Campaign/FTC disclosure: I will receive compensation for promoting this campaign. I only work with companies I feel have great products, services and offerings. In accordance with my blog disclosure statement, I will only work with and showcase products and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from. Xerox has hired me as a brand ambassador for this campaign because of my influence on social media and in talent management. I am not formally employed by Xerox. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Image courtesy of Deviantart.net

According to Merriam-Webster, Optimism is defined as “a hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.” I believe every new employee starts out with an abundance of optimism for their career pursuits with a company. It’s sort of like you waking up with an abundance of money in your bank account, but due to cost of living and other expenditures the money becomes less and less and more often than not- it is depleted. Optimism works the same way. The pot of optimism is essentially there to be nurtured, invested and increased. The issue is companies that are unaware of its value and impact will blindly deplete it.

Where does the love go?

We are still hearing reports about 70% of the workforce being disengaged. Why don’t more companies get it? The problem is business leaders understand the business but they seldom have their finger on the pulse of the true motivations, intentions or wishes of their employees. Furthermore, they seem to be missing the mark on keeping that account of optimism funded as the employee continues to work for them.

Being able to harness and sustain the enthusiasm for the company’s objectives as well as providing meaningful work experiences will be key factor in deploying a successful talent strategy in the future. Today’s top talent comes with high expectations, fleeting loyalty and a drive to make an impact. Companies that are able to inspire and sustain enthusiasm will likely be most successful in being able to retain and mobilize their employees to achieve business objectives.

All along, we thought that retention was about nurturing employees such that they would remain with a company. Given this notion that Xerox puts forth of the Return on Optimism (ROO), we come to understand that when individuals are recognized and understood by the business-the company realizes increased productivity, teams are more innovative, clarity around business objectives is commonplace and in return the company retains happier employees.

It’s not a generational thing

It doesn’t matter what generation you belong to, most people prefer to do work that is meaningful for them. If we had to define what ‘meaningful’ would look like – it would be a cross between something you are great at and something you are passionate about. Businesses have a choice of having a miserable workforce that will likely be unproductive and even destructive to the business or they can intentionally ensure that they do all that is possible to help people succeed in their careers.

How many times during the course of your career, have you been asked about what you are good at and the work that you enjoy?

In my case, I have seldom been asked this question. Admittedly, it is a loaded question since the answer will vary from person to person. What do we gain if companies looked at aligning people to their goals; while also satisfying individual career goals and aspirations? All things being equal, you would have your people doing what they love and excel at-which would in turn empower them to give you 100% of their effort in achieving business outcomes. There would be less heavy lifting where it comes to performance management, because we all would be speaking the same language of constant improvement and building on successes. Sounds like a simple solution to a nagging business issue.

How do you see “return on optimism” being used to develop talent strategy?

Want to see how your company stacks up? Take Xerox’s “Return on Optimism” quiz for further insights from top executives at Xerox and other Fortune 500 companies. Click here. Also, see my survey results here.

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