WORK­OUT Most peo­ple’s minds not to­tally on the job

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence -

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.

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