‘To love your job is a luxury’

‘To love your job is a luxury’

Employers need to create a culture whereby their people look at work as a holistic, personal experience. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Employers need to create a culture whereby their people look at work as a holistic, personal experience. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Going up to the office of a client in the elevator, another three employees working for another company within the same building looked at each other with half a smile until one of them said: “I’m just so bored”. And the day has not even yet started!

Such instances leave me thinking about how one can spend their life at the workplace feeling bored. My logic tells me that if you’re bored at work, half your life is already boring!

It must be very sad. Perhaps, I am one of the lucky ones who, after 20 years doing what I do, I still love my job. Even though I sometimes too long to be away on holiday or do my own thing, I can say that I love my job and feel very passionately about it. A couple of days after this happened, I was having a chat with Joanne Bondin from Misco about this.

“The reason why employees feel that way could possibly be because their organisations are not asking themselves why their employees have stuck with them,” she said.

Is it because it is the most secure thing they have in life? Is it because of the salary or the location of their work? Is it because of what their company does or what it stands for?

“These are important questions that need to be addressed. The answers not only help employers get to know their people better but should also guide them into making sure they get the ‘employee experience’ right,” Ms Bondin explained.

But to what extent can employees say they love their job? Do they have to love their job? Are we expecting too much? Wouldn’t it be nice if employers helped their people to actually love what they do? I asked. Because to actually love your job is a luxury.

People at work want to feel empowered, included and valued

“I think it is something that needs to be nurtured,” Ms Bondin said. “Some employees think they don’t actually need to love their job and what matters is that they carry out their assigned duties. However, we know that the reality is different. Fostering a sense of belonging benefits all involved. In Malta, as in many other countries, so many businesses are operating in sectors where talent is in high demand. 

“Whatever the sector, be it retail, high-tech or specialised jobs, it is getting harder for many employers to attract and retain talent. This is where the employer experience is becoming extremely crucial.”

Up until a few years ago, more than 90 per cent of businesses competed on the basis of customer experience, according to a study conducted by Gartner in 2014. Today, however, the next competitive frontier is no longer only providing an exceptional customer experience but also a memorable employee experience.

Ms Bondin added: “Employers need to create a culture whereby their people look at work as a holistic, personal experience. The first step needs to come from the employers themselves. They need to ask, ‘What are the meaningful experiences employees can take from their workplace to enrich their life? What values resonate most with my employees? Why is it great to work with us? What does it mean to be part of our organisation? Why should my employees keep working for us?’”

People at work want to feel empowered, included, valued and that their well-being matters to their company. On their part, employers should be constantly seeking ways to convey the right reasons why employees should cherish their workplace and their role within the company. Employee experience goes beyond the role of traditional HR but delves deeper into the ways employees interact at the workplace; it is the psychological contract created between company and employee.

“Day-to-day experiences an organisation provides for its employees to make employment more fun and enjoyable are important but the employee experience goes beyond that. It involves the design and delivery of an experience that is not only distinct but, more importantly, aligned with the company’s desired culture.

“Employees’ commitment to the company and their jobs, commonly referred to as ‘employee engagement’, is also important but that would never be possible without a clear strategy for the design of the employee experience.”

Anything that sets employees up for success or improves a company’s culture should be a part of the employee experience.

“Employees want to live a significant experience, contribute to their company’s success and be proud of what they do. Employers should tap into this need and employ individuals who share its vision for both the company and the individuals forming part of it to grow together. Employees know this and are able to recognise those companies capable of meeting their evolving needs and expectations.”

Whether an employee is unhappy or frustrated at work boils down to personal attitude and perception. Of course, employers can do their part too by starting to ask the right questions to ensure that they address the correct issues. As things stand, it’s mostly in their interest.

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