Triangle Talk: Passionate employees, do they really exist?

Triangle Talk: Passionate employees, do they really exist?

Passionate employees: a myth created by employers who want hard workers for little money? Or do they really exist? Is it fair for an employer to make passion a requirement in a job posting when it can take years to figure out what that means in the first place? What's wrong with just doing your job well? Nothing more, nothing less. What is "quiet quitting" really: a lack of passion or an employer who can’t identify the needs of their team? 

A passionate conversation about ambitions, expectations, goals and meaning in your work and business with Yasmien Naciri, entrepreneur and Managing Director of Innovatiecentrum Werk and Julie Geller, Learning and Development Manager at Hays. Read the key takeaways and most noteworthy quotes from this candid conversation between two passionate ladies in the corporate world in this article or listen to the full podcast episode (in Dutch/English).

"The rise in entrepreneurship and freelancing is a symptom of passionate workers."

According to Yasmien, passionate employees do exist. She begins this episode by explaining that it’s "passionate employees who start working on their own because they don't always have the right environment within their workplace to express their passion." She adds that employers "need to create the right context for this to unfold and give people the space to develop their passion at work." Her advice is to effectively employ passionate people for the benefit of the company. 
Julie adds that she also believes passionate employees exist and explains that "it's ok to hire people who are passionate about something else, as long as they're passionate." She feels like it's the job of the employer to identity those passions, whether it's one of their hobbies or something not related to work. Employers need to create an environment where employees can put the same energy they have for their passion into their job.

“A passion will not continuously make you feel like you're not working”

Julie partly agrees with this infamous quote “Choose a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life” and explains that “if you feel like you work for your own growth and what you believe in, it's still work, but it's also for yourself. The most difficult parts of work will be less heavy, when you work with passion and a purpose, compared to when you only work to buy groceries and pay bills. It needs to be something that animates you from within.” Yasmien adds that "The road to finding and developing your passion is filled with hard work. One does not exclude the other. It's not something linear."

Julie also insists on the importance of the bigger picture. People need to see and understand the bigger picture. They need to have a reason to get up every morning and be motivated to put in the work. "We need to give people the time and space to understand why they get up in the morning and that way they will feel like they never have to work a day in their life."

"It's okay to not know what you want to do for a while and just live day by day"

Patience and time are key factors at work but also during your search for your passion. Yasmien says you should not give yourself a deadline to find your passion: "You have to give yourself time and space to find it, no matter how long it takes." So don’t put an end date on it because your passion will continuously change throughout your life. She adds that it’s "something fluid. Passion is highly dependent on how you're standing in life at a particular moment." Julie ties in with how she is in life now, versus ten years ago: “I've found what animates me long after I thought I knew what the ideal lifestyle was for me, and I couldn't be any happier! That's why I encourage people to be sure that what they're doing, they're doing it for themselves. If what you're doing feels right and aligns with who you are, that’s the moment you’ve found your passion.”

There's a big difference between passion and (social) expectations. Yasmien clarifies that it's important to take a step back from the ultimate example of success, everything you know, social pressures, habits and traditions. "During your search for your passion, look deep within yourself, away from everything you know. This way you will discover what you really want to do. This doesn’t necessarily have to be work related, both can perfectly coexist."

“Forget about passion, seek for curiosity”

Julie says that asking someone what they do in their free time, what drives them and what makes them happy are the best questions to ask if you want to see how passionate someone is. This identifies what animates a person. You'll know what drives them and if they match your company. It’s normal for companies to expect passion in some positions. But Yasmien says "they shouldn’t forget that people often fake their passion because it's something that's demanded in every Job." Faking your passion is not a good idea because it puts you in a wrong work environment with a huge mismatch that makes you unhappy. Yasmien advises to rather seek curiosity. Curiosity is a much more important aspect of an employee. "You can poll curiosity by doing a good CV screening and seeing if the person dares to go outside their comfort zone. Curious people often want to learn and are more open to feedback."

Ask questions you really want to know the answer to. The standard questions are always very well prepared by the interviewed candidate. Julie says “if you ask someone questions they’ve prepared for, they’ll be anything but spontaneous. They won’t be their authentic self. Ask questions like ‘Why would you like to work for us?’, ‘What in our offer makes you smile?’,… These questions will show their true intentions and real personality. 

“Work is a means to fulfill other goals”

According to Yasmien and Julie, there’s nothing wrong with just doing your job. Nothing more and nothing less. Yasmien does add an important detail that this sort of mindset must fit the company culture. "Some jobs are no more than that. Employers cannot expect employees to dedicate their entire life to their job. Nowadays we have a luxury problem: if you get fired from one job, there are 10 others waiting to hire you." The younger generation is incredibly good at separating their work from the rest of their life.

Julie has noticed a big difference in how the younger generation applies to jobs, compared to the generations before them. “They dare to question employers on what they do for the community and the environment. They want to make sure the company adds value to their life and matches their expectations.”

"Quiet quitting is a result of lack of being challenged and feeling underestimated."

Quiet quitting is still a hot topic, and Yasmien explains that she believes it's something very personal. "It's a combination of different things. A lack of challenge and feeling underestimated have the effect that you won't do more than the bare minimum that's expected of you. Make people feel like they are making an impact, doing meaningful work and that they are valued."

According to Julie, we also need to look at the management side of quiet quitting. She says that “The new generation is different and we, companies, need to adjust. Management needs to identify what their team likes and are good at. This way there won't be any quiet quitting because people actually enjoy their job. And when you're happy in whatever you're doing, you will go the extra mile, when necessary.”
Yasmien concludes with an interesting take on the new job market: "Communication is important and should be very clear. Management needs to communicate changes in the company or workflow to staff members on time. Effective communication comes from both sides: employees should notice management when things are getting overwhelming - in time. " Managing people is also about knowing when your team needs rest and not exhausting hard-working team members. "What's in it for me?" is the new mindset in the job market and employers need to really reflect on this to stand out.
If you enjoyed this recap, you can listen to the full episode here (in Dutch). Subscribe to Triangle Talk on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify for more inspiring stories. Don’t forget to leave us a review!
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Benedicte Mbayi

Content Marketeer Hays Belgium

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