Here are four words we don’t hear very often: “I love my job.”
An extensive research in the area have now found that the most engaged employees — those who are fully invested in their jobs and dedicated to their firms — are significantly more productive, enhance customer satisfaction and outperform those who are less engaged.
It’s important for employees to participate in their task enthusiastically, for the sake of their growth along with the company. But it turns out that only 20% of employees around the world are fully engaged at work.
It’s a cut off that serves no one well. So what could be the solution? Where is the win-win for employees and employers?
The solution is that employers must shift their focus from trying to get more out of people, to investing more in them by supporting their core needs — emotional, physical, mental and spiritual — so they’re freed, fueled and inspired to bring the best at work and prove themselves every day.
Our primary need is to make enough money to live a decent lifestyle, but even at that, we cannot live by bread alone.
Take a moment here and think about what makes you feel most excited to get to work in the morning, and makes you most loyal to your employer.
The kind of company I have in mind would nurture the employee friendly environment if they could:
- Commit to paying every member a living wage. And that largely depends on the standard of living. Many corporations do not meet that standard for many of their jobs, simply because of an unfair environment where a CEO is paid millions of dollars a year while an employee gets a modest sum for full time work that in some cases falls below the poverty line.
- Treat employees like grown-ups. Share statistics with employees, listen to their ideas (or better yet, actively seek out and act upon their ideas).
- Every employee who contributes his/her work must have a stake in the company’s success. It can be in the form of profit sharing, or stock options or bonuses tied to performance. If the company performs well in the market, all employees should share in the success, in meaningful ways.
- Design office’s working environments that are comfortable, safe and appealing to work in. Some offices include a range of lateral spaces that allow for privacy, collaboration, or simply to hang out.
- Provide high quality, healthy food, at the lowest possible prices in canteens, cafeterias and also vending machines at workplaces.
- Create sitting rooms for employees to rest and renew during the course of the working day and encourage them to take regular breaks.
- Offer a well-equipped gym and other facilities where employees can work-out and stay fit. Do not see fun, humor and relaxation as the enemies of hard work; instead perceive them as its allies.
- Describe clear and specific expectations for what victory looks like in any given job. Then, try to give your employees as much liberation as possible to choose when they work, where they do their work, and how best to conclude it.
- Organize two-way performance reviews, so that employees not only receive regular feedback about how they’re doing, in means that support their growth, but are also given the opportunity to provide feedback to their supervisors, anonymously if they would, to avoid recrimination.
- Advice leaders and managers to be responsible for treating all employees with respect and care and encourage them to regularly identify those they supervise for the progressive contributions they make.
- Make policies that encourage employees to allot a considerable amount of time, to focus without disruption on their most important urgencies, including long-term projects with planned and creative thinking. Preferably, give them time to pursue projects they’re particularly passionate about and which have the potential to add value to the company.
- Offer employees opportunities and incentives to learn, develop and grow, both in forming new job-specific hard skills, as well as softer skills that serve them well as individuals, and as executives and leaders. Actively encourage volunteerism among the employees.
- Stand for something beyond just increasing profits. Provide services or create products or serve causes that openly add value in the society, so that employees could derive a sense of meaning from their work, and would feel good about companies they work for.
Life, as the famous philosopher Hobbes so succinctly pointed out, can be solitary, brutish, nasty and short. If we spend about one-third of our lives working, don’t you want it to be less miserable? It’s not that easy as it is said to be. But some companies are admirably close, and others are to be applauded for their valued efforts. The one that comes closest is Google. I’m convinced it’s one of their key to success.