Beyond the Grind: Helping Your People Love Their Jobs

150331 Beyond The Grind - Cupid shooting office workers with arrowsWe’ve all heard about the fun perks that progressive employers like Google and Yahoo! offered their employees until recently—great social activities, play areas, telecommuting options, free bikes to ride around campus, and the opportunity to spend a fair portion of their work time on projects of their own choosing. This has begun to change as more traditional-minded CEOs come on board, to the apparent chagrin of many.

There are other ways to make people look forward to coming to work, without risking that complacency can take hold. Loving a job in a productive way has a lot to do with ownership. Engaged workers own their jobs. They’re willing to give their discretionary time to their work. This can only happen when people are proud of where they work, whom they work for, and what they do.

Transparency plays a large part here. If your teammates can clearly see the core values, mission, vision, and goals of both team and organization, they’ll better understand and identify with both. As long as the organization and team do things they can be proud of, their interest and enjoyment will increase. When you explain to your team members why what they do matters and how it pushes the organization and team forward, they’ll be more likely to come to work with smiles on their faces.

Good leadership reaps huge harvests down the line. The term “Leading by example” has nearly become a cliché because we use it so often, but it matters now more than ever. If you burn the midnight oil when necessary, your team will be more likely to do the same. Don’t overwork yourself or your people, but be willing to put noses to the grindstone during crunch times.

Proper compensation and evenhanded motivation, including highly competitive benefits, will also help people love their jobs—and that will make them more productive than ever, making them prouder of their team and themselves, leading to higher productivity. The upward spiral can’t continue forever, but you might be surprised at how high it can go, and how much it will help the average person go to work with a spring in their step and leave almost reluctantly. Add in a non-punitive environment where they’re not discouraged or punished for actually using their brains, and where they’re challenged by useful training and a chance to learn on a regular basis, and you’re on the road to success.

Making people truly love their work isn’t about having weekend retreats where you do trust exercises, or supporting a carnival atmosphere. It’s about making people proud of who they work for and what they do, so they can engage fully and own their jobs—not just show up for free bagels on Tuesdays, counting down the time until the next payday, holiday, or vacation.

© 2015 Laura Stack. Laura Stack, a.k.a. The Productivity Pro®, helps professionals achieve Maximum Results in Minimum Time®. For over 20 years, her keynote speeches and workshops have helped leaders boost personal and team productivity, increase results, and save time at work. Laura is the author six books, most recently Execution IS the Strategy. Widely regarded as one of the leading experts in the field of performance and workplace issues, Laura has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and USA Today. Connect via her website, Facebook, or Twitter.