How to Engage Employees and Cater to their Values

Millennial Magazine - disengaged-worker-category

When people talk about their passion, hobby, or favorite activity in life, it’s easy to spot their excitement; twinkling eyes, intense expressions, and increased confidence. Their enthusiasm is contagious and inspiring. You must notice it yourself as well. When you’re talking about a subject you’re passionate about, you feel at ease, confident and on ‘top of your game’. You naturally want to share your knowledge and experiences to inspire the people around you.

Unfortunately, when people are asked to talk about their biggest passion in life, only few mention their work. This is a sad and painful reality. How come the activity we spend most of our time on (after sleeping) is something that most people are not passionate about? When did we ever decide this to be acceptable? And most importantly: how can we change it? Before we get to answer these questions, it’s important to understand the severity of the problem first.

The problem is severe

You’ll be shocked by the size of the problem. Gallup regularly reports on the engagement levels of employees worldwide in their State of the Global Workplace report. The reported results: globally, only 13% of the workforce is engaged at work, a staggering 63% of the employees are disengaged, and the remaining 24% are even actively disengaged. Combine those last two numbers and realize that a mind-blowing 87% of all employees are disengaged!

The below charts show the American workforce is not doing that much better. Stop for a moment to let these numbers sink in. This means that if you happen to be at work right now the majority of the colleagues surrounding you is probably not really motivated. Even worse, one out of four might even be sabotaging your workplace by being actively disengaged.

Graph #1

The untapped potential

The large amount of unhappy employees has a huge impact on the success of our businesses. As you can imagine, people do a better job and are more successful when they’re happy. Even though many of us believe that happiness is a result of our success, Shawn Achor describes that this formula is actually backward. In his brilliant TED talk he argues that it’s in fact happiness that leads to success.

Because so few people are happy at work, there’s a huge amount of untapped potential up for grabs. Happy employees perform better in various and multiple ways: there’s less sickness, less time wasting activities, less expressions of unhappiness and less work-related accidents. There’s also more innovation, more productivity and more sales. See below some of the potential that most organizations are currently missing out on.

Millennial Magazine - engaged employees Graph #2

Employee happiness is a trending topic

As organizations are starting to realize that they’re missing out on lots of potential, there’s an increased interest in employee happiness. Newspapers, television shows, and magazines are reporting heavily on all things related to ‘happiness at work’. This trend is not only good for business, it’s also good for you! Companies are willing to change their old fashioned ways of working to fulfill the needs of their current and future workforce. The result: there is more and more to choose from when it comes to finding the organization that suits you best.

Below are the three big trends that are currently reshaping workplaces around the globe.

  1. A higher purpose

Instead of solely working to increase the shareholders’ dividend, employees actually want to contribute to a higher purpose. And let’s be clear: a higher purpose is not the same as the overly wordy, vague, and ambiguous mission statements that most companies convey and that nobody in the company can reproduce. We all know that it’s hard to derive inspiration from a rather random and general saying on the wall.

A higher purpose means the company is working for a good cause, an ideal, or a shared belief that is at least as important as increasing profits. Whether it’s reducing air pollution, making beautiful music, or improving gender equality, employees are looking for ways to relate to the organization. As more organizations are crafting their higher purpose, it gives you the possibility to align your personal beliefs with those of the organization. It not only gives you the opportunity to realize your ideals, it also increases your happiness at work.

  1. Values

Do you work for one of those companies where the ‘core values’ are only mentioned in a fuzzy chapter in the annual report? Or is the fancy looking ‘corporate values-poster’ pinned to the wall solely there to collect dust? Well…unfortunately you’re not alone. Even though they are meant to guide the organization, often they are just seen as a necessary evil and not even known or supported by the majority of the employees.

Luckily, organizations are starting to realize that clear and meaningful values can be a huge help. Not only for being successful in business, but also for attracting and retaining the right people. We even see that organizations are starting to select values and personality traits over skills and education.

Therefore, try to discover your very own personal values and search for companies that convey the same set of beliefs. Big chances that both you and the organization will benefit from it.

  1. The wonderful world of perks

More and more companies are trying to create a better workplace by introducing a wide range of employee perks. Perks are used to make the workplace more attractive by providing all sorts of extras in addition to the normal salary package. It ranges from game rooms to free food, from unlimited vacation time to remote working, and from bringing your dog to work to the most beautiful office decorations.

Employee perks can play an important role in shaping the company culture. It can therefore be very helpful to understand which perks are important for you and which ones are absolutely not. It will help you to further narrow your search for your ideal organization.

The choice is yours

As companies are making an effort to make their employees happy, you are given the opportunity to choose for happiness at work. By finding an organization that pursues the same goals as you, that shares the same set of values, and that provides the perks that you love, you significantly increase your chances of finding your dream job. So, if you know you’re part of the 87% disengaged employees, get up and start chasing your own happiness at work. Now is the time!

What do you think?

Written by Pim de Morree

After 2.5 years in the corporate world, Pim quit his job to follow his dreams. As co-founder of Corporate Rebels, he is on a mission to make work more fun. By writing, public speaking and meeting with his personal heroes, he inspires organizations and employees it’s time for a radical change.

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