“Why do you work?” – is a question that instantly confounds nine out of ten people. Try asking it to your employees, and in the vast majority of cases you will hear: “For money. The answer is logical, true… and either incomplete or very alarming.
Material motivation is necessary, but not always enough.
“I don’t want to do my job anymore. Whatever task I solve, I am always attracted to do something else. Because of that I constantly feel that I am deceiving someone: my company, family or even myself.
The above quotation belongs to Luke Kissam, executive director of Albemarle (a multi-billion dollar chemical company). He clearly gets good money for his work, but he does not feel a sincere desire to work – just like many other top managers.
In 2014, Srinivasan S. Pillay, a psychiatrist studying the problem of professional burnout, randomly selected 72 top managers and asked each of them several questions about their attitude to work. The result was disconcerting: all top managers showed at least one sign of burnout.
87% of people in the world “do not want” to work
It may seem that the problem with burnout concerns only highly paid employees: they have already solved all their problems with money, so the salary ceased to be the motivator. The hypothesis even looks logical, but the test by practice does not stand:
According to Gallop, only 30% of working Americans are really satisfied with their work. Statistics around the world – 142 countries – are even more depressing: only 13% of people are satisfied with their work.
That is, for 9 employees out of 10, work is a strictly negative experience: a case that they do not because they want to, but because they have to. With time, willful resources are exhausted and professional burnout occurs. A person starts to work worse and worse, makes stupid mistakes, can’t concentrate on the case, and then either he quits or you have to fire him.
Is there any way to improve the situation? You need to start with a simple thesis: your employees can’t stand their work, and it is you who will have to do something about it.
Why burnout control is a manager’s job
It would seem that professional burnout is a problem that primarily affects the employee. It is he who feels tired and irritated, he has to go to work every day, which he does not like… and he will do nothing about it.
The reason for this behavior is in the established stereotype: “Work does not have to be pleasant”. Most people have been taught since childhood that there is no word “don’t want”, there is a word “must”. You have to fight with yourself, you have to work, you have to earn money to feed your family. This pattern of behavior – harassment on internal resources – becomes natural, and a person does not even think about what can be different.
As a result, your employee’s problems become your problems. You will simply lose money: the person works worse and the salary stays the same. Then, losing the bonus, conflicts, firing and finding a replacement are all costs that can be avoided by simply taking care of your people in advance.
In addition, increased employee engagement in itself results in a noticeable increase in almost all significant business indicators. Gallop analyzed the situation in 192 companies and then compared the organizations’ key KPIs with the happiest and most depressed employees. Companies in which people are satisfied with their work showed noticeably better results:
- Business profitability +22%;
- Customer estimates are +10%;
- Theft level is -28%.
Similar results were demonstrated by a similar study of Towers Watson: the difference in profit between the best and worst companies in the employee engagement rating was 14%. A simple conclusion can be made:
It is profitable to invest in the satisfaction of your employees!
It remains to understand what exactly your people want.
The four main needs of the employee
The research conducted by Harvard Business Review and The Energy Project shows that all employees – regardless of their work area and position – have four groups of basic needs:
- Material. High salary, comfortable work place, good schedule and so on. Remember that physical discomfort is one of the strongest negative factors: if an employee is dissatisfied with working conditions, it will be very difficult (or even impossible) to fully compensate for this moment;
- Emotional. It’s important for every person – even if they don’t recognize it – to see that their contribution to the company is truly appreciated. Timely praise and recognition serve as a very serious motivation, do not neglect them in any way;
- Intelligent. The work has to be interesting, and the monotony is very tiring. Try to automate all routine – and first of all, the one that is not directly related to the main activity: workflow, reporting, etc. (timekeeping systems like Monitask help a lot with this);
- Spiritual. Each person must be in his place. For example, you should take into account the personality of the employee: if you see that your best technical specialist is an obvious introvert, try to completely free him from communication with customers.
Meeting these four needs is enough to ensure that your employees’ problem of professional burnout remains purely theoretical forever.
What to do exactly?
Start with a survey: find out from each employee what he likes in his work and what he doesn’t. Next, follow a simple “small steps”: make small changes to the workflow that should improve employee engagement, and evaluate the result. For example, if people complain about a very intense workload in the “high season”, you can add 10-minute breaks once in an hour and a half – the practice of The Energy Project shows that such a loss of working time is paid off by increasing the overall efficiency of work.
And remember: to accurately assess the real impact of changes, you need objective data on each employee. We recommend that you use the Monitask employee tracking system:
- Automatically monitors the activity of each employee of the company;
- Creates transparent productivity reports for individual employees, departments or the entire company;
- It works invisibly for employees and does not strain their control.
In addition, Monitask is a great insurance against unexpected problems: if one of the staff starts to burn out, you will immediately see it when their performance drops and can take the necessary measures.
Help your employees to love their work, and the profitability of your business will increase significantly!