Are You Satisfied?

October 28, 2015 by FlexPro

Not too long ago, I came across a Gallup report study from 2013 on the “State of the Global Workplace”, which discovered that an alarming number of employees around the world are psychologically disengaged from their jobs. According to Gallup, which surveyed people in 142 countries, “The bulk of employees worldwide — 63% — are “not engaged,” meaning they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals or outcomes. And 24% are “actively disengaged,” indicating they are unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers. In rough numbers, this translates into 900 million not engaged and 340 million actively disengaged workers around the globe.” According to the survey, this leaves only about 1 out of every 8 people actually committed enough to their jobs to be making a contribution.

Am I the only one who finds this information very disheartening? Trying to get a better handle on what exactly it all means, I recently read a book by Barry Schwartz titled, “Why We Work”. The obvious reason, of course, is to earn a living. Most of us need to work to live. The interesting point that Schwartz makes in his book is that when satisfied employees are asked why they are fulfilled, surprisingly, money isn’t usually one of the reasons. While the motivating factors that have these people energized about what they do for a living vary, the common thread is that they work for a company or have a position that allows them to:

Feel challenged: Schwartz states, “Satisfied workers are challenged by their work. It forces them to stretch themselves – to go outside their comfort zones.”

Feel in control or in charge: “Their workday offers them a measure of autonomy and discretion. And they use that autonomy and discretion to achieve a level of mastery or expertise.”

Have the freedom to grow: “They learn new things, developing both as workers and as people.”

Do meaningful work:Potentially, their work makes a difference to the world. It makes other people’s lives better. And it may even make other people’s lives better in ways that are significant.”

Not all of us are lucky enough to have a job that offers us all of these things every day. However, as project managers, these are important points to remember as we work with our teams. Motivating factors in a great work environment include so much more than monetary incentives. A great example is a friend who was earning a very good living at a not so great company, and was miserable. Regardless of the nice paycheck, she eventually ended up leaving the company for another position. She is now making less money and couldn’t be happier! What she told me is that regardless of how much more money she was earning, she was disengaged and unmotivated. The company she worked for and the position she was in did not check off even one of the points above. Getting out of bed in the morning to go to work felt as pointless as adding salt to the ocean.

With the work that FlexPro does work in the Life Sciences field (pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical devices), it’s important for us as project managers to remind ourselves and our teams that what we do every day is part of a much bigger picture. While the daily tasks can sometimes seem mundane, we are an important cog in the big machine. The point that we all need to remember is that the people on our team want to feel valued, they want to feel respected and they want to matter. They desire the opportunity to do their job well, they want to feel appreciated and they want to know that their opinions matter.

Keeping our teams engaged and motivated from day to day can definitely be a challenge. I’d love to hear about how you keep your team on track. Drop me a line!

~Rose Cook

Chief Executive Officer, The FlexPro Group

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