A 2018 Gallup study revealed 85 percent of employees function below their potential and don’t feel engaged at work.
Let’s sit with this for a moment. This means almost nine out of ten people in your workplace are essentially just going through the motions. Let’s also look at the date 2018 – we have been “quietly quitting” for a long time. Is this the best we can do; for ourselves or our workplaces?
I don’t think so, I have more faith in us and our ability to thrive professionally and personally at work.
Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash
A contributing factor has been that work culture has steadily become less about the people, with a singular focus on the output of a business. After all, my experience has shown me that the success of any business is the sum of the people putting in the hours behind the scenes. But we’ve been too distracted to notice employees’ eyes slowly dulling, as the spark of connection and creativity that used to be the hallmark of a thriving workplace has been all but extinguished.
In fairness, this has not necessarily been by design. It’s not as if all CEOs and business owners consciously set out to divide workforces, prevent people from feeling like they’re making a meaningful contribution, and leave employees feeling lost. Rather, more often than not I walk into workplaces where unhealthy systems have become entrenched, the side effects of which have snowballed over a period of time. Left unchecked, bad habits have a tendency to creep up on us. And when we’re operating so fast there’s hardly space to breathe, these habits simply continue unchecked.
The skills required for changing what hasn’t been working demands real focus and planning.
Firstly, we must be fully cognisant of the factors that have destabilized our working lives. Too often I see people attempting change without diagnosing what was wrong first. I think this scattergun approach can expend a lot of energy without achieving the desired outcomes. Only when we are able to observe and name what’s been going on, will we be able to manage and disrupt the workplace behaviours that keep finding people falling through the cracks. This will leave us in a better position to make the kind of decisions that will support our people and our workplaces to thrive.