Passion, for me, is that intense drive and enthusiasm that propels you towards your larger goals. It could be etching comics while sitting at a café, or climbing mountains across the world –in today’s business environment, characterised by constant change and disruption, companies are increasingly becoming aware of the need to create a workforce that’s inspired, happy and passionate.
Keeping employees motivated at work is not just a policy box that needs to be checked. It is, in fact, a strategic imperative for both employee and employer. A passionate employee is resilient and capable of addressing newer challenges, which translate into individual high performance and sustained growth for organisations.
How can businesses unlock, cultivate and amplify passion among its workers and help them go beyond their immediate job requirement?
Create an enabling work environment
Passion flourishes in an open, transparent and fun work environment. Healthy workspaces, that comprise not just the physical space but also the office environment and the practices and policies followed by an organisation, have a direct impact on employee happiness, which, in turn, drives their willingness to go beyond their job. Organisations need to focus on building an open-door work culturewhere employees can share their thoughts and voice their concerns to the management without hesitation or fear.
Businesses open to experimentation are more likely to encourage employees to take up new challenges and treat them as learning opportunities, without worrying about the consequences of failure.
In today’s hectic and fast-paced life, companies need to find ways to create a balanced and fun work culture. Organisations are coming up with ideas like arranging for yoga and meditation classes, gifting fitness trackers, and planning outdoor brainstorming sessions, to keep their employees engaged and active.
Employ multiple strategies
When it comes to dealing with employees, one size doesn’t fit all. It’s crucial to evaluate every individual’s capability and attitude. There might be employees who are capable but unwilling; along with the ones that are willing but may not have the required capability or skill set. In such a scenario, different strategies need to be designed for helping both sets of employees– inspiration can drive passion in the first set of employees while for the latter mentoring and coaching is a more productive strategy.
Provide employees platforms to pursue interests
Organisations should create diverse platforms and opportunities for employees to recognise their passion and pursue it. For example, at HARMAN, we have a virtual platform called ‘Suggestion Box’ where employees can submit any technical or business idea. After proper evaluation by the leadership, the best ideas are recognised and promoted. Every day, we get numerous ideas from employees across 34 countries.
We also organise Make Music Days across our offices and help our employees unite over their passion for music. For those who look for ways to give back to the society, we have tied-up with various NGOs for volunteering opportunities in India. For instance, our engineers have been teaching the basics of computers to students from under-served societies, who have no access to computer education, for over three years now.
Lead from the front
Employees today are no longer content with working within their assigned job role; they constantly seek purpose in their daily work. A strong and effective leadership can foster these feelings by staying connected with the teams at all levels. Leaders need to communicate the impact of employee contribution on the company’s overall performance so that they feel valued.
There is enough evidence to suggest that the key to a successful and sustainable business lies in creating a passionate and motivated workforce that is not just engaged but also driven. Forming a strong base of employees who are seekers rather than followers, and providing them the right impetus through leadership and work environment will encourage and enable your workforce to go that extra mile.