21st century employees can have a Million Reasons to walk away and are no longer pacified by a pep talk and pay rise.
There once was a time, when you had the full attention of employees in the workplace from the moment they stamped their time card on the way into work until they stamped their card on the way out again.
But in today’s world employees can have many distractions every minute of the day. Including the following, to name just a few:
- Social media
- Text messages
- Job alerts
- TV sports shows
- Ads for living the dream of running their own online business
- Candy crush!!!
Whilst there may not be a million at any given point there are far more distractions today than ever before. Many of these distractions are omitting from their mobile devices via push notifications.
The mobile phone comes with increased pressure to give instant responses and to tempt us away from responsibilities. We are constantly connected to a bigger world which can dilute focus from the task at hand.
Apart from the mobile, there are other life temptations and distractions to compete with:
- Life stresses that seep into work
- Calls from friends and family
- Ambition fuelled desires to live the dream and run an online business
- Social plans and activities
- Holiday planning
If we compare the working life of employees today with those of our predecessors in the 1950s, there are stark contrasts:
In the 1950s 4% of all employees worked part-time compared to 26% today. Workers had an average of 16 paid holidays per year, working hours were longer, the work was tougher (mines, quarries, manufacturing) and only 1 in 2 women had a job. Not only that but the average life expectancy in 1950 was 65 compared with 84 today!
There were few distractions and taking a ‘job for life’ was not uncommon.
But as we know the world is a very different place today. Like Magpies, we are waiting for the next thing that glitters to catch our attention and lure us away.
Lady Gaga sums up the feelings of some employees wanting to walk away with her lyrics in ‘Million Reasons’
So, if there are a million, or so it seems, reasons for us to walk away, even if temporarily, what is that one good reason to stay?
Having a Purpose
If you check the dictionary for the meaning of purpose, you’ll find
‘a person’s sense of resolve or determination.’
and synonyms such as:
determination, resoluteness, resolution, resolve, firmness (of purpose), steadfastness, backbone, drive, push, thrust, enthusiasm, ambition, initiative, enterprise, motivation, single-mindedness, commitment, conviction, dedication;
Imagine your workplace if those words rang true about all employees most of the time. There would be a real buzz in the air, a high energy atmosphere and production levels would shoot through the roof. Employees themselves would feel happier, energised, valued and proud in what they achieved on a day by day purpose.
It’s important we all have a purpose in life. Without purpose, we can quickly become demotivated and feel lost and slightly bewildered. Studies have proven that people with a sense of purpose are happier and have a healthier outlook on life and work. They are also less prone to mental health issues at work. Employees are less likely to walk away if they feel a sense of purpose in their work.
How to create a culture of Purpose
There are many reasons to create a culture of purpose, for the organisation, teams and employees, and indeed many options of cultivating such a culture.
- Find ways to show how individuals and teams are part of something bigger
- Ensure employees feel valued for their contribution, no matter how small
- Align performance goals to that of the team and the wider organisation
- Praise and celebrate the wins in the workplace
- Stand back and let them shine when they start to excel in their role
- Take the opportunity to learn from any mistakes or perceived failures
- Roll your sleeves up and support them when the going gets tough
- Communicate and reward positive behaviour
- Give all employees a voice and then listen to what they have to say
- Prove you are listening and demonstrate the action you are taking based on their insights
A good friend of mine also quoted the Sam Smith song Money on My Mind to sum up her feelings about work:
What if we could all ‘do it for the love’?
Enforce such actions with Engage, the highly interactive employee engagement app designed to enhance business performance. Contact us to discover how Engage can help to create happier employees with a heightened sense of purpose.