In the beginning of the year we started a recruitment campaign at Sofigate to find passionate employees. Passion is often associated with specific calling or tasks that require strong creativity. Or indeed with your personal life. In everyday working life, passion is often ignored. That is unfortunate, because in passion lies enormous strength.
I strongly believe that people reach their peak when they experience passion, whatever the job may be. The biggest successes for myself and my colleagues over the years have been fuelled by passion. That is why passion should be encouraged, increased and nurtured – both as an employee and as an employer.
The employee: Are you making choices based on passion?
Does passion at work mean that you should be on fire with every task? Write every travel expense report like it was the best travel expense report ever! This will be the most memorable weekly meeting! Every job has many ordinary moments, but people’s attitudes towards work vary.
It is essential to listen to and understand yourself: What do you value? What ignites you? How important it is that you experience passion in your work? What motivates you in the long run? What kinds of successes feel rewarding?
There are tasks in which the meaning and necessity of passion is emphasised. A potential work environment should be compared to what is essential to yourself. When seeking work, have the courage to find out whether the organisational culture feels inspiring, stimulating and supports your personal objectives. Are you applying for a job where you can fulfil your passions?
The IT sector often attracts people who are fascinated by problem-solving. That is a good starting point. We emphasise passion in our recruitment because much of our work depends on how we can inspire the customer and each other. That will not work if we are not inspired ourselves. Passion is a necessary ingredient also when solving problems, creating new concepts, helping in implementing change, or coaching people.
The employer: Are you building a culture where there is space for passion?
Passion cannot be forced. If the organisational culture is not supportive towards enthusiasm, the organization cannot require, let alone market, passion as its way of doing things. Organisational culture prevails in relationships between people, and must be continuously strengthened and developed just like any relationship.
I believe that passion goes hand in hand with trust. A trustworthy relationship between employer and employee should be built from the very first meeting. I do not think it is worth increasing the employee’s anxiety in recruiting situation with formal e.g. personality tests which may not even measure the skills needed in the job. You should bring out in the interview as clearly as possible what the company culture is like and what everyday work is like in practice, both the highs and ordinary days. You should put the applicant to the test though, but do it by simulating actual working life situations that match the reality of the job.
Recognise the passion-killers: fear, uncertainty and indifference – and the old classic, lack of communication. Build a culture where successes are recognised. Failures are allowed. Thoughts are listened to. Presenting ideas and open dialogue are encouraged. When the working environment is safe and inspiring, and you can trust your colleagues, there is a good breeding ground for passion.
About the author
Sanna Siniketo works as senior vice president of business operations at Sofigate.