When 70 percent of employees, including managers, have a negative experience of work, businesses must find solutions that change this long-standing reality. While it may be daunting to change how you and your employees' experience work, there are significant benefits to being energized by work. What's more, there are intrinsic benefits that are harder to quantify but are equally, if not more, important to shaping perceptions of work.
The Science and Emotions of Energizing Work
One input to positively shape the experience of and be energized by work is strengths. Strengths are what energize you. For example, if one of your strengths is creativity the more work you do, that flexes that strength the more excited you feel. The positive emotions you experience from energizing work has quantifiable benefits to results.
Studies on strengths have found that when you design strengths into the culture, employee performance increases 38 percent. When work energizes you and your employees you are more focused, enthused, and have more mental and physical strength to do the task. These are vital inputs to creating a high-performance organization.
Even recruitment is positively impacted by tapping into strengths to energize the workforce. The Strengthscope Partnership found that customer retention improved by 44 percent when a company helped employees learn what energizes and drains them.
When our clients integrate a strengths-based philosophy into the culture, a common misconception is employees will work only on energizing assignments. What drains people (the opposite of strength) is a subjective conclusion. Therefore, it's way too complicated to align work assignments based on strengths and drainers. What's more, even well-crafted jobs have "unsexy" work. The goal, then, is to increase the amount of energizing assignments while balancing business needs.
Some Sources for Energizing Work
Even if you don't use an assessment to learn what energizes you and employees, there are sources to stimulating work. Here are a few:
Meaningfulness. Work that is meaningful to you energizes and enthuses. Learn what is meaningful to you. Learn what significance people on your team get from work that they find meaningful.
Psychological Safety. Focus on creating a team environment where people feel safe to share their ideas and not worry about looking bad or unprepared for not knowing something. In other words, don't beat people up for being different or not being "in the know." Instead, focus on coaching people and modeling the way regarding understanding differences and what barriers exist to staying informed.
Purpose-Orientation. Make sure you know how your work generates value for the company and its customers. That will make it easier for you to help your employees understand their role in creating value. As adults, we need to understand "why" something is important. When the purpose is unclear, it's hard to be energized by something when it has no apparent importance.
You do not need to wait for HR, your CEO (if it's not you), or permission to turn work into an energizing experience. The sources above can be zero cost solutions. You merely need to be willing to invest the time. One word of caution: avoid taking on this work by yourself. It's energizing to involve the entire team in transforming the experience of work. While a bit cliché, we are stronger when we work together. Focus on what's possible.