Thursday, July 11, 2013

Can’t Get No Satisfaction

The Rolling Stones have already penned the theme song, though it’s the Americans who can’t get no satisfaction – job satisfaction that is. According to a recent Gallup poll, 70% of Americans are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work. Employees are bored, unmotivated and feeling under-appreciated. Over half of those surveyed say they are effectively “checked out” on the job.

Put it in dollar terms, that’s an annual $550 billion in lost productivity. That’s more than the GDP of Sweden. No small problem for a country that needs an inspired workforce to help it recover from a tough couple of years.

Forbes recently issued a list of the 10 happiest and unhappiest professions. The same themes tend to repeat. People who feel like they are in static roles, doing menial tasks with limited responsibility and growth prospects quickly become emotionally disconnected. And why should you care? Without job satisfaction the quality of service diminishes, innovation diminishes, there is less time with which to make a difference and get things done.

Apparently Canada has the happiest workers in the G8 (I loved my time there in the late 80’s running Pepsi). Whatever they’re doing, I am sure it involves Responsibility, Learning, Recognition and Joy. If you’re one of the 70% who are finding it hard to get inspired at work, here are four ways to get back some of that mojo:
  • Evolve with the times: Is there a better way to do this? Doing things like they’ve been done for the past 10 years is not a sign of reliability. At worse, it’s a tell-tale sign of your age!

  • Look to the top: Who is successful in your field? Who has been an innovator? Read about their work, their philosophy. Learn about what they did different.

  • Consider your brand: What do you want to be known for? How would you like your peers to describe you? Make a list of ways in which you can build your professional reputation and start working on it.

  • Focus on what’s good: Think about the things in your day that you enjoy doing. What about them make you feel good? How can you apply it to the other ‘must-dos’ on your daily list?

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