Why You Should Care About Your Employees Liking Their Job


Admittedly, that’s a rather distressing headline. Although, if your answer to this questions goes something like : ‘I have a business to run and I don’t have to worry about how my employees feel’, just know that when it comes to employee engagement, motivation and passion are key success drivers and should only be overlooked at the peril of your bottom line.

You’re probably wondering how exactly you can ensure that your employees actually like their jobs. Or, how you can possibly connect their individual passions to measurable and valuable business objectives.

You need passion to harvest the fruits of success

In today’s world, people understand that liking what they do for a living is important to all aspects of their lives.

Studies like this one from the University of Southern California, or this one by Business Insider consistently corroborate how an individual’s passion is a key motivational component to achieving success. However, too many people are not excelling in their chosen careers, or have simply no passion for their work.

A 2014 Deloitte report showed that 88% of employees don’t have any passion for their work. Alarmingly, this 2017 Gallup study entitled, “State of the Global Workplace” also exposed the gravity of the issue. It highlighted that 85% of employees worldwide are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their job. 

We’re no scientists, but there seems to be some sort of correlation between these two numbers…

Why material and financial incentives matter less than you think

Passion and a sense of career fulfilment lead to purposeful positive actions in the workplace. Happiness at work has little to do with financial incentives and much to do with positively engaging your workforce, and aligning their passions, skills, and career objectives with your overall bottom line.

Indeed, according to the Ivey Business Journal, while material or extrinsic rewards have become less and less of a motivational source, emotional, or “intrinsic” rewards have greatly gained in influence.

Plainly stated, employees, are looking less for financial incentives than they are a sense of purpose and meaning in their work. As a matter of fact, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, 94% of millennials want to use their skills to benefit a cause, and 57% wish there were more company-wide service days. So why does this matter so much? Well,  by 2025, millennials will make up to no less than 75% of the global workforce. That’s huge.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Employees Prefer Non-Cash Incentives and Rewards

Intrinsic Rewards — here’s what you can do as an employer

According to the Ivey Business Journal, there are four intrinsic reward types which drive employee engagement.

  1. Foster a sense of meaningfulness
  2. Give employees autonomy
  3. Encourage and recognize competence
  4. Acknowledge progress
Foster a sense of meaningfulness

Our sense of fulfilment and self-esteem come from the meaning we extract from what we do and accomplish. Logically, this would imply that the company we work for should have a meaningful purpose. Employees should feel like they are not simply helping you to increase profits but actually contributing to something of real human value.

Give employees autonomy

Employees surely don’t want to feel the burden of a manager looking over their shoulder constantly. They must be made to feel free to accomplish things on their own. Managers would do well to ensure that their employees are given tasks that match their passion and skills as much as possible. What’s more, self-management optimizes productivity.

Encourage and recognize competence

Employees need to feel their competence and their achievements get the recognition they deserve. This is the only way they can truly reach job satisfaction.

Acknowledge progress

Keeping track of our progress, whatever the objective of our work may be, is necessary to gain the confidence needed to excel at what you do. Acknowledging employee progress is, however, different from evaluating them. We’re not looking for grades here but for evidence that success is accounted for