As motivational speaker and seminar leader Byron Pulsifer once said, ‘to make any kind of change, one has to have the will and determination to do it’. This is true for every aspect of life. If you want to forge a successful relationship, you have to be dedicated and put the time and effort into it. If you want to get fit, you have to have the fortitude to go on that run and, equally, if you want that masters’ degree, your level of dedication will mean the difference between a pass and a fail. The same applies to a job.
Dedication, however, can be hard to stimulate, especially if the working environment is not conducive. In fact, there are many factors which may impede the level of dedication an employee gives towards any given subject. Even with a supportive team behind them, it takes ‘an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort’ (Jesse Owens) to make any desired goal a reality.
But before we analyse how dedication can be stimulated or restricted within the workplace, we must first question what exactly does it mean to be dedicated?
While an employee may have a strong work ethic, this is not the same as being dedicated. Dedication is the combination of a high work ethic and an infectious passion. Even if you work hard and you work well, dedication is when you are exhausted, your brain hurts, and your feet ache, but you carry on working because you feel emotionally invested in your work. It is this sense of devotion and loyalty that fuels a person’s enthusiasm to work and, although money may be an incentive, motivation to work and dedication differ in that those who are dedicated will often work past their designated working hours, often for no monetary gain. They will only stop when the work is done, regardless of how long it takes and how much personal time is invested.
A dedicated person is more often than not punctual, as they believe that they are investing their time wisely. They show initiative and are flexible when it comes to making changes for the better.
You may be thinking to yourself that such character’s sound more like workaholics than merely dedicated employees. What differs between the two, however, is that dedicated workers genuinely enjoy their work, whereas workaholics tend to:
Work more in order to keep up with their fellow employees
Are micromanaged so feel pressured to work more.
Are at risk of losing their job, so do extra time/work in a bid to save themselves from dismissal.
In contrast to the dedicated employee, a workaholics lifestyle is pretty crippling. Burning the candle at both ends for a job you are uncommitted to will only create exhausted, unhappy, cynical and inefficient staff. It can be both physically and mentally debilitating and will, eventually, end with either a resignation, dismissal or an exceedingly unhappy life.
The benefits of having a dedicated workforce, however, are endless. Not only do dedicated workers get the work done they, largely, get it done to a high level and at a reasonable rate. They also do more than is expected of them, work well with other members of staff, have good communication skills, are good at working both on their own and within a team, can empathise with others and fit into the culture of the organisation well. They not only like to challenge themselves but encourage others around them to challenge themselves. They love what they do and can deal with any pressures with ease.
Not only are these appealing qualities to any employer but the dedicated employee will also gain great satisfaction in their work and are more likely to progress at a reasonable rate.
However, even if you do create a workforce that is completely dedicated to their work and the company’s ethos, there are other impacts that may stifle their development. One common issue is that while many may be dedicated to their work and the companies’ ethos, they may struggle within the working environment or not fit into the culture. And, as we know from this previous article on belonging, a good working environment can mean the difference between a successful or unsuccessful business.
Some believe that problems surrounding the working environment stem from generational issues- and that the younger generations work ethic and attitude towards dedication differs to that of the older generation, which can cause conflict.
Some are firm (maybe even stubborn) in their beliefs; in an article presented by Entrepreneur, older workers are described as more dedicated, punctual, honest, detail-orientated, better listeners, take more pride in their work, are more organised, confident, mature and communicative than younger employees. They even go as far as to state that ‘Younger workers want to put in their time at work and leave, while older employees are more willing to stay later to get the job done because of their sense of pride in the final product’. Generalisations are never a good thing, especially in the data world.
But what we must question, however, is not ‘which generation works best’, but how can differing generations, with their varying viewpoints, work cohesively within a given organisation. You see, for the first time, in a long time, the office is abundant with a range of employees, including:
‘Gen Z’, (1995+)
‘Generation X’ (1965-1976)
‘Baby Boomers’ (1946-1964)
And on occasion the ‘Silents’ (born before 1945)
All have very different working ethics, styles and techniques. Much has been researched on how differing generations interact with one another and the effects this has. For some pretty thorough research see William Strauss and Neil Howe’s 1991 book entitled Generations, which looks at the development, differences and similarities of generations from 1584 in America. For newer, and lighter, research just read Mark Cowan’s article ‘Talking About My Generation’, or Happen’s relatively new book ‘Generation Z’.
What matters, regardless of who is employed and what their age is, is that a good working environment is key to creating a dedicated workforce. This is where we can help. Here at Pansensic, we use qualitative data analysis to examine aspects such as autonomy, job security, waste and resource, innovation, communication, targets and metrics, bullying and discrimination, staff engagement and listening, environment and future, personal development and more. But it doesn’t stop there! We can identify whether you have a dedicated workforce, and most importantly, we can identify the reasons why if not.
We work with organisations from all over the world in a wide range of sectors. What they have in common is the understanding that the experiences of their customers, staff and stakeholders can provide game-changing insights. Rather than just summarising data, we provide a real depth of insight that is more granular, more accurate and more actionable.