Not unlike romantic relationships, an employee’s relationship with work begins with a honeymoon phase, and often has peaks, valleys and plateaus. And much like personal relationships, inevitably the honeymoon ends, and the employee’s fiery passion fades to embers that require stoking to reignite.
When managers neglect to add extra kindling to the fire, they risk their employees becoming overwhelmed, exhausted and bored. Ultimately, they invite turnover into their organisation – and turnover is expensive.
But before that happens, keep an eye out for the tell-tale signs of trouble and take action to fix them before it’s too late. The signs of fading passion at work include the employee’s fear of taking risks, a lack of face-to-face communication, support and mentoring among employees, and a plain and simple drop in performance.
If this sounds like your company, then now is the time to act. Deep down, employees are begging to gain a sense of hope and enthusiasm again, but they need your help. Here are six simple ways to rekindle your employees’ love for their job:
1. Show them you care
Employees are keen to work harder for a manager who takes a personal interest and engages with them on a personal level. This can simply mean being there. This translates into being present for your employees and caring for them: give them the recognition they deserve upon achieving a difficult target, identify a gap in their skill set and offer them the training opportunities they need to develop their skills, and create a healthy and stress-free work environment that, in turn, will boost their morale. Eight in 10 respondents in a Bayt.com poll on passion for work in the Middle East say they value managers who give them feedback and genuinely care about their professional growth and development.
2. Encourage learning and innovation
The leading barrier to innovation is often a lack of strategy and competing priorities. You can circumvent this when you present the challenge with a system for participation and recognition. Encourage your employees to innovate by learning new skills.
There are many ways to encourage this: recommend a new book or industry blog, invite them to take courses and promote a positive work culture in which employees can be happy, motivated and challenged.
3. Make their job count
Do your employees know how their work contributes to the organisation’s goals? Does what they do add purpose to their life? They want to feel as though their work is meaningful, so let them know. As a manager, it is crucial to frequently reinforce the importance of their roles. Help them see the connection between their activities and company success. Set goals and challenge your employees to meet them to promote a sense of purpose. Grant them the autonomy to improve the way things are done and involve them in decisions to help them feel a sense of ownership over the direction of the company.
4. Listen to them
Asking employees for feedback and implementing their ideas may be the easiest way to engage them. If your employees feel they contribute to decision-making, they will feel more entrenched in the team and committed to working towards organisational success.
The tendency with most companies is to just stand back and wait for results. Don’t be passive. Actively seek to engage your employees. Ask for suggestions on changes and work with them to implement these changes. Keep up this process and do not leave it as a one-time event.
5. Give praise where praise is due
Studies have shown that employees who feel valued, recognised and appreciated are the happiest and most loyal. Formal mechanisms for evaluating and rewarding employees need to be in place and these need to be competitive and in sync with industry norms. Outstanding performance needs to be rewarded and regular special initiatives should be in place to identify, celebrate, motivate and encourage star employees, promoting their loyalty and retention.
People appreciate being recognised for a job well done. By complimenting deserving employees, your team members will be motivated.
Lama Ataya heads the marketing department at the Middle East job site Bayt.com