The idea was novel. It had promise. It was exciting. Yet part of me still baulked. “People won’t take me seriously.” “I will be ridiculed.” “It is too alien: no businessman would be interested.” Those were just some of the doubts that paralyzed me.
It is one thing to talk about needing to win the hearts and minds of your employees. But to talk about love in the workplace seemed to be pushing the boat out too far. I feared it was too open to misinterpretation. Thus, despite the realisation that love at work is essentially what I am promoting, I just couldn’t bring myself to say so. Yet, isn’t it also the core – the very essence – of employee engagement?
Seeing it in that light makes love at work less of an abstract concept. Nor is it a new one. More than a hundred years ago Kahlil Gibran said, “Work is love made visible.”
Thinking of an engaged employee as someone who loves their work helps you clarify and crystallise what you need to do to create more universal employee engagement. You can refocus your thinking and take more positive steps to create a more humane workplace that engenders employee engagement and makes it endemic.
When I saw that picture my own doubts and misgivings completely disappeared. It illustrates why love at work offers you so much. It doesn’t just facilitate the strategic alignment that inevitably flows from common purpose and shared values that lead to improved employee engagement. It becomes a way of life that also encompasses:
- Happiness at work: a subject that might also appear to be idealistic and nebulous. Yet it has been popularised by people like Alexander Kjerulf, who has built a successful international consultancy around the subject. He will be holding his 8th international conference later this year; and
- Freedom at work ™: another apparently idealistic topic that in practice actively fosters autonomy at work. It has been particularly well promoted by Traci Fenton who has also run successful international conferences over the years and will be holding a two day Freedom at Work ™ Masterclass in London on 3-4 April, 2017.
Love at work goes further because it is centred on my ‘Every Individual Matters’ model, which:
- Recognises people – your employees – as assets, and values them as such; thus literally acknowledging value that until now has never been fully recognised or, more importantly, accounted for.
- Offers employee ownership that does not involve equity and that costs employers and employees nothing. This effectively ensures that ‘your business becomes their business,’ creating the common purpose and collaboration that engenders strategic alignment.
So, even though it took me some time to recognise that “love at work” is not something to be circumspect about, I hope you are smarter and can also see what I have come to see: that it is not ephemeral or cause for titillation but actually something you need to aspire to. For you yourself, and all your people. Can you really afford not to embrace it?