During my holidays, I was lying on the sofa reading a good book, just getting up to make a cup of coffee, and thinking “This is the life”. Thankfully I have a bit of insight, and I know that I can only withstand ‘doing nothing’ in very small doses!
Unchallenging and stress-free jobs might seem ideal, especially when you are struggling to keep up with the demands of your present job. Perhaps we make the mistake of thinking that unchallenging equals stress-free or satisfaction. However simple and efficient jobs, possibly somewhat repetitive, are related to reduced well-being.
Research demonstrates that the relationship between job demand and stress is not a simple one. Stress does go up when job demand goes up, true. However stress goes down when job control or discretion goes up.
So what does this mean? Well, within reason, giving employees more autonomy in what they do will lead to reduced stress. This is because humans enjoy being able to do things their own way, and it is satisfying to know that you are trusted enough to work in the way you like best – as long as you get the job done. I guess this is an example of good people-management, and is the opposite of micro-management.
If you have recruited the right people (and you have invested enough time and effort in recruitment, so hopefully you do have the right people), then trusting them to know how to implement their knowledge, skills, and experience (which is why you recruited them in the first place) in your organisation should be the next logical step.
When people feel their job is challenging them in a positive way they thrive. They feel that they are learning through their work, and therefore becoming better at what they do. This is key to engaging employees, as it establishes a positive relationship between them and work. It is comparable to a child looking forward to reading their library book, as opposed to the child who reads the book only so their parents will stop nagging.
A manager who is on your back most of the time, even to check on irrelevant details, is more of a hindrance. S/he annoys employees, and leads to demotivation and disengagement.
So the question is: Are you inspiring managers in your organisation to be buffers or stressors to the people they manage? And are you supporting your staff to be engaged, or are you pushing them away?
If you would like to know about developing and supporting employee engagement, give us a call on 0161 8187 131, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.