By Erika Weinstein, CEO and Founder at eTeam Executive Search
I don’t relish the task of writing. I know, that’s a strange way to start, but allow me to explain. I love to come up with innovative ideas, work on business development and maintaining relationships gets me energized… but writing is not something that comes easy. So why do I write? For a couple of reasons, (1) it’s important to be a part of today’s conversation. (2) As we think about growing our business, it’s essential to challenge ourselves and go beyond our comfort zone. (3) I love to explore ideas and thoughts with candidates and clients. It’s why I love my “job.”
There are so many benefits to loving your job. It effects you mentally, but it also positively effects the people who live in your world: your family, friends and colleagues. If you’re like me, you want to work with others who love their jobs too, because satisfied employees are less likely to leave and more likely to be engaged more productive and efficient. According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends research in 2014, “78% of business leaders rate retention and engagement urgent or important.”
It’s interesting that over three quarters of leaders today say that it’s urgent or important to have satisfied employees and yet, employee engagement is at an abysmal low on a national scale. Studies have shown that just 30 percent of American workers are engaged at work. According to Gallup, this costs our country $450 to $550 billion per year in lost productivity!
Kevin Sheridan, author of Building a Magnetic Culture, even the greatest companies (those who scored in the top 10 percent on employee surveys) register only 38% of their employees as “fully engaged.” It’s even worse on an international scale – according to Gallup, only 13% of employees are highly engaged globally.
What does this mean for your business? What does it indicate that over 62% of our employees are dissatisfied, unhappy, or likely not working to their full potential? It means less productivity for our businesses, and it means unhappy people. Neither are good. How do we change this?
Many companies opt to offer corporate perks to their employees such as catered in-office lunches, game rooms, company off-sites or merely giving generous raises or bonuses. Daniel H. Pink, author of the 2009 book Drive, describes these sort of perks as “carrot-and-stick motivators.” According to Pink, they don’t work in the long term, because they shift focus from the job itself to the reward.
Pink states that what we really want in our jobs is a purpose that connects us to something larger. How do we give our employees purpose? One method is to reinforce your mission. Be sure your team knows what their purpose is and understands the company’s mission, vision and engages in the corporate culture. If our employees truly believes in the mission, they will be more engaged and perform better.
This is especially true of the millennial generation. According to the Business and Professional Woman’s Foundation’s focus group summary report on Generation Y Women in the Workplace, by 2025, Generation Y (born 1978-1994) will comprise nearly 75 percent of the world’s workforce. Studies show that these young professionals will work for a significantly lower salary if they believe in the job they are doing.
When we think about measures we can take to make sure our employees love their jobs, the first thing that comes to mind is the elusive yet ubiquitous phrase “Employee Engagement.” But what does employee engagement really mean? Gallup says an engaged employee is one who is “psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.” I even believe the concept of “engagement” is limiting – our goal shouldn’t be solely to increase business, but also to maintain happy and fulfilled individuals. The question is, why strive to get our employees “engaged”, when we could be striving to get them “wedded”, or in other words, fully committed to their jobs. Its corporate leaders who need to prioritize the happiness factor. “Employee engagement” needs to go from a yearly HR measure to a valued tenant of our businesses we reassess each day.
Employee concerns are important and it is imperative that leaders follow through on them. Giving employees surveys to gauge how they feel about their work experience and their satisfaction with your company is an excellent way to gain insight into corporate happiness and productivity. If leaders ignore the corporate mood, if transparency is not upheld the likelihood of growing your business is slim at best.
The best way to assuage how your employees feel about their jobs is to ask them. Build relationships with your employees. Be aware of what is going on in your company. Ask employees for their opinions and advice. Give them ownership of their work and recognize them when they’ve done a great job. The most important reward is acknowledgment and a sense of belonging.
When we do communicate with our employees, and when we listen to their concerns, we find that our employees are more engaged, leading to more productive business and a better bottom line. The objective when we communicate with our teams is to inspire passion. I believe that passion is an indispensable quality in business – it is certainly one of the traits I value most in myself and others. Show me a passionate leader and they will show you success.
You need to inspire your team and most importantly, it has to translate to your customers/clients. If your clients don’t feel your passion, then why would they do business with you and/or your company? Passion often builds the heart and the heart builds trust. Trust is the most important tenant in business.
In conclusion, when you love your job, you bring your entire repertoire of skills to the table. When you place your heart into your work, your colleagues feel it and are inspired to follow suit. So start loving your job – the rewards are immeasurable. And if you don’t love what you do, start looking for something that you’ll love… life is short!
Erika Weinstein is the founder and CEO at eTeam Executive Search.