When you wake up in the morning, are you filled with excitement about the prospect of a new day at work, or do you dread the thought of having to make it through yet another day of drudgery? If you're like much of the population, you fall into the latter category and distain going to work. Surveys have found that only 13% of people around the world actually like going to work--an astoundingly low number.
Low employee engagement can lead to a number of problems, including low office morale, physical ailments, and emotional disorders. Employees who don't like their jobs, especially when they work together, tend to feed off each other, which can cause distress in many other areas of an employee's life and lead to more sickness and familial problems.
What would the world be like if we all loved our jobs? Think of the power of that question. To start, the emotional and physical problems from having to spend hours a day in an unsupportive environment would go away or be mitigated. People would likely be much happier and spread that happiness to their personal lives. Think of the potential of what problems society could work together to overcome. With a world of engaged employees who are excited about what they are doing, we could solve some of the world's biggest problems and bring people together in new ways.
There are a number of reasons people dread going to work: it could be that the work itself isn't challenging or engaging, the management is difficult to work with, the pay and benefits are lower than the employee would want, co-workers are difficult, the culture isn't a good match, and many other reasons. And while we may not be able to create a world where every single person loves his or her job, each company can work towards creating that environment in their own office. Imagine what could happen with a full team of engaged and passionate employees--goals and success would likely be higher than ever. Every person deserves to work for an organization that they feel deserves their time and attention to be there.
In order to create this ideal environment, management needs to be on the same page with employees. The right to love your job doesn't arrive once you hit a certain level or get a promotion--employees at all levels should be excited to come to work. Start a dialogue with honest conversations about what employees like and dislike about their work environment. For some organizations, this happens through town hall meetings or performance reviews, while others use anonymous surveys. Those results can point leadership in the starting direction. If a majority of employees feel unengaged because of the physical office space, management knows that one of its first steps should be reevaluating the office and perhaps creating something that better meets the needs of employees.
Creating an engaged environment isn't a one-time thing, however. The best companies keep the conversation going and involve employees in the entire process. Constantly asking employees about their ideas for the future and their thoughts on the progress of the company gives leaders at all levels a metric of how their efforts are playing out. Being flexible and listening to employee feedback creates a cohesive environment where people are happy, engaged, and productive.
Everyone around the world deserves to wake up excited to go to work, but unfortunately that doesn't always happen. While we can't control what is happening other places, we can focus on what we can control: our own attitudes and the environment in our organization. By putting a bigger emphasis on employee happiness and engagement, organizations can reach new levels of productivity and success.