WORKOUT Most people’s minds not totally on the job
One in 12 Australians is actually mentally and emotionally engaged with work when at work— with women playing closer to their strengths at work than men.
International survey company IPSOS and authority in employee engagement and productivity Marcus Buckingham have released some thought-provoking statistics about how little Australians play to their strengths at work. The results were benchmarked against other English speaking countries, including the UK and USA.
The research calls for a new movement in workforce engagement— a strengths revolution, says Buckingham. He says it’s time to challenge social theory in the workplace, focus less on weaknesses and more on strengths development.
‘‘ A strengths revolution is not about making people happier at work with free gym memberships, more money and in-house yoga classes . . . that was the theory in the 90s. It is now the era to cultivate people’s strongest skills and engage them in their favourite tasks. This is the missing link to the efficiency, competency, and success for which many companies constantly strive.’’
IPSOS found in the Australian workforce:
8 per cent play to their strengths most of the time (working to their maximum potential), and 12 per cent of these are women and 3 per cent are men,
14 per cent feel positive about going to work every day,
20 per cent whine at work every day. Gen Xers whine more than Gen Ys,
41 per cent feel an emotional high from work on a weekly basis, with Gen Ys feeling it more frequently than Gen Xers,
35 per cent get so involved in what they are doing at work that they lose track of time,
Only 28 per cent of respondents left their previous job for better pay,
53 per cent believe they are the best judge of their own strengths,
53 per cent believe they have the freedom to carve out a job position that plays to their strengths,
63 per cent believe their ideal job is either what they are doing, or a subset of what they are doing.
Buckingham says employees spend too much time trying to improve their weaknesses because that’s what society expects. ‘‘ In general, society is fascinated by weaknesses and cultivating a fear culture in the hope that it will improve the individual. In fact, most performance reviews focus on how a person can improve their weaknesses not their strengths. Society takes strengths for granted,’’ he says.