Engagement is the buzz word on everyone’s lips at the moment in the workplace. It is said that engagement can drive up productivity and create generally more happy workers. However passion isn’t something you hear as often anymore, and yet surely passion in the workplace is more valuable than engagement?
Passion for me, as the engaged, passionate worker that I am, is about more than just taking a paycheck at home. When I view myself as a worker, I think of the role I can uniquely contribute to society, and I feel called by a higher force to give compassion through my role and to reach the people my voice allows me to reach. Now I know that probably sounds like a lofty goal for some, but we all uniquely contribute to society in some way, and we can’t actually imagine the ripple effect that are actions have on the world around us. Hopefully through talking about the passion that I have for my role has inspired you to engender passion in your own workplace.
Unfortunately the evidence isn’t good for passion in the workplace. Deloitte released a report in 2014 showing that 88% of employees lack passion for their work. This report went on further to say that, 80% of leadership positions are filled with people who are also lacking passion for their work. So how on earth do we expect even engagement from workers, if management lacks the motivation to get passionate about the work they contribute to society?
Why the chronic dispassion?
According to Deloitte, The problem lies with workplaces actively setting out to discourage passion from their workers. Passion is sometimes viewed with a great deal of suspicion, it is thought that it will breed too much deviance from standard procedure. Workers who have passion are viewed as unpredictable and risky. Companies that take this attitude miss the opportunity to foster creativity amongst their employees. Only engaged, motivated and passionate employees can achieve great things. Workers themselves tend to desire passion for their work, wanting to achieve a sense of mastery and personal development. However, for reasons including politics and processes, they lose their sense of passion along the way.
What’s the solution?
The first step is to acknowledge the culture within management. A useful step is to take a day out for reflection on the purpose of the company within both the wider market and broader society. Understanding that core function of your own company within society can help you to develop company value statements that reflect this. By emulating a work approach that takes into consideration the broader societal context of the company, you can then begin to feel more valuable yourself, as your work will mean more to you. Through this example that you set, you can then inspire your employees to similarly have a more meaningful contribution to the world around them through their work.
Finally, create opportunities for passion to develop within your employees by providing them learning opportunities, autonomy in the workplace and by connecting them to peers and mentors through networking. They will not only be happier for the short term that engagement strategies can provide, they will be more connected to a motivating force that will self-sustain throughout their career, and so will you.