Research has shown that if people enjoy 75% or more of their work, they are 4 times more likely to be successful at it. Unfortunately, some leaders miss maximizing the performance and retention of their teams by not addressing these common “enjoyment killers.”

  • Emphasizing “fun” above “enjoyment”. Enjoyment can be thought of the degree to which a person is engaged with and absorbed by their work. Think being in a state of flow.* Fun is part of enjoyment, but more short-term.  Examples include company lunches, ping pong tables, and holiday parties.  These activities can encourage connection and lighten things up, but are not a substitute for lasting enjoyment.
  • Mismatch of culture. For example the real (not aspirational) culture of a company is top-down, command and control while the employee has a high value for autonomy and wants opinions valued.
  • Employees of course like positive feedback and dislike negative feedback. However, the third option of leaving someone in the dark has been shown to be the most damaging to engagement. Nice, non-confrontational people can unintentionally be very damaging to the performance of their people by not giving timely feedback.
  • Ignorance of important but unmet factors of key employees. Examples include the degree to which a person wants opportunities to develop, advance, have challenging work, lead others, make decisions, and drive innovation.

Leaders who want to keep their top people working at a high level and keep those people over time will seek to eliminate these enjoyment killers in their organization.  Have you seen these enjoyment killers in your organization?  What do you do to promote enjoyment?

*Milhalyi Cziksentmihalyi, author of several excellent books on the subject defines flow as “…a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”