By Tanmayee Dass April 2003 Almost 80 per cent of the world’s population does not enjoy work. It’s time for you to join the 20 per cent who do How to Keep Your Best PeopleIdentify Them We often take good performance for granted. Also, a large number of organizations pile work on their best performers without recognizing their worth, while those who are good at either self-promotion or flattery get the best deals. The first step for the success of any organization is to identify its best workers in terms of reliability, creativity, performance and speed. Focus on the end product and see the contribution of each employee towards achieving the target. Pamper Them Once you have identified your star performers, the next challenge is to retain them. In this, increments play the strongest role. Don’t spread your increments evenly across the board. If an average worker gets the same percentage of increment as a top performer, it will not only lead to de-motivation in your best employees, but will also send the message across that one doesn’t really needs to do one’s best to deserve increments. Accept Opposition You may not always be in the right. Allow your top performers the right of constructive criticism. Involve them in the company’s decisions. If you want them to stay, you have to make them feel wanted and part of the group. Conduct Exit Interviews Many organizations lose their best workers without knowing why. Apart from soul-searching on the part of the management, it is good to have a non-confrontational exit interview to find out what is lacking in your organization. Even when the reasons are simple, such as getting a much higher pay-packet elsewhere, it is beneficial to ask your employees what they thought of the company’s management policies and how it can be improved. At this time, most employees are likely to be more honest. To each one reading these words-let me ask a question. Did you feel inspired when you woke up in the morning? Inspired by the tasks ahead of you? Did you hum a song or tell yourself: ‘It`s going to be a wonderful day!’ It may not be far-fetched to say that only 10 per cent of the world`s working population is happy doing what it does. Possibly, 80 per cent of us believe that we are engaged in a `daily rut`-we do not do, what we do, for the Love of it. Eighty percent? Think long and hard about this statistic. A CNN job satisfaction survey done across three time periods found that 61 per cent of the workers were only `somewhat satisfied` in the year 1989. This was 51 per cent in 1987 and 49 per cent in 1999. The world`s population numbers at about 6,280,103,484 (US Census Bureau). Presuming that half of it works for a living and 80 per cent of them are dissatisfied, slogging eight hours and five days a week-we have 1,00,481,655,744 hours of dissatisfaction at the workplace every year. Just where did we go wrong? Why can`t we tap our incredible potential, Love our work, our Life and our colleagues? How can we find the motivation we so desperately need? Do individuals go wrong or organizations? Let us begin at the beginning. Work Ethics Across HistoryIn the beginning… Man`s first move to work-to hunt or gather food-was need based. Everything stemmed from the need for survival. With evolution, faculties developed. In a cohesive society, tasks became increasingly specialized. Caste and guild systems emerged. Work was not a matter of choice but a factor you were born into. A farmer`s son would be a farmer, a cleric`s son a cleric, and a blacksmith`s son a blacksmith. There were aberrations, but by and large, until the late Victorian period, this was the Work ethos. Women were relegated to the nursery and the kitchen. Thereafter… The way to the New World was paved with industrial Evolution in the 18th century. Dignity of labour was a new and widely acclaimed phrase, but the emotion of labour was yet to be refined. Capitalism and new respect for work, Money and individual freedom were beginning to take shape. A century later, Communism emerged as a new school of thought with Karl Marx. To Work for the state was the highest goal prescribed. Then came the wars, the world went topsy-turvy, colonialism was disappearing, and it was imperative that the existing fabric of life-and work-be questioned. And now… The preoccupation with individual mind, desires and proclivities, has been more evident in the last 50 years. The New Age has dawned and brought with it a new wave of emotions. It is no longer enough to Work for money, power or social welfare. It is accepted that the best form of Work is where an individual can harness creativity, foster emotional growth and achieve spiritual evolution. ‘During the 70s, 80s and early 90s, upper mobility and consumerism were the main values. However, this consumerism eventually became depleting, people began looking inward for meaning. Who am I? What do I have to contribute?“ points out Leslie Bendaly, author of Organization 2000. Indeed, if the extent of literature available on the subject is anything to go by-besides the fact that six out of 10 bestsellers fall in the `work` category-oh boy! Aren`t we obsessed with achieving the best Work culture! And yet-80 per cent of us aren`t even half way there. Work as Craftsmanship To get to the essence, we must first learn what the term `work` means-or better, what it can mean, and what we would like it to mean. The Chambers Twentieth Century dictionary defines Work as: ‘Effort directed to an end; employment; the result of work; that on which one works; anything made or done,’ and so on. The thinking, feeling individual has come a long way from the point where `work` signified pretty much what the Chambers dictionary would like us to believe. ‘The traditional attitude of Work as drudgery had its roots in manual labour. Going to Work meant going to someplace where one worked hard, came home tired but with enough Money to provide for a family. For the most part, the labourer did not labour for the Love of it,’ says Bendaly. That is, however, no longer the case. ‘More people are now looking for more than a pay cheque when they come to work. They are no longer willing to check at the door their values, ideas, opinions and sundry talents that may not apply to their job. They know they have more to offer and have a greater need than ever to make a contribution of which they are proud,’ adds Bendaly. More Than a Pay Cheque And if the pay cheque isn`t a good reason and the questions come tumbling after, what do you do? You believe you are a craftsman and watch the world change around you. For a craftsman: ‘There is no ulterior motive in Work other than the product being made and the process of its creation. The details of daily Work are meaningful because they are not detached in the worker`s mind from the product of work. The worker is free to control his own working action. The craftsman is thus able to learn from his work; and to use and develop his capabilities and skill in its prosecution. There is no split between Work and play or Work and culture. The craftsman`s way of livelihood determines and infuses his entire mode of living.’ C.W. Mills` description of a craftsman would be apt for anyone who loves or wants to Love his work. This, of course, does not exclude the pay cheque altogether. But it does make an effort to look at Work beyond its purely lucrative worth. ‘You have within you more talent than has ever been exploited, more strength than has ever been tested’ Bored to Death With craftsmanship and labour of Love comes the opposite. When Work refuses to be limited to drudgery, it also allows the serpent of boredom to raise its head and wonder if what you are doing is really worth it. So, what do you do if you are bored to death? What if you have allowed drudgery in your kingdom? ‘We have to face the fact that most men and women out there in the world of Work are more stale than they know, more bored than they would care to admit,’ John Gardner, an American leader, activist, author and reformer, holds out this scary truth. But even he is ‘convinced that most people enjoy learning and growing, at any time in their life. If we are aware of going to seed, we can take countervailing measures’. And guess what? ‘There is something I know about you that you may not even know about yourself,’ says Gardner. ‘You have within you more resources of energy than have ever been tapped, more talent than has ever been exploited, more strength than has ever been tested, and more to give than you have ever given.’ Words of wisdom! And if you have read the book Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Gardner`s words would have a familiar ring. ‘Most of us are uncomfortable thinking of ourselves as artists… But each of us is an artist… With every choice, every day, you are creating a unique Work of art. Something that only you can do… The reason you were born was to leave your own indelible mark on the world. Respect your creative urges… step out in faith… you will discover that your Life is all it was meant to be-a joyous sonnet of thanksgiving,’ she maintains. The Way of The Fish A similar theory is held out wonderfully in the best-selling book Fish! by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen. The authors rubbish the notion that settling for anything less than what we Love demeans us, and describe how to transform the most mundane chore into an adrenaline-pumping rush. ‘If our quest for ideal Work focuses on the future, we will miss the amazingly wonderful Life that is available today, in this moment,’ they say. The way to ‘finding the deep source of energy, Creativity and passion that exists inside each of us’ is ‘by
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