It may sound cliche but “liking what you do at work is the key to maximizing your career well-being.” This is easier said than done because we all work in order to make a living, which allows us to enjoy our lives. Further, with inflation at a 30+ year high and costs of living soaring, it’s not as easy as just working in a job that brings you nothing but bliss and euphoria. However, the research is clear that if you enjoy what you do, the motivation to do it comes more easily.
ScaleHR is a fan of Gallup, specifically its 5 Essential Elements of Well-Being.
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From a career standpoint, how do you maximize fulfillment and personal satisfaction? It’s not easy — with burnout steadily rising and less than 30% of people truly enjoying what they do at work every day, the solution to solve this problem is hard. Below are the key tips that both employees and employers can do to maximize “career well-being”.
- Job candidates need to be more rigorous in how they assess potential new employers. Yes, this is another example of “easier said than done”. But candidates need to evaluate employers just as much as they’re being evaluated. Dig deep into organizational values and answer this question — “do they truly walk the talk?” How has the organization changed their business model throughout the pandemic to support a more flexible workforce? Note: if they haven’t changed anything, this is a huge red flag.
- Leverage assessments to match candidate strengths to core job competencies. Assessments have been around for decades, and they are needed now more than ever. Hiring managers need to be very specific about what the core required skills and competencies are of a given job so they can properly assess.
- Actively deal with assholes and intelligent jerks. All organizations have them, and they destroy workplaces and companies — they’re more toxic in smaller organizations than in large ones. Note that employee burnout is caused by bad working conditions, which then infiltrate their personal lives, not the other way around. If you have assholes and jerks running rampant, you’re going to have significant problems, unless you actively and expeditiously deal with them.
- Now is the time to invest in leadership development. It’s an investment — a really big one. Think of leadership development as an insurance policy, a risk mitigation strategy, and a way to boost productivity. The global economy is extremely volatile right now, and we have recently seen more layoffs and downsizing than in the past few decades. It’s more than just putting your leaders through a 2-day training program. It requires ongoing leadership training and coaching — doing what is taught and learned, ongoing and all the time.
- It’s not about some shiny new idea. Since the pandemic started, we have seen new concepts and ideas being devised — e.g. 4-day workweek, mandating no email during certain times of the day, offering free use of meditation apps like Headspace, providing virtual yoga classes, etc. While these are all interesting concepts and ideas, implementing them in isolation will not have the positive impact you are looking for. These things are easy. The hard work is dealing with the assholes and jerks, lack of clarity and accountability at work, chaos in communication flows and the collaborative tools that drive it, asking way too much of employees, and so on. There are no easy answers here.
At its core, improving career well-being is closely connected to liking what you do on a day-to-day basis at work. It’s hard work that requires organizations to make tough decisions and facilitate lasting change. The intrinsic motivation that is created when your employees like the work they do is unmeasurable. It’s a natural human phenomenon that naturally motivates employees to work harder, smarter, and more productively.