creative and liberating process, that’s a lot of wear and tear. What
does this do to one’s health? At the very least they would age rapidly,
and no amount of Aveeno would reverse that process.
Recently, an employee who works for a multinational went
on long-term disability for the second time. He had been with
the company for several years and truly enjoyed it. Bob* was
university-educated, creative, talented and driven, and added great
value for years. However, things changed after the company went
through a restructuring and it became a revolving door at the management
level. Bob realized that the situation was deteriorating
and that he no longer enjoyed his work, but he had 15 years of tenure
and was loath to give that up – quitting would mean giving a
month’s working notice, while being fired could result in a windfall
to the tune of 15 months’ pay. So, he made – in effect – a deal with
the devil: he would stick around, do the bare minimum and wait
to be “packaged out,” then coast into retirement.
Nice plan, but it didn’t quite work out that way.
Five years later, the constant stress caught up with Bob in the
form of insomnia, anxiety attacks, depression and other issues.
This triggered his first disability leave. When he returned to work
six months later, the circumstances hadn’t changed. After hanging
in for another year, Bob was diagnosed with the onset of diabetes
and he is now on disability leave again; years older and in no shape
to launch a job search.
This is a perfect example of how people take their good health
for granted at a younger age and decide to roll the dice, so they
BY GALLUP IS
THAT 82 PER CENT
IN THEIR ROLES,
WHICH IS LIKELY
ONE OF THE KEY
continue to be “entitled to their entitlements,” as a former public
servant so eloquently put it years ago.
Disengagement is much more than just lost productivity and
HR can make a big difference in these situations. Of course, an
organization would be exposed to risk if it was to suggest to certain
employees that, perhaps, they should take advantage of
counselling services offered under an EAP or that they should
start looking elsewhere for employment. However, regular coaching
sessions and performance reviews are ideal opportunities to
ask whether employees are deriving fulfillment, enjoying the work,
feeling supported and following their passion. If it turns out that
they are not, there is nothing wrong with asking whether there are
other jobs they would likely enjoy more and what HR can do to
help them get there. Also, this will likely get priceless feedback on
where the organization can improve.
We’re talking about real people with real lives who are, at
different levels, wasting their time and risking their health.
If people truly are an organization’s key resource and greatest
strength, organizations need to recognize that employees’
chasing their pension instead of their passion can come at a
steep price. n
Evert Akkerman is an award-winning HR professional and founder
of XNL HR.
*Name has been changed to respect privacy.
50 ❚ APRIL 2019 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL