Contrary to what one might think at first, the answer is a resounding NO! The aspiration that the result of our efforts should have a sense of purpose and should be useful for others comes first. It is essential to be motivated with what we do. Every single day we invest many hours performing different tasks, so if we should be “hooked” on our work, be able to find a transcendental meaning in it, it would make a great difference in how we cope with the various aspects of it.
Of course, we hope to be on a payroll or to receive a financial reward, but we also want to see that what we have done is useful. If you pay a certain amount of money to an employee to perform a task (for example, to make a cake) and you shatter it before his/her eyes without reaching its purpose, their level of commitment to what he/she is doing will drop fast.
Numerous studies aim to discover what causes some employees to be more connected with their work. Establishing a correlation between the four key factors: engagement, job performance, proactive behavior, and job crafting seems to be an important factor. In other words, engaged employees do not only make full use of available job resources, they also create their own resources working more- and better.
The Flow theory states that when we are absorbed in a work that satisfies us, time and space are diluted devoting high levels of concentration and energy to carry out whatever we are doing in the best possible way. This is when stimulating mechanisms lead us to be innovative, but also to think that we are doing something worthwhile which makes us proud of ourselves. This creates a state of positive feedback (intrinsic factor) that combined with a leadership style that empowers and recognizes the person (extrinsic factor), forms a virtuous circle and a win-win situation.
Of course, engagement is not a constant. People suffer from fluctuations in productivity levels and in pleasure throughout the day depending on intrinsic and extrinsic factors. A sleepless night, worrying about a family member’s health, or simply thinking too much about the tasks that await us at the office, can cause states of exhaustion that lead to a decreased levels of activation. Negative factors at the office may include: an effort that is not recognized, low levels of autonomy or a lack in resources (time, people, and material) to carry out everyday tasks or innovative projects – and they may all easily diminish engagement.
Engaged collaborators are much more than people ready to do an extra effort when required: they are professionals who think, feel, and act to maintain commitment on their own initiative. For this to happen, it is necessary that companies facilitate a healthy environment that stimulate their autonomy with challenging tasks, real innovation, and leaders who empower them.
Consider all of this when starting a business. You have to decide where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and what type of people do you want on your team.