A recent Gallup poll showed that just 30 percent of employees in America feel engaged at work. Around the world, across 142 countries, the proportion of employees who feel engaged at work is just 13 percent.
Far too many people are finding that work has become a depleting, dispiriting experience. Here are some of the reasons employees say they hate coming to work:
1. Work demands too much of their time. Blurred boundaries between work and home magnify the challenge of worker engagement. Thanks to technology, work hours extend way beyond the traditional work day--and sometimes run 24/7.
2. The distinction between work and life is reduced. An unprecedented flood of information and requests compels us to read and respond at all hours of the day and night. Even if it's not directly job-related, there's constant pressure to keep up on developments in your field, social media, and other related areas. When demand exceeds capacity, it drains energy and stamina.
3. It's difficult to focus on important tasks. When there's too much to do and not enough time, frustration is a given. Overload and competing deadlines make it hard to set priorities and focus. When people are asked to do everything, they end up achieving nothing.
4. There's no time to reset. When workers feel a constant pressure to produce, to the point that they can't even take breaks or make time for themselves, they end up feeling discouraged and disparaged. Giving the organization 100 percent means there's nothing left over for a personal life. It also makes workers less effective; research says people focus best with a break every 90 minutes.
5. They don't feel valued. If people don't feel recognized and appreciated for their hard work, they become indifferent and lose motivation. Making people feel appreciated and valued has a more significant impact on employee effectiveness than any other behavior by a leader. Employees who say they have a more supportive culture are 1.3 times as likely to stay with the organization and are 67 percent more engaged.
6. They can't find meaning: If there is no compelling purpose attached to the job they do, most people will end up hating their work. When you don't understand or subscribe to the meaning, you don't really end up liking what you do. People want to derive meaning and significance from their work. And those who do are three times more likely to stay with their organization--making it the single most impactful variable in any survey on engagement.
If you want your people not to hate coming to work, you have to not work them 24/7, give them work-life balance, allow them to work without distraction, let them know you appreciate and value them, and provide compelling meaning for the work they do.
Put your people first--even above customers--because they are the key to creating long-term value.