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September. That ‘back to school’ feeling. A time for taking stock and making plans. And perhaps now more than ever.

It's been tough and there is still a lot of uncertainty. In the UK, redundancy and unemployment rates are high and many people will be looking for new opportunities.

For those in employment too, it may feel like time to ring the changes. The working landscape has changed considerably over the past eighteen months, giving rise to new possibilities, greater flexibility and the chance to reskill. For many, this presents an invaluable opportunity to consider how we feel about our work and what the future may hold.

Not feeling enthused about getting back to it? You’re not alone.

Gallup’s ‘State of the Global Workplace’ report uncovered that only 11%* of us are engaged at work in Western Europe – that’s fewer than one in six of us looking forward to sitting down at our desks each morning.

That number could be so much higher if we had more opportunities to play to our strengths. In our free time, we are able to prioritise what we enjoy. We tend to choose activities that we’re good at – those that boost our confidence, offer satisfaction and reinforce our sense of self.
In the same vein, employees who have the opportunity to play to their strengths are six times more likely to be engaged at work. Employee strengths, say Gallup, are ‘employees’ – and the company’s – greatest opportunities for success’. In other words, promoting strengths-based working doesn’t just improve employee health and wellbeing, but employee turnover, the company’s bottom line, customer experience, brand perception… you name it.

So, what are the most common obstacles to employee engagement? And how can you transform your ‘back to school’ mentality with Belbin?

1. You don’t enjoy the work.

It’s a good idea to begin by discovering where your strengths lie. A Belbin Individual Report can help you do just that. If you ask others you work with to give their opinions too, it can be a great learning opportunity. You might be surprised by the results. If they see different strengths than you do, it could be a chance to try out different things. If you can identify disconnects between the kind of work you enjoy, and what’s currently on your desk, you might want to talk your findings through with your manager, so you can see if there’s room for manoeuvre. Alternatively, you might decide it’s time for a new role altogether.

2. You don’t get along with your manager.

You’re not alone, and it’s likely to have a huge impact on how you feel about work – Gallup found that employees’ perceptions of their primary manager influence about 70% of their engagement. Belbin Working Relationship Reports might hold the answer. Perhaps you’re a bubbly ideas person who feels that your cautious manager shuts down your ideas and curbs your enthusiasm. Maybe you’re a practical person who likes to be organized and efficient but your manager keeps throwing new ideas at you and is upset when you don’t drop everything for the latest fad. A Belbin Report can help present these differences of behaviour in a simple, non-confrontational language, so you open up discussions and develop appropriate strategies to resolve them.

3. You’re a hard-working manager, but your team never seems to get anywhere. Everything is an uphill struggle.

If so, don’t keep pedalling away in the wrong gear. It’s time to ask yourself how well you really know your team players, and if you’re delegating by their strengths or just according to what’s on their job description. Is there a creative individual stuck doing routine work, who’s primed to leave for an organizational culture more open to ideas? Maybe your proof-reader hates jobs that require attention to detail and actually wants to be the one closing deals? A Belbin Team Report is a great resource to open up discussions about how people work best – individually and together – and to fit the team puzzle together for everyone’s benefit.

Next steps

If you’re ready to refocus, re-engage and gain a deeper understanding of your capabilities, Belbin could be the right tool for you. Find out more about why and how to use Belbin.


*State of the Global Workplace 2021 Report

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