Most people are just hanging in there at work

As a consultant I get to step back and observe a lot of workplaces.   In between the occasional highlights and wins, I see a lot of people dragging themselves into work, wearing forced enthusiasm and motivated just enough to get through the day.

It’s almost uncool to enjoy work.  Hating on work is the basis of countless memes and I suspect the reason drive through bottle shops were invented.  

Sure, there are some people that consistently feel great about work, usually those people are in leadership roles and there are those people who have made a kind of peace with work.

But the great majority of people I come across at work are holding in a lot of dissatisfaction, they are mostly disconnected from work and they think no one else can see it. But others can feel it, if not see it.

I wonder when we decide work, instead of being a place that enhances our life, is a place that we die a little inside every time we show up? 

Dramatic…I know!  I’ll back it up with some sobering statistics to justify my dramatic prose. 

Businesses that have disconnected staff are:

  • 4 times more likely to have good staff leave
  • Bring in 2 times less income
  • Have 80% of staff unwilling to say positive things about their employer
  • 8 times more likely to have a safety incident requiring time off
  • Suffer a 30% to 50% loss in productivity

And then there’s the human impact of a disconnected employee:

  • 43% will treat their families and friends poorly
  • 36% have been diagnosed with high blood pressure
  • 45% will want to leave causing them additional stress
  • 2 times more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression

It may seem that the zeitgeist is against you as ponder what can one leader do to turn things around.

There is one thing you can do and it works a treat.

Think about the best boss you ever had, why did you think they were so great? Chances are it came down to a very simple factor – you had a good relationship with them.

It also turns out that the quality of the relationship between the manager and their direct reports is the most significant factor in employee engagement and performance. 

Although it sounds simple and it is a very affordable solution, I’ve been around long enough to know that maintaining good relations with team members can be very hard. 

Here are some thought posts to help guide improved relationships and lead your engagement efforts.

  • Be visible: Make yourself accessible, sit with your peeps, give them love and attention and be easy to talk to about things
  • Be a mentor: Share the ways you keep yourself fresh, interested and engaged (we often overlook how much our staff look up to their bosses)
  • Be chill: Stay calm, master your triggers, even when what you are hearing or seeing frustrates you (make peace with the fact that people do dumb stuff – it comes with being human)
  • Be funny: Lighten up and find the balance between taking work seriously but not ourselves
  • Be self-caring: You will fail and get it wrong and overreact. Punishing ourselves is optional though.  Notch a stuff up as an opportunity to handle things better and apologise in the meantime and be grateful for the teaching you received (without it, you’d repeat the mistakes)
  • Be the kind of boss you wish you’d had.

See you next month,

Andrea Tunjic

Strategic HR & Leadership Coaching

I empower people to use their inner strengths to live and lead in the way that inspires them most

Our human resources article this month has been contributed by Andrea Tunjic (CAHRI) 

Andrea is an award winning Leadership and Human Resources Strategist.

With a diverse career spanning 25 years in the people management space, Andrea has earned a 360 degree perspective on work. She started out as a union official, has worked as a senior HR manager, lead her own small businesses, consults in all aspects of people leadership and business improvement strategies to organizations throughout Australia and has written a book on the topic called People Power.

She is also the creator of a range of online leadership courses aimed at helping managers become more effective leaders and teams to Vibe Up.  She is also the is the developer of ICoachMe, a self-coaching process

that has been recognised by the International Coaching Federation. Andrea’ s approach to people management is engaging, knowledgeable and practical with an unwavering commitment to empowering staff and leaders to work to their best, resolve problems well and enable them to become happier, more empowered and more successful at work.