Ignite their passion

I refer to my latest article featured on The Sunday Times’ Classified Section on 24 February entitled “Job for life’ is a thing of the past”.

While I have written briefly in the past how crucial it is, in today’s labour market, to understand our employees and their behaviour, I felt that it is opportune to expand further on this. 

Working for passion is more than ‘job satisfaction’. Employees need to seek out meaning. And we need to make sure that we create an environment which gives them this meaning (and thus, passion). Understanding what they are passionate about will give them direction and a feeling that they are working for a purpose. Linking someone’s tasks and responsibilities to something bigger – the bigger picture – can make the whole concept a little bit less complex. The link is all about making the connection between someone’s job and the vision, mission and values of the organisation. Yes, it is easier said than done. This is because the vision, mission and values are very often vaguely defined. This means that employees cannot easily relate to them to their day-to-day work. However, letting employees know how their job impacts the customer or the user, will help them understand the ‘bigger picture’.

We need to create an inspiring journey for employees. We need to give them the direction; the moment they lose this direction, is the moment they will start looking for other opportunities. 

How can we do this?

These are some examples. 

  1. Recruiting people who fit the organisation’s values and culture and who are naturally aligned to them is the first, and most important, step. At selection stage, the recruiter should spend time on understanding the candidate’s values – what do they consider as important? what are their acceptable standards of behaviour? People will come on board with you because of your values and culture and if we don’t hit the nail on its head here, we are both likely to disengage in the long term. 
  2. Let people build relationships. Give them opportunities to do this through social events and activities. Good communication helps satisfy self-fulfillment.
  3. Practice gratitude by looking for opportunities to celebrate and recognise people’s successes. A simple ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’ is the first step to practicing gratitude. 
  4. Empower employees and stimulate their sense of control and career. This isn’t just done through career and professional development but by giving them the opportunity to grow through experiences and giving them the autonomy to do it on their own. I recently met a new employee at a client who specifically told me that she found her job ‘self-fulfilling’ because her manager gives her the opportunity to handle clients by herself. She felt that this was, not only an opportunity for her to grow, but meant that she did not have to question the purpose of her work. This gave her job a meaning as she could understand and see the bigger picture. 

Our job helps us define who we are. By nature, as human beings we try to find meaning in everything that we do. And, it is also our job, as employers, to help employees find this meaning, keep their passion going and create an inspiring journey throughout their employment experience. 

About the author

Maria Bartolo Zahra is Managing Director and HR Advisor at SurgeAdvisory. She has over sixteen years of human resources and business advisory experience.