Is This Finally Our Chance to Find Jobs We Love?

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3 girls around a table with laptops laughing and excited about their careers

Roughly 70% of the US workforce is disengaged or actively disengaged at work (Gallup). We are job-hopping as a band-aid solution and it is a reinforcing, vicious cycle, all because we don’t have a way to identify a suitable, exciting career path. I often asked myself, “Is this alarmingly high disengagement rate a sign that we’re all in the wrong jobs?” Now is our chance to solve for work disengagement at scale.

Even though unemployment rates have been rampant throughout the pandemic, inherent in that issue is a huge opportunity. I explained here why even though companies measure and strive to improve “employee engagement,” this entire metric stems from proper recruiting and internal mobility to ensure that professionals are in roles that actually motivate them. The same way that job hopping is a band-aid for individuals, trying to improve “culture” in order to improve employee engagement rates is a band-aid for companies.

In my experience, job engagement and fulfillment truly stems from aligning what a person cares about and their ideal workstyle with a fitting role. HBR found that 67% of respondents rated “individual staff goals aligned with corporate goals” as a top driver of employee engagement. Unfortunately, many professionals don’t know which role will align well with them, and many companies don’t value a candidate’s intrinsic motivations in the hiring process. It doesn’t help that our tools for recruiting and finding candidate or job matches aren’t great, but no matter how long it takes a company to source candidates, it’s still in their control how they assess those candidates and how much they value a candidate’s motivation.

I believe that employee engagement can be increased drastically by:

  1. Individuals finding greater career clarity before job searching
  2. Companies doing a better job of assessing candidates’ true, authentic sources of motivation
  3. Entrepreneurs or HR software companies creating innovative tools that will help both parties find each other more easily and based on more honest matches

The economic impact of unemployment is important, but what about the economic impact of disengaged employees? What would it look like if we turned the disengagement statistics around? What if we all found the right next job? Is this our chance to better fit the puzzle pieces (find stronger matches between candidates and job openings)?

Key suggestions and takeaways:

For companies:

  • Consider how employee engagement is tied to your recruiting process
  • Consider what your company believes as it relates to how intrinsic motivation is tied to performance, productivity, innovation, and bottom line
  • Brainstorm areas for innovation in your hiring and internal mobility processes 

For individuals:

  • If you feel there is any room for improvement in your sense of clarity on your career direction, consider what sources of support can help you increase that clarity
  • Remember that it is feasible and encouraged to gain confidence in your intended career path and which one will align best with your interests, style, and skills
  • Avoid job searching until you take a step back and assess your ideal path, ensuring that you will be engaged and fulfilled by your next role
  • Interested in learning what the career exploration process entails? Check out iamwoken.com.

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Rachel’s early professional experience was at Goldman Sachs in Operations and at Bridgewater Associates in HR. From there, she was trained as a coach at NYU and became a certified coach through the International Coach Federation. For the past 3.5 years, Rachel has been building her company, WOKEN, which is an online career exploration platform to coach professionals through the process of figuring out their ideal job and career path. Throughout her career, she has helped hundreds of professionals with career exploration, job search, and career success.