Employee Engagement Why people love their work.

I always find it fascinating when companies refer to “work/life balance” in the HR/people management space. I never really understood this term. What does it really mean???

Is work separate to life? No! Of course it’s not! Work is part of our lives and so needs to be treated as a section of the overall lives that we lead.

Employee EngagementI work with clients on a daily basis on getting the best out of their people to ensure high levels of productivity. I call this work Employee Engagement. Yes, it’s an HR term but it does actually mean something.

What this work also does when carried out in a thorough and holistic manner; is to minimise turnover of people due to the level of comfort a person will feel in their workplace, desire to stay where they are and grow with the firm.

The trouble with treating work as a separate entity to life is that this assumes that work is a less desirable aspect to the rest of your life! With this mentality, we would all be defeated before we started, this assumes that we don’t really enjoy being at work and would rather be doing almost anything else that makes up the rest of our lives!

The sad thing is that in many cases this is absolutely true. In fact; more than half of the Australian population doesn’t enjoy what they do, most people certainly don’t have a vocation which is also something they would choose to do as their vacation.

I will confess to having been one of those people for many years, I was a TGIF person, a ‘Oh God, it’s Monday‘ person and looked forward to as many days off as possible.

I began to think about this several years ago because it concerned me that so many hours of my life were spent working and doing something that I only tolerated or sort of enjoyed. I just knew that there must be a better way. We are so used to conditioning ourselves not to expect too much from our lives that we have actually created terminology which supports a mediocre working existence, where we are conditioned to think in terms of work/life balance whether we love our work or not.

I have a client who totally loves what she does. She is about to have knee surgery and struggled to convince the Doctor that she wasn’t a workaholic, simply due to the fact that she was looking for a way that she could attend work rather than just being at home for a fortnight.

She had to explain to the Doctor that she loves what she does and would rather not have more time off than necessary! I know her and whilst she does work very hard, I can see on a daily basis that she is very comfortable where she is, is inspired and actually enjoys being at work…………..it’s part of her life!

Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting that there shouldn’t be balance in how we function in our lives, but this my whole point, why treat work and life as separate? They’re not separate and never could be.

If you love what you do, it simply means that you are living in accordance with your values in the workplace as well as in the other aspects of your life. If you hate what you do, you’re not doing this. The good news is that there is a way to at least significantly improve this situation to link your values back to what you do in the workplace.

If you have people working in teams and there is a lack of motivation, this means simply that there will be a few members not living in accordance with their values, it’s impossible to be inspired if this is missing. Therefore, people may be in the wrong roles, not really see their value in the workplace or feel misunderstood and frustrated.

This leads to higher turnover of staff, higher levels of conflict, lower productivity= LOWER PROFITS AND HIGHER COSTS!

KEY TIPS TO MAKE A CHANGE:

  1. The best place to start is to accept that work is a part of life and not to treat it as a separate entity, refer to work/life balance, as ‘life balance’ and work from there as a good starting point.
  2. Get to know the people you are working with on a daily basis, what do they love?
  3. Have company values that truly embrace the needs of your team- They will value the company if they feel valued
  4. Manage your people properly- Listen to what they have to say, manage their performance regularly- Give people things to aim towards
  5. Look at skills matrix’s- Do you have the right people in the right roles?
  6. How are you rewarding your people? Do they value it?

Working with companies in this area, which I call Employee Engagement is what I specialise in. The results are so fabulous to watch unfolding. You can have all the policies and processes in the world but if there’s nothing underpinning it which grabs people and means something to them as individuals, the results will only every be temporary.

I love what I do and think of my work as a part of the rest of the life that I lead. It needs to be balanced with everything else but I have learned how to see the FUN part of all that I do…

It’s not always easy but it can be done and when you see the linkages, it’s a great feeling!

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