‘I hate my job.’ How often have you heard someone say this? Probably too often to count.
There was a time when I, too, said these words quite often, when I was feeling discontented, unengaged, unheard or unsupported. Fortunately, I haven’t felt this way for many years now. This does not mean that my current job is perfect or that there aren’t days when I get frustrated, tired, bored or annoyed at work. But for me, loving my job means that most of the time I truly enjoy what I do, how I do it and who I do it with.
In our coaching at Peeplcoach we often refer to ‘ikigai’, a Japanese word that describes the situation that occurs when what you love to do, what the world needs, what you can be paid for and what you are good at are all the same thing.
If you want to find out more about ikigai, we recommend Garcia and Miralles’ book on the subject. It is an easy read and will help you create an action plan for you or your team.
When we find our ikigai we are more productive, creative and fun to be around. Work isn’t hard, time flies and challenges seem like opportunities to learn and grow. As individuals we benefit but so do our organisations and colleagues. Teams and organisations are more successful and profitable when team members are committed to and enjoy what they do.
When we are not in a state of ikigai, everyone suffers. As individuals, just turning up to work can be difficult, problems become roadblocks, robust conversations become conflict, stress and anxiety increase and fun seems impossible to find.
For organisations, the consequences can also be dire. Employees without passion and ikigai, at best, simply go through the motions of doing their job, resulting in dramatically decreased productivity. In the US the cost of disengagement is estimated at between $450 and $500 billion. (1) In Australia, disengagement is costing industry approximately $70 billion per year. (2) These are vast amounts of money in anyone’s estimation.
Disengagement might be costly to organisations but so too is staff turnover. Research suggests that the cost to an organisation of replacing an employee can range from 30% to 300% of the employee’s annual salary. These costs include advertising and recruitment costs, lost productivity, managers’ time, lost opportunities and mistakes. And this is assuming you can even find someone to fill that vacancy – after all, we are in the midst of a post-COVID talent war.
As an organisation or manager, what can you do to flip your team from procrastination to productivity?
- Be a better leader. The number one reason employees resign or become disengaged is poor leadership and mediocre management. What sort of leader are you? Would you like to work for you? Be honest now! Are you a micromanager? Do you embrace autonomy and failure? Do you encourage your team members to try new things and get out of their comfort zone?
- Listen to what your team members need. Remember, one size does not fit all. To drive engagement and release your team members’ discretionary effort you need to understand the individual needs and desires of every employee. Are they looking for an extra challenge, a promotion, team leadership or just some one-on-one time?
- Prioritise development. Not everyone wants a promotion but most people want to develop. They want to be better in their roles, learn new skills and add more value. Invest in and encourage training and development. Discuss the areas each employee wants to develop and then support them to achieve their goals.
- Discuss career pathways and succession planning. We all like to know that we are moving forward. Make sure that your team members know where they are heading and what they need to achieve to realise their goals. Research has proven that qualified and professional coaches and mentors can be of great benefit when it comes to developing leaders and careers.
- Do what you say. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Employees will not be productive or passionate for a manager or organisation they do not trust.
As an individual, what can you do to change from ‘I hate my job’ to ‘I love my job’?
Start by completing this simple exercise. At Peeplcoach we call this the ‘Rate your work’ exercise. Review the eight segments of your current role and organisation to understand what is working and what is not. The segments are:
- day-to-day tasks
- career progression
- your manager
- your team.
On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 = ‘I hate it here’ and 10 = ‘I love my job’, rate each segment.
After you have rated each aspect of your job, ask yourself, ‘What makes me feel like this? What are the causes?’ then ‘What can I do to change this situation? What specific actions can I take?’
To get the most out of this exercise, avoid blaming others for the current situation, be creative and bold when brainstorming actions, validate or socialise your action plan with trusted peers or colleagues and, finally, take action.
This might mean finding a coach or mentor, having a courageous and honest conversation with your manager or HR team, or further developing your skills and experience.
You are the only one who can take control of your career and make the changes you desire and deserve in order to achieve ikigai in your working life. Whether you are a manager leading a team or an individual striving to find more career success and enjoyment, it is up to you to take action. If not you, then who?
If you would like to find out more about how Peeplcoach is increasing employee engagement and productivity, please book a demo here.
Recent results indicate that individuals on Peeplcoach programs are 38.2% more confident that they can achieve their career goals within their organisation. Greater career optimism results in greater career satisfaction, engagement, productivity and, ultimately, organisational success.