“What do you do?” This is one of the most common questions people ask when they meet someone new.
What if the question became: “do you love what you do?”
Last December, a record-breaking 4.3 million people answered this question by voluntarily quitting their jobs (source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics). This was after another 4.5 million left their jobs in November. Some left to pursue their passions, taking the opportunity of a favorable job market to move into a new industry, or to seek out a work culture more aligned with their values. Others left because of pure burnout or exhaustion.
Whether you’re staying in your role, managing through employee attrition, or starting a new career path, the rules of the game have changed when it comes to happiness at work.
As the Founder and CEO of Howbridge, a seed-to-scale growth and management consulting firm, I’ve led the business through all types of economies and world events in the last 23 years. My team and I have advised our clients through their own peaks and valleys, and helped them adapt their formulas for success to the changing times. We’re passionate about what we do, but we also know that it’s not always easy to stay passionate in the face of challenges. Here are three key insights we’ve learned from experience:
1) Embed passion into your work culture: Embedding passion into your work culture is like the old adage of “dress for the job you want.” You’re dressing your company culture for the operations you want. Early in my firm’s growth, I created a six-part company Ethos that drives what we do at Howbridge. #1 on the list: Passion & Commitment. I love getting up each day to help my clients tackle challenges. Cementing passion into my work ethic and company mission provides a productive company culture for my team. Our collective passion and commitment then naturally extends to our clients. This Ethos is an important driver of our company’s success.
2) Keep some separation between work passion and personal passion: My college-age kids are part of a generation that was told to turn their passions into their careers. If you love to volunteer, work for a non-profit. If you love to ride a bike, open a bike shop, and so on. Inter-mixing personal passions with work can actually have a boomerang effect. By opening a bike shop, a bike enthusiast may realize they’re losing joy in riding because biking has become all about operations, staffing, business insurance, receipts. Keeping some hobbies and personal passions separate from your work life can help you recharge when you need to, and help you bring that much more energy back to your workday.
3) Make sure passion connects with purpose: In the last few years, a slew of studies confirmed the importance of company purpose. In a Porter Novelli study, two-thirds of people considered a company’s purpose when making a purchase decision, and 78% of people were more likely to want to work for a company with a strong purpose. Passion alone is not enough to acquire and retain customers, or engage and retain talent. What’s more, a McKinsey study found that the two-thirds of people said the pandemic led them to reflect on their own personal purpose.
A silver lining in the challenges of the last two years – we’ve had a collective chance to re-assess what we value and how we want to work. We’re continuing to live by our Howbridge company Ethos, and we’re also taking a fresh look at the new landscape ahead. We’re seeing exciting changes come to fruition in our client’s businesses, as they continue to adapt and scale. 2023 is a blank slate in many ways, and we’re passionate about the opportunities that presents.
Howbridge is a growth advisory firm that helps companies take the next step to market leadership