Your Employee Does Not Need to Learn to Love Their Job

The Growing your Team Podcast: Episode 146


Employees should be happy with any job you give them, right? As your business adjusts, they should be willing to take on new responsibilities. After all, that’s a sign of a great employee.

Not exactly.

Employees should not be expected to learn to love their job. Instead, they deserve to be in a position they love, and there is a difference.

This means that sometimes the work you have available will match what your top employee is looking for, and other times it will mean that the shift in responsibilities results in the need to part ways.

Learn why this is the best move for your business and your employee in this episode of the Growing Your Team podcast. (Full transcription below.)

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Episode Transcription:

This podcast episode transcription might be edited for clarity and conciseness.

Hello, Jamie Van Cuyk here, and welcome back to the Growing Your Team podcast.

Today I want to tell you about something that happened to me a few years ago that wasn’t business related, but the lesson learned 100% applies to my business and yours and anybody who has employees on their team – especially growing, scaling businesses where things change.

00:01:11 – Starting Dance Class

So, seven years ago, my oldest daughter attended her first dance class, and it didn’t go as planned.

As a lifelong dancer myself, I dreamed about the day of my daughter starting dance from the moment I found out that I was pregnant. I just knew I was having a girl, and I just knew if things went as planned, she would end up in dance because, as I said, I was a dancer my entire life.

To be able to pass that down to my child is just something I really wanted. I think that’s something that a lot of people want when they have kids. You have these things you’re passionate about, and you want to continue on that passion by having your child love it as well.

Finally, the day arrived, and I couldn’t have been happier. We found a studio that took kids at 2 1/2 years old. We put her in these cute little tights, leotard, and the tiniest ballet shoes that exist. Her entire face lit up as we drove to the studio because she said she wanted to dance. But when we got there, everything changed.

She hated the class.

No matter what I said or how hard the teacher tried, she wouldn’t participate. We even tried me being there with her during the class, but I was about eight months pregnant, so I couldn’t do everything with her.

Halfway through the lesson, it came time to change from her ballet shoes into her tap shoes. When she exited the studio, and we started to put on her tap shoes, she started to cry and said that she did not want to go back into the studio.

My dreams of having a little dancer were falling to the floor with each one of her tears.

I was like, what’s going on? She wanted to be here, but now she doesn’t. I thought she was going to live on my passion, but now she was struggling against it, and she’s refusing to go and even try.

At that moment, I decided that there was only one thing to do.

I picked her up and started walking right out of the dance studio.

00:03:56 – She’ll learn to love it

On our way, a dance mom of a four-year-old girl who was in the class stopped me and said, “Just keep trying. Eventually, she’ll learn to love dance. My daughter used to cry every time I would bring her and look at her now.”

In response, I gave her the biggest smile and said, “My daughter does not need to learn to love an extracurricular activity. If she doesn’t want to be here, there’s no reason to force her to be here.”

All these years later, I look back at that moment and wish I had said something additional to that mother.

I wish I added, “And I’m sure your daughter hasn’t learned to love it either. She’s just learned that she has no choice but to be here because it’s what you want for her.”

As parents, we realized that it’s more important for our children to pursue their own passions and do something that they really like rather than being forced to do something because we want it.

And trust me, my husband played soccer his entire life through college. He played soccer on rec teams when we first started dating. He would have loved to see his children running around the field with the soccer ball, but that never happened because our girls never wanted to play soccer.

00:05:53 – Your employees won’t have your passion

What does this have to do with your business?

There are a few things. One is that a lot of business owners say, “I want a person working for my business who’s as passionate about my business as I am.”

And guess what? That’s never going to happen.

Your business is your baby that you grew from the ground up or purchased. You have this extreme passion for it because of everything that you’ve put into it to get it to the place where it’s at. Your employees are never going to have the same passion, and you can’t expect them to.

So that’s lesson #1 – Understand that people’s passion will not mirror yours. They might end up with a passion for your business, but it’s not going to be the same. You can’t force somebody to be passionate about your business, which brings us to point number two.

00:06:43 – People’s wants change

People might think that they want something. They might apply for a job and think that this is what I want, and then they might get in there and realize that they hate it; that it just doesn’t light them up every day. It’s a job that they’re miserable going to instead of a job that they enjoy.

As a business owner, you have the option. You can force them to stay in that job. You can force them to be somebody that they’re not, or you can accept the fact that the positions that you need in your business are not for everybody, and if the wrong person gets in there, you need to let them take the step that they need to exit your business.

As we talked about in a previous episode, you need to be OK and sometimes give them permission and help them realize that this isn’t the role for them. With that, I talked about scaling businesses, and when your business changes because of that growth, positions change. Even if you still need those tasks done in your business, the structure of the role can change. For example, the role could be split into two roles.

Roles evolve because your business is evolving. And as your business evolves, the person that was fully passionate about your business and their role might not be anymore because it’s not what they want. It doesn’t align with their passion.

00:08:32 – Your Employee Does Not Need to Learn to Love Their Job

You have to recognize that you can’t force somebody into a different position. You can’t say well because you are good over here, I now want you to do this, and you’re just going to suck it up and do it because this is what I need.

Yes, your business needs that, but we can’t force people into what we need and forget about what they might need.

So just remember. Your employees can learn to tolerate a position, but they don’t need to learn to love a position that’s not right for them. And if your team members are just tolerating a position and it’s a long-term thing that they’re supposed to be doing this, it’s not good for you, and it’s not good for them.

Get the people into your positions that do love the position and let those good employees go and do something else so they can find what is right for them. So they can find something that they’re passionate about instead of feeling that work is a drain because they don’t really want to be there.

We spend a lot of time working. Your employees should enjoy their job, and if they don’t, don’t force them to. Once again, they don’t need to learn to love their job. If they don’t love it, it’s not the right fit, and a change needs to be made.

00:10:23 – How forcing someone into loving their job can hurt your business

Also, when you’re hiring, be clear and open about what the position is so you can find the person that is right for your opening and not someone that seems to have a lot of passion and could learn to love the position because, chances are, they won’t.

Because at the end of the day, unlike some little kid whose mom is forcing him into a dance class, a lot of the time, your employees do have a choice.

If they don’t love the position but they stay, they can cause a lot of negative impacts. Or they can leave, and then you’re left scrambling.

Don’t force your employees to follow your dreams. Don’t force them to try to love something that’s not right for them. If they don’t love it, there is a problem that needs to be fixed, and it doesn’t get fixed by forcing them to stay.

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Your Employee does not need to learn to love their job, Growing Your Team Podcast, Jamie Van Cuyk, Small Business