The Commute to the Weekend

Are you or your employees merely on a 5-day commute to the weekend? Think about that for a moment.  It’s an interesting question and one which the vast majority of the UK workforce ponder every Monday morning. According to the most recent Gallop ‘Global State of the Workforce,’ a mere 8% of the UK workforce enjoy their jobs.  Being highly engaged in their employment they have a strong emotional connection.  Then there are 66% who are disengaged leaving 26% who are actively disengaged. Which means most of your employees are merely looking to transition between weekends.

It is Called Work!!

When you think about it, it’s no surprise there is such low engagement within organisations. Because today so many just see work as a means to an end. Low employee engagement is, in fact,  a product of our own success. Go back far enough and you’ll find a time when we transitioned from fields of artisan workers to the factory and office. You’ll recognise this as the industrial revolution. Suddenly we had large organisations resulting in lots of employees and that required control measures. Or as we would define it today management and leadership. The shift from artisan workers to working in a large organisation would have needed process and procedure in place.

After years and years of refining, managerial process and procedure is it a wonder we maybe don’t feel truly engaged at work? Funny thing, work means work! Therefore today we have refined management process and procedure to a fine art. Organisations today have incredible ways to control the masses in their place of work. Today we are so good at creating these ‘working’ environments little or no creativity turns up at the workplace.

Creativity means Engagement

Low levels of employee engagement in the workplace reduce creativity. A big challenge today is understanding what is required to engage people in the workplace. Engagement is all about engaging people. In actual fact it’s about activating them, creating an emotional connection to what it is they do. The stronger the emotional tie the greater the potential engagement, think for a moment about something you have a passion for. How does it make you feel? What enjoyment does it create? What fulfilment does it provide? The vast majority of work today does not inspire or motivate let alone create a passion for the employee.

Interestingly today we are suffering an epidemic of poor performance. People aren’t engaged and organisations don’t know how to engage people. Take zero-hour contracts, minimum wage and a cupboard full of sweet snacks are not going to engage people. The only cure is to actively engage people in what they do. They have to feel an emotional tie to their role, their place of work and those they are working with. Businesses today have to quite literally activate their minds in the workplace.

Slow the Commute

In order to slow down the weekly commute to the weekend, your people need to have an emotional tie to what they do. They, therefore need to be activated. Activation of your employees is about human biology and neuroscience and not policy, process and procedure. Scientific rigour can wait for another time, today I want to share what you can start to do to activate your people. In a word active engagement. Getting the creative juices flowing, feeling as though what you do makes a difference and engages the individual at a deeper level.

Imagine for a moment you are a baker and you make wedding cakes. Each cake you make is unique.  Requires the baker to bring their skills to bear. Once made it is a masterpiece and one of a kind. Throughout the baker was actively engaged. They were connected to the process, had to think deeply to create the final cake.

Now, let’s say you are a part of a bakery production line and the mass production of wedding cakes. You are now responsible for one aspect of production. Each and every day you have the same responsibility, the same process. It’s likely you’ll not be very engaged. It’s clear we can see just how times have changed and why it’s likely to be harder today to actively engage the team within organisations. The challenge is to tap into what makes us tick, create a strong connection and affiliation with what we do. Engage the brain. make an emotional connection.

Today the opportunity to engage our people is massive with such a low level of engagement within the UK workforce. Regardless of what your people do, the level of skill or the part they play in a team they need to feel the emotional connections.

Employee Engagement Activation

To take a step towards actively engaging your people here are some areas to focus on employee engagement:

  1. Encourage your people to be creative. Allow them opportunities to offer their thoughts and ideas, indeed encourage their engagement.
  2. Allow them the opportunity to give themselves a title for their position or department.
  3. Encourage and promote relationship building.
  4. Seek to offer reward and recognition of your people from within.
  5. Find out who or what inspires your people and have them share.

There are many ways to slow the weekly commute to the weekend. The point here is taking the necessary steps isn’t difficult, far from it. Activating your people is a real win-win.

Activation x Engagement = Empowerment x Performance = a 2 day commute to Mondays!

Now there’s a challenging thought.

If you’d like to understand where and how to activate your team then take a look at our engagement workshop and join us for a deep dive into your people and truly engaging them.