Neuroscience Deep Dive: Understand The Impact of Job Requirements on Employee Engagement

Understanding exactly what is expected of you at work can be linked to employee engagement. Job requirements is associated with the Rational brain system in our neuroscience model.

If you've just landed here, we recommend heading over to our brain systems and neuroscience themes pages for an introduction to our neuroscience model and methodology. Otherwise, read on to find out why job requirements is a vital component for workplace engagement.

To get the best out of your employees, you must give them the tools and resources to succeed. But what do they actually need? That’s the million-euro question! Our data found global employee engagement dropped over the pandemic. Low engagement can negatively impact your retention rates and morale, increasing frustration and burnout. If that’s not enough, disengagement costs $7.8 trillion in lost productivity worldwide. 

The Starting Point 

Give people clarity on exactly what their roles and responsibilities entail. The primary resource to arm your people is a job description or role profile that clearly articulates the expectations and the measurements of success. This helps them know where to start, what to focus on, and what's important. 

Being non-specific and vague in a role and responsibilities is a pitfall managers encounter when writing up a job role. A good role profile is a summary brought to life. It is a general description of what day-to-day life is like in that role, followed by a detailed, bullet-point list of the actual responsibilities that include what the individual is responsible for delivering. 

When role profiles are done correctly, they are clear for the individual and manager. It acts as a set of parameters so the manager can see where the person needs help, where they're doing well, and where they might be able to do more in certain areas. 

Learning and Development

In a nutshell, it's got to be highly specific and highly bespoke. One size doesn't fit all when it comes to learning and development. It's a very personal journey about the individual’s strengths and areas they want to develop further so that they can best progress within their career path. Keep things simple; use the time with your people to have these discussions with a performance review or appraisal as a framework. These conversations tease out the areas people want to do more and develop further. 

Remember, some people prefer to have an e-learning module or training program they work through at their own pace, while others need to be in a room in front of a lecturer and still, others prefer peers and to bounce ideas off. It depends on the individual style, how they learn best, and what they want to get from their journey and development path.

Carve Out Time 

Create a culture where it's okay for people to focus on personal growth. It is a fundamental part of people's happiness and engagement at work. Make it a priority because if you don't allow your people to grow and develop, they can’t give their all to the role and perform at their best. If people don’t feel fulfilled in their potential with your company, that could ultimately lead to them leaving. It's essential to give them the best opportunity to grow and develop personally if you want to retain talent and get the best out of them.  

The next step is to create a culture that makes time within the working week or month to focus on learning and development. Make sure leaders are role-modelling the behaviour and endorsing this approach. Learning and development recognise people's efforts and rewards them for taking the time to learn a new skill that can be applied back to work. Seeing this progress will rub off on their colleagues because they see how much the business values personal growth and development.

Momentum Maps 

In a very busy scale-up time, people can get busy for the sake of being busy, but are we actually doing the stuff that makes the biggest impact? Putting our effort into the projects that will help move the dial and get us to where we want to be as a business. Momentum maps are a tool we use at The Happiness Index to direct people's focus and energy. We've implemented them for the company overall to set strategic projects and fundamental steps to achieving these targets. These are broken down to an individual level, so everything we're doing can be rolled up into how we're helping to reach our community missions and goals and how that feeds into the strategic picture. This helps everyone be specific about what they spend their time on.

Embed Learning in Organisation

At the Happiness Index, we’re doing a project called Project Blossom. It’s all about personal growth. We structure our time so that people have dedicated space available in their calendars to work on their Project Blossoms. We've also created knowledge bud sessions throughout the year, which are very similar to a lunch and learn, covering a range of subjects. It's a holistic approach to learning and growing. It goes back to role modelling; many senior people attend these formal and informal learning sessions. They bring everything back to their teams, share the knowledge, and share what they've learned. It's been a real investment and value add to take the time to do these things. 

As leaders, HR people, or employees, we should want our teams and colleagues to feel happy. Not overwhelmed, or stressed. We should want them to have a manageable workload they are passionate about. That brings joy and meaning. This can be achieved by enabling your team with the right resources to succeed and grow in business and life.  

*This is an excerpt from the Happiness and Humans Podcast with Gemma Shambler, Head of People at The Happiness Index. Click here to listen to the full podcast. 

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Linked to Engagement in our neuroscience methodology... learn more

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Job Requirements, Clarity & Employee Engagement | Gemma Shambler

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About The Happiness Index

The Happiness Index helps organisations measure the key employee engagement AND happiness drivers to power their people strategy.

Our unique platform offers the products, insights and tools to shine a light on your cultural health and empower management to drive thriving cultures.

Our neuroscience-based pre-built surveys measure the full employee experience - from onboarding to exit to empower and enable organisations to understand their people and create data-led action plans.


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