In 2017 alone, companies spent over $1 billion on employee engagement. But it’s just not enough to deliver results, as a vital ingredient is missing.

John Hagel, Co-chairman of Deloitte’s Center for Edge, says employees today lack the disposition to embrace unexpected challenges and opportunities. Even the 35% who can, are overwhelmed, and thus, disengaged. To change this, we need to learn a new way of approaching our jobs, through a sense of passion. And here is what passion looks like:

  • The tendency to seek out difficult challenges
  • The tendency to connect with others to find better solutions
  • The desire to make a significant impact

We all have passion for our work. Yes. But having surveyed 3059 workers, Hagel and his colleagues explain why that passion feels strained today:

  1. Rapid technological ramp-up is putting immense pressure on firms to stay updated. Add to this the unpredictability of change. The Global Human Capital Trends survey shows that 88% of respondents expect their companies to be “redesigned for the digital age.” Yet only 11% feel “ready” for this change. The result: workers are facing unknown challenges, without the skills to manage it.
  2. Leaders are pushing for short-term results, as a reaction to pressure for growth and performance. They want employees to ‘fail fast’, ‘fail cheap’ and not really mess it up too much. There is emphasis on schedules, reporting, and compliance. This reinforces risk-aversion, and causes frustration.
  3. A culture for experimentation is yet to be encouraged. Employees are afraid of losing their jobs to automation, undefined new roles, or the gig economy. So, they stay safe, using tried and tested approaches. They don’t feel invested in exploring new alternatives for solving difficult challenges, because they don’t believe they have the autonomy to do so.

Deloitte’s research has highlighted a powerful growth opportunity – nurturing passion in employees. It’s possible! And the possibilities immense. Come back for our next post, to learn how.

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