Published: October 29, 2019 | Comments
As an employer, you may think it is out of your hands as to whether your employees love their jobs or not. After all, doesn’t that come down to personality and career choice? Why work in accounts if you hate numbers? Why work in sales if you loathe talking to people? Isn’t the job you do a personal choice?
To a degree, yes, jobs are a personal choice, but employers who think they have nothing to do with employee happiness are wrong. As individuals of course we are responsible for the type of job we choose. But, finding a fulfilling career path that satisfies isn’t easy. In fact, Inc reports that more than 70 per cent of employees don’t feel happy with their career choices.
But feeling happy at work isn’t just about being in the perfect job. How employees engage with the work they are doing has a lot to do with leadership, colleagues, and the culture of the business they find themselves in. Employees can actually be perfectly happy in a role that isn’t a dream job.
It is increasingly recognized that employee happiness is important for business success. To this end, it’s important that employees love (or at least like) their jobs. This comes down as much to employee relations and employee experience as it does to the job role itself.
Employee Happiness and the Importance of Good People Management
Ensuring employees enjoy their work is becoming a top priority in the bid to achieve business success. Helping your employees to feel engaged and connected to the work they are doing improves happiness, performance and productivity.
Unfortunately, a lot of businesses don’t seem to be getting people management right. According to career guidance service, Ivy Exec, only one third of all employees are actually happy at work. The fact that so many employees don’t love their jobs is a huge part of the productivity puzzle. But does it really matter if your employees don’t like their jobs?
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) recently reported that labour productivity growth is lower than at any time in the 20th century and that one of the reasons behind this is because UK business has not kept pace with international peers on people management. “If we want to breathe new life into the economy, then investing time, effort and resource in people is a great opportunity for business.”
One of the hurdles highlighted in “Great Job: Solving the Productivity Puzzle Through the Power of People” points to leaders underestimating the importance of their words and actions. Good people management starts at the top and is fundamental in getting employees engaged with the work they do and making sure they enjoy their jobs.
Employees who don’t like their jobs are disengaged, less productive, and more likely to leave.
The Burnout Epidemic
Work burnout has long been recognized by The World Health Organization (WHO). According to a recent report in The Washington Post, burnout is reaching epidemic proportions. The report declares that burnout is everywhere from "moms to medical doctors."
Our always-switched-on culture, longer working hours, heavy workloads, and poor management in the workplace are to blame. We’re running ourselves into the ground trying to be super-human. It’s a serious condition that needs urgent attention if we as a society and business community are to thrive.
The cause of burnout? In a nutshell: chronic stress. And stress happens to be one of the main reasons so many people are disengaged at work.
The WHO defines burnout as having several key symptoms, including “exhaustion,” “mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism in relation to one’s job,” and “reduced professional efficacy.” Burnout is further defined as “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
Burnout is rife and poor people management is causing it. People don’t love their jobs because the demands on them are too great.
The Independent reports that many firms overestimate how good they are when it comes to developing and engaging staff to lift performance. Too many organizations see work burnout as a personal issue rather than a broader organizational responsibility.
“It’s not about people working harder and longer. It’s about getting the right kind of habits and behavior into the DNA of a business.” This includes putting people management targets on a par with commercial targets and ensuring skills competencies in the business are at the heart of staff development and recruitment.
Happiness and satisfaction at work happen mostly as the result of a sense of autonomy, meaningful, and challenging work, and having fun. It requires improved people management, carefully defined job roles and investment in staff.
When work becomes monotonous it also becomes irrelevant and meaningless. When workers are unrecognized and undervalued and don’t feel respected, they stop caring. Poor people management is at the heart of the burnout epidemic. It has been driven by employers who don’t care about their staff.
The Bottom Line
If your employees don’t love their jobs, they are harming your business. If you really want to address a lack of job-love in your business you need to implement a people management plan that actively engages employees and helps them to emotionally connect with their work. Loving a job is as much down to employers as it is down to job choice by employees.