Improve Employee Engagement Using Neuroscience

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Improve Employee Engagement Using Neuroscience

Employee engagement can be a constant struggle for many leaders. They need to be thinking of new ways to keep employees engaged in order to increase job satisfaction, productivity, and retention. One of the growing factors in employee engagement is neuroscience.

Neuroscience, the study of the nervous system, can inform leaders about processes involved with their own leadership, but also about the minds of their employees. Curious to know how you can improve employee engagement using neuroscience?

Because the brain is plastic, it is always adjusting and adapting based on the environment. When you create supportive and collaborative environments, the brains of employees can process the information easier, leading to more effective change. But if the brains of employees perceive things as threats, comfort, motivation, and satisfaction decrease.

By knowing more about the brain, you can learn to limit threats. Often, those threats can come from the normal business practices of assessment, feedback, and evaluation. Because of the lasting negative impacts threats have on our brains, you also have to learn to decrease the amount of threats in the workplace, in order improve employee engagement and motivation.

The SCARF Model

Dr. David Rock is a neuroscientist who has created a model for improving the relationship between leaders and employees. He calls this model SCARF. This model stems from research that states the brain is always trying to minimize threats and maximize rewards. Moreover, social experiences follow the same reward and threat pathways in the brain that other primary needs follow.

Imagine one of our ancient ancestors coming across a new creature, plant, or water source. The brain would interpret the unknown thing as threating or safe and react accordingly. While modern humans are often not in that same position, social experiences follow the same pathways. Dr. Rock uses the SCARF acronym to explain these social forces.

S – Status

C – Certainty

A – Autonomy

R – Relatedness

F – Fairness

Read the explanation of the five elements in the original article.