Work? Why bother?

May 28 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The majority of people in Europe are only moderately interested in their jobs, while a significant minority are simply going through the motions.

Research from professional services firm Towers Perrin reckons that almost two-thirds of us can be termed ‘whatevers’ - moderately interested in our jobs, but not willing to go the extra mile.

One in five of us – the ‘why bothers’ - are completely uninterested in work and say that we are simply going through the motions.

The survey of 15,000 employees across Europe found that only 15 per cent are what is termed ‘why not’ people who are prepared to put extra effort into our jobs.

The issue for employers is that a six out of ten of the ‘whatevers’ were thinking of leaving their current jobs, while eight out of ten of the ‘why bothers’ were also considering moving on.

The causes of this disillusionment are as predictable as they are familiar: lack of interest from management; the inability to influence decision-making; a lack of fairness around pay levels and general poor leadership.

According to Towers Perrin’s Matt Nixon, management has eroded its ability to get the best from people through a lack of leadership and communication and urgently need to focus on the elements in their workplace that matter most to their workforce.

“Base pay appears only to be important in attracting people to their jobs,” he said, “after which employees are looking for high quality management who will show good communication and leadership skills whilst inspiring enthusiasm for work through offering career advancement opportunities.

“Otherwise, there is a danger of staff moving to more inspiring jobs elsewhere, or perhaps even worse, that they remain, but fail to perform as well as they could.”

In the UK, he added, the survey suggested that the lack of good communication and leadership skills was causing particular problems, with staff complaining of growing rifts between themselves and senior management.

And he concluded: "The things companies need to do to drive employee engagement and motivation do not cost huge amounts of extra money - but it is hard to change corporate behaviour"