resiliency is therefore that the individual will remain engaged in the task at hand despite stumbling stones that he/she may come across in the journey toward the pursuit of a goal.
Optimism is defined as a positive assessment of one’s social or material future. Put simply, optimists expect good things to happen to them. Optimists ascribe positive outcomes of events to internal, permanent causes and ascribe negative outcomes of events to external, temporary causes. In other words, optimists believe that they are responsible for the positive events in their lives. In general, the optimistic employee will continue to believe in their positive potential regardless of previous experiences.
The best news about Psychological Capital is that, unlike certain personality traits that are fixed, it can be developed. Through training interventions and an organisational culture that instils Hope, Optimism, Efficacy and Resilience in your employees, you can unleash the H.E.R.O that lies within them. If you expect your employees to float, give them a lifejacket!