What Makes People Resent Work, How Can We Make it Engaging?

Guest post by Kevan Hall, CEO of Global Integration 

Cynicism about work has become the new normal. Headlines recycle concerns about “quiet quitting,” burnout, stress and a general malaise about work.

It’s true that work can be stressful and intrude on other things we would rather be doing, but it can also be a source of immense satisfaction and purpose. Given this paradox how can we be more engaged, maybe even happy, at work.

Work, How Can We Make it Engaging?

The answer lies in individuals taking personal ownership for their own engagement.

We dedicate roughly 40% of our waking lives, across 40 years, to our careers. Neglecting happiness at work cripples our chances of achieving an overall happy life. Yet, the 2023 Gallup Global Workforce report paints a stark picture: only 11% of Irish workers are engaged, leaving the majority disengaged or actively unhappy.

Happiness at work goes beyond feeling positive emotions. It’s about finding fulfilment, purpose, and meaning in what we do. Kevan Hall’s book “Find Your Purpose” offers a structured approach to crafting a more satisfying work life.

Remember – how you spend your time defines the quality of your life, and work is a significant part of that.

Here are two top tips for achieving engagement in your own work and life.

Uncover your meaning. Does your work align with your purpose, values, and strengths? Does it even tap into your passions? Hall’s book provides practical exercises to define these four pillars of meaningful work.

Finding one perfect job fulfilling all these aspects is rare. The key lies in building a portfolio of life activities, including work, that allows each element to flourish.

Embrace job crafting. This enables individuals to reshape their jobs for greater engagement and fulfilment. It involves re-engineering three core aspects of work:

Tasks: Prioritize enjoyable tasks, minimize undesirable ones, and seek out new challenges and skill-building opportunities.
Relationships: Cultivate positive interactions with colleagues to inject pleasure and meaning into your work.
Attitude: Reframe your perspective to find value and meaning in your tasks, embracing continuous learning and growth.

For major changes individuals may need the support of their organisations to do this but all of us can nudge our work in a more positive direction in these three areas, even without the permission of others.

Engagement is also an imperative for organisations, the research is clear: happy workers are more productive, creative, and loyal. They’re also less prone to stress, burnout, and mental health issues. We’ve been working with progressive organisations to help their people find purpose and fulfilment at work by uncovering their own values and connecting them to those of their organisation, and then crafting their jobs to create fulfilment. It’s a very practical process that pays off for everyone involved.

Engagement at work is not a luxury, it’s a necessity for both individuals and organizations and it is an achievable goal..

If you’re an individual, by taking ownership of our work experience, prioritizing meaning, and actively crafting fulfilling roles, we can reclaim happiness, not just endure the grind.

If you are a leader looking to improve the engagement of your people then giving them the skills to engage themselves is a crucial part of making this work. Engagement isn’t something you can do for someone else but you can create an environment where they can engage themselves.

Let’s rewrite the narrative in the interests of both individuals and organisations, – work can be, and should be, a source of deep satisfaction and purpose.

Kevan Hall is CEO of Global Integration and author of Find Your Purpose: Redesign your life and career. Global Integration offer programs to help people understand their purpose and meaning at work, own their own engagement, and help them connect their organization’s purpose and values.

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