The Challenge of the Little Things

“Joy comes in sips, not gulps.” – Sharon M. Draper

Today’s writing prompt is “The little things”.

The longer I live the more I become convinced that it is the little things that matter most. Because all big things are comprised of multiple little things.

This is also true for employee engagement. According to the recent Deloitte research, it is comprised of meaningful work, supportive management, positive work environment, growth opportunity, and trust in leadership. Each of these big categories can be divided into smaller and smaller buckets containing smaller and smaller “things”.

Let’s take positive work environment for example. One of its components is humanistic workplace – the kind that is concerned with the interests and welfare of humans. To me – aside from such things as being treated in humane manner and having the facilities that would allow me to exist as a human being – this sub-category would also include such basics as safe building, ergonomic working space, adequate room to situate my work equipment and personal belongings and not feel like my neighbor is constantly looking over my shoulder, etc.

This brings us back to the organizational behavior theories – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory.  Both address the issue of “the little things” as the foundation of employee engagement. Both conclude that although some needs of an individual or aspects of a workplace environment seem to be minor, they, nonetheless, have to be satisfied for an employee to even want to come to work.

So what is that little thing that I love, that defines my world, but is often overlooked? Well, there is definitely “a thing” that some people may consider to be minor, but I love it, and it is non-negotiable at my workplace. The heat. I would rather be hot than cold. I am so uncomfortable when I am cold, that it is extremely hard for me to be productive or even simply remain positive (don’t you associate “being warm” with positive attitude?). However, the worst part of it – the frigid office temperature tends to impolitely infringe on my style, considering that it gets into the hundreds here in the Valley.

Of course, there are many other things that my employer provides in an attempt to create a wonderful working environment. Some of them I absolutely adore (such as the free fitness center, conveniently located on the ground floor of the building I work in), some of them I could care less for (such as the fancy cafeteria – I have to bring my own lunch every day), and some of them I openly loathe (such as the spiteful Keurig coffeemaker, that insists on rationing my coffee every morning).

Although most of them are also “the little things” not defining of my ability to perform my job and also fall into the hygiene factor category, none of them affect my desire to come to the office, like the sub-zero office temperature.

What “little things” affect your employee engagement level?

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