Some employees work because it pays the bills. They don’t feel that their work is particularly meaningful or important. Others work with a sense of purpose because they feel like what they do matters. If your employees shift to treating their work as a “day job” (something that just pays the bills) you will see much less productivity. This partially depends on the employee, but it is even more dependent on the employer. Here are things to keep this from happening to your employees.
- Meaningful work — It is much easier to be passionate about something that you feel actually matters. Make sure your employees are doing things that matter. Make sure that they understand how their contribution helps the organization function as a whole.
- Pay for performance — If you want you’re employees to be passionate about their jobs then thier performance needs to somehow impact their life. One way to do this is to financially reward people productivity.
- Don’t throw work away — One of the fastest ways to destroy passion in your employees is to ask them to create something and then decide not to use it. Everyone wants their life to count for something, but if the results of their effort just gets thrown away they will just start “putting in their time” with little regard for quality. This isn’t to say that you can never change your plans, but good leaders know how to salvage people’s contribution even if their work is no longer needed for it’s original purpose. I’ve been in situations where I was given a difficult project to complete, but after successfully completing the project, management changed their mind and decided that what they asked for wasn’t what they really wanted anyway. If this happens once, employees will probably just consider it part of organizational change. If it happens several times in a row, most employees will stop putting any real effort into their work, saving their intellectual energy for areas where it might be valued.
- Get to know your employees — You need to know what makes your employees tick. It is much easier for someone to be fully engaged in their job if they feel like their boss understands their life goals.
- Invest in people — This can be done through coaching, sending people to a conference, or even just by buying them a book on some topic you’ve identified is important to them and their career. If your employees feel like they are just a means to a business goal, you aren’t going to get a high level of engagement in their work. Most people want to grow and they will give their loyalty to an organization that helps them to that end.