What does work do for you? Does it enrich you, leave you feeling like you’ve been valued all day and made a significant contribution to the organisation? Are there opportunities for you to grow and develop? Would you recommend your friends to work at your firm?
But if you’re not one of that happy number, do you know why?
In difficult economic times of course one just can’t change jobs willy nilly; they aren’t there to pick and choose from. But it is important to know what you want from work, what really floats your boat. At the very least you can then find some other ways of filling the gap until the perfect job comes along. For example, if you love working with people but you’re current job is desk and PC based you might choose to volunteer for something which allows you to work alongside others. If you can do this within your workplace so much the better; you’ll also be raising your visibility and put yourself on the radar when other posts become available.
If you ask someone why they work they will probably say ‘for the money’. But almost always when you probe deeper money is not the main reason, although clearly it is important. In my case, while I clearly have to earn some money as I am not heir to a great fortune, (thank goodness) money is not my driver. I am driven by my passion for equality, in particular for women, and I couldn’t do a job which compromised those values, however much they paid me.
There has been some interesting research in what makes people happy at work. Business authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman tackle the fallacies of standard management thinking and how good managers create and sustain employee satisfaction in First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently.
The book is a result of observations based on 80,000 interviews with managers as conducted by the Gallup Organization in the last 25 years.
Some key ideas in their book include what the best managers do and don’t do: they treat every employee as an individual; they don’t try to fix weaknesses, but instead focus on strengths and talent; and they find ways to measure, count, and reward outcomes.
According to the authors, the basic things all managers should know are what the employee is expected to do, how to equip her to do it, and how to give praise for a job well done.
In ascending order of priority these are the twelve questions that staff should be able to answer yes to:
What Is a Great Workplace?
1: Knowing what’s expected of me at work.
2: Having the materials and equipment to do my job.
3: Having an opportunity to do what I do best every day.
4: Recognition or praise has been given to me within last few weeks
5: My supervisor or manager seems to care about me as a person.
6: Someone at work encourages my development.
7: My opinions seem to count at work.
8: My company’s mission or purpose is one I feel proud of.
9: I am able to do quality work and my colleagues also.
10: I have a best friend at work (I love that one!)
11: Someone at work regularly (within the last six months) talks to me about my progress
12: I have opportunities to learn and grow and develop.
How many can you answer yes to?
P.S. I have a few hard copies of my book When Work Isn’t Working left so if you’ve thought about making some changes, grab yourself a copy now.
Posted on February 26th, 2014 by Jane