Has the pandemic killed passion in the workplace?
“Zoomed out and cooped up.” This could be a pandemic-mantra today for many.
Let’s face it: Zoom-fatigue is real. For a lot of Canadian workers missing their freedom, this pandemic has prompted some deep personal introspection, an existential crisis of sorts, where people are asking themselves: “Is this the kind of work that I really want to do in life?”
At BlueSky Personnel Solutions, we are predicting a huge wave of movement at the end of this looming third wave of the pandemic, where people will re-commence their job searches in full force, and change employers – all in search of greener pastures.
Interestingly, in this context, the Financial Times (FT) published an article recently entitled: “Why you should ditch ‘follow your passion’ career advice.” In it, reporter Emma Jacobs interviews US-based author of Work Won’t Love You Back, Sarah Jaffe.
As the titles suggest, the article paints a grim picture for employees, advocating that the age-old saying, “Do what you love and it will never feel like work” is a myth, that labour of love is an outright con, and that believing such principles will only augment stress, anxiety and loneliness among us.
This positioning stirred up some discussion among our team, especially given the fact that as passionate recruiters, we pride ourselves on being needle-in-a-haystack-finders.
Our team is always looking for that perfect fit of a job candidate to a specific role, team and company. Finding people who are passionate about the jobs for which we are recruiting, is of critical importance to us.
Now, if we were to take Ms. Jaffe’s key points to heart, we would essentially be looking fruitlessly for passionate employees.
This begs the question: Has the pandemic really killed passion in the workplace?
Based on our experience, we say: No.
While we respectfully disagree with Ms. Jaffe’s stance perhaps this is a matter of how we each define passion.
In the FT article, Ms. Jaffe argues that today’s work culture glorifies being busy, promotes productivity shaming, and teaches people to put work ahead of life with meagre pay in exchange for self-sacrifice. She says job losses, unpaid internships, and excessive workloads with decreased security are signs that work does not love employees back.
We would argue that these workplace pain points have everything to do with needed improvements on leadership styles and company culture, not necessarily passion.
When we are recruiting for our clients, we first search for candidates who possess the specific skills needed for the job. Then we narrow our search, looking for that perfect fit.
To do this, we look for what lights up a candidate, what fuels their intrinsic motivation, where they are inherently talented. Do their passion points in these areas match up with our clients’ office culture, leadership styles, team dynamics? Do they match the passionate values of our clients’ brands?
Through this process, we usually only have to send our clients one or two candidates for consideration for successful placements – because that’s how precise we are in our recruitment. And we’ve been successfully helping clients build their businesses through recruitment for 20 years now.
We’ve actually noticed that the pandemic has put employees’ passions front and centre. Many candidates are pondering if their work makes them happy, or if they would be better off to go to another company, or even do other work altogether.
We need to pay attention to passion in the workplace because a lot of research shows that passionate employees are naturally more productive employees. Yet according to a recent Deloitte report, only 20% of people say they are passionate at work.
There is an important opportunity today for HR/hiring managers to cultivate more passion-driven cultures at work. Here are four tips to consider:
- Encourage open communications about passion at work: Passion is highly personal and fluid. It evolves with people’s life experiences, life stages, through their work and their workplace environments. Talking about passion openly, or encouraging your teams to take a PassionBased Health Test (it’s available for free) can help employees re-discover what they find most meaningful in their work, and even identify new opportunities and innovations with their current employers.
- Ensure your leaders are fostering a high-trust culture: Research shows that job commitment has a direct correlation with how much employees trust their leaders. It is also the foundation for successful team relationships. Passion cannot thrive where mistrust persists.
- Maintain passion as a top criteria when recruiting: We must remember, this is not about all or nothing. Every person has certain aspects of their job that they don’t like. The key question to ponder is: Does a person’s personal passions and inclinations match with the foundation of a job? (E.g. Finding candidates who love working with people for customer service positions, etc.)
- Focus on employee wellbeing: According to Randy Conley of The Ken Blanchard Companies, employees have 4 basic human needs for engagement: 1) The need for trust as noted above, 2) The need to have hope, 3) The need to feel self-worth, and 4) The need to feel competent. Passion is fueled by these four areas too, and we cannot underestimate how important this kind of leadership is for employees during these current lockdowns.
If you’re looking for passionate Bilingual/French talent for you team, give us a call today: 416-236-3303, or email us at: [email protected] We’re connected to the best candidates across Canada and we can help you find your perfect fit.