Feeling A Bit Blah About Your Job?

It's Time to Re-Ignite Your Engagement and Passion for Work

Do you stride into work each morning with a spring in your step and a sense of excitement about the day ahead? Or do you drag your feet through the doors weighed down by the feeling of dread that you have to endure yet another day at work?

Recent research (Gallup, 2017) highlights only 24% of the workforce have been deemed engaged. There is no doubt that most of us would like to feel a little more motivated, confident, passionate and empowered at work. Being engaged is not just for the benefit of the organisation, it is also the secret to performing your best and maintaining your wellbeing.

A common misconception is that employee engagement is a relatively new idea, in actual fact scientist have been studying this concept for years. The term was first introduced by William Kahn in 1990, defined as, “The degree of psychological identification employees experience with their job role or work persona”.

Kahn noticed that organisations had a tendency to focus on expertise, skills and abilities, overlooking the influence of everyday experiences on work motivation.

For example, take two employees with similar skills, abilities and experience are working for the same company in very similar roles. One of them is fulfilled, inspired and immersed while the other is uninterested, withdrawn and unhappy. Consequently, the former will perform to a higher standard, stay with the company longer and will be a positive influence within the workforce. The latter will underperform, have a negative effect on others and eventually will leave the organisation. The differing mind-sets are caused by engagement level.

Lisa Sansom, a Positive Interventionist explains, “Individuals who are engaged in their job have more fun, they feel more connected to their place of employment, they’re more likely to have good social relationships and it contributes to their all-around wellbeing.”

One of the roots of this disengagement problem stems from the fact that we see loving work as a by-product of being successful. Commonly people set out with the goal of financial success assuming that achieving this will provide fulfilment. We need to change our focus! Loving work should be viewed as a critical component of success, not just an added bonus.

Loving work is seen as an ideal that only few can achieve, and those who do have truly won the lottery of life. In reality, it’s not as simple as winning the lottery, loving work requires hard work and commitment. Once this mind-set has been mastered you are enabled to experience something that goes beyond materialistic benefits; you feel fulfilled, challenged and engaged.

World-renowned psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, emphasises how engagement and loving your job is achieved through a sweet spot of challenge, "The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times. [...] The best moments usually occur if a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile”.

We need to stop blaming the job, our boss or the organisation in which we work and take responsibility for creating the conditions for this level of engagement to occur. Loving work is commitment that requires prioritisation, it is time to get engaged and move this love for work from your wish list to a priority. The key component to creating this fulfilled and engaged mind-set is switching from a reactive perspective to a proactive one!

Written by Eve Laidlaw, Employee Engagement Specialist at Engage & Grow Global

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