Earlier this month, Roar Training asked nearly 400 people to reflect on their biggest workplace struggles of 2019. What came out of this exercise was the realisation that huge numbers of people are genuinely unhappy at work, for reasons that are easily managed.
- Scenarios that require collaboration and navigating interpersonal relationships are some of our biggest struggles
- Over half (54%) struggle with feeling bored, unfulfilled or demotivated
- For some work is somewhere they “dread going to”, with “toxic bosses”, “sexist cultures” and “political sociopaths”
Relationships with bosses also scored highly, though relationships with co-workers less so. Considerations around productivity, such as managing workload and handling emails, are less challenging.
What do employees want?
Roar Training also asked people ‘If you felt completely professionally fulfilled, what would be different?’ to gauge the changes that participants wanted to see within their professional lives.
Professional autonomy and the ability manage one’s own workload was a common theme, with respondents stating:
“I’d have total autonomy over how I worked my day/hours.”, “I’d like more autonomy and opportunity to manage my own work.” and “A manager that trusted my decisions and my ability to do the right thing, without always needing to check on me. I know what I am doing, I would like to be able to just get on.”
“I would be happier if I was able to use my initiative more and work independently.”
The majority of what would make respondents feel professionally fulfilled were emotional, rather than financial. (Only 8% of respondents mentioned money or salary specifically) and feeling less stressed and worried was a huge part of that.
“I’d be in a better place mentally and emotionally and it would help me in all other aspects of my life. I’d truly be working to live, not living to work which is how it feels at the moment.”
“I wouldn’t be dreading coming into work. I wouldn’t be stressed the second I open my emails. “
“I wouldn’t feel so stressed and I’d be able to focus on the parts of my job that add real value”
Focus and clarity
For many participants, a desire for professional clairty and focus was a recurring theme. Interestingly there was a correlation between this sentiment and wanting to feel valued and supported, suggesting a lack of direction or objectives, making employees feel lost and consequently uncertain of whether they were doing the right thing.
“Sit down and create more plans, structure is key!”
Clarity on what I do and my role within the business, especially how it can develop.
“A clearer understanding of what my job is and what exactly is expected of me”
“Have the time to focus on projects that will really move the needle and make a difference without distractions.”
“I’d feel motivated and have clarity in what I actually do.”
The ability to feel as though you are being heard, believed and listened to is significant in developing professional fulfillment. Interestingly, this notion featured heavily in our research on creating gender parity in the workplace. Without feeling heard, people can feel ignored, undervalued and underappreciated.
“Bosses need to believe me”
“Understanding of how to be heard when you know you’ve got a company changing idea, a good one”
“I would be able to bring forward issues and solutions”
“Have the confidence to suggest changes or discuss them without fear of being fobbed off or ignored.”
Unsurprisingly, a desire to work remotely or flexibly features regularly in professional fulfillment.
“Flexible working would be key. I work full time and I have a small child. I wish my employer would recognise that sometimes doing the standard 9-5 isn’t possible, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t still achieve as much working around that.”
“I recently took on a remote role that offers flexible working in a department I love.
Previous to this I worked in an office in a role I wasn’t at all passionate about.
I can already feel the difference in both my professional and working life.”
“Freedom with working hours (not feeling like I have to stay until 5, even though I’ve tied my tasks up by 4.30 for example).”
What are your thoughts and main workplace challenges? Perhaps these are familiar, maybe yours are different.