Posts Tagged ‘ Employee Work Passion ’

Is “meaningful work” actually meaningful?

Employee engagement is a hot topic these days.   According to a Gallup poll estimate, disengaged employees cost the US between $450 – $550 billion each year in terms of lost productivity.  Could you be contributing to that figured by not finding out what’s truly meaningful to your employees?

EmployeeWorkPassion4According to The Ken Blanchard Companies own research on the topic of Employee Work Passion, there are five job factors that can have a direct impact on retention: Autonomy, Workload Balance, Task Variety, Feedback, and Meaningful Work.

Over 800 individuals responded to a survey asking them to rank these factors by order of importance.   While all five factors are important, Meaningful Work was most commonly ranked as being the #1 priority.  In other words, respondents feel that employees need to know that the work they do has a direct positive impact on their organization, whether that impact is internal or external.

It makes sense, right?  If I’m an employee who feels my job duties are really just “busy work” that aren’t contributing to my organization’s success, will I really be engaged in my work?  If I don’t see my own work being important, how motivated will I be to go the extra mile?

offonThink about those fabulous people who work in IT.  Lots of companies, regardless of what business they are actually in, rely on the systems and technology maintained by these individuals.  While IT support may differ entirely from the type of work being done to maintain/grow a customer base, that doesn’t mean the work is any less important.  If you have a frontline IT help desk representative who doesn’t see that their own contributions have a direct impact (i.e. employees from other departments could not complete their own work without the assistance of IT support), their quality of work may suffer.

A common trap leaders fall into is to assume that just because their organization is in the business of making positive impacts on customers and people, that their employees see it that way, as well.  Leaders need to be proactive to ensure that their people also see the benefits of the work they complete.

ASK your employees how they feel about their work.  Be sure to check this barometer on a regular basis.  It’s easy for people to forget their importance in the grand scheme of the organization’s success.  If your company has ever been through a series of changes, you can probably relate.

SHOW them the results.  Ensure they know that they make a positive difference based on positive outcomes.

PRAISE them when praisings are due.  If they did a good job, be sure to tell them!  If you hear from another employee or customer that that they did a good job, pass that along to the employee!

How do you personally make sure your employees understand their contributions are meaningful?  Leave your comments!

All Grunt Work and No Glory

Have you ever asked yourself what it is your people actually work on throughout the day (or night)?  I’m sure a lot of you know in general terms the type of work being done, but do you know the finer details?  More importantly, do you know how much of that work translates into something meaningful in the eyes of your people?   If you don’t, you might be contributing to a higher turnover rate at your company.

When I look at a job, I like to break it down into two parts:

1. The grunt work
2. The glory 

Think of the grunt work as repetitive, tedious tasks, that while necessary, are not the first things your people look forward to when they come in for work.  On the other side, you have the glory which is the new work that allows us to grow our knowledge/skill along with the recognition that comes from a job-well-done.  Almost all jobs contain some percentage of both.  The question is how much balance is there between the two of them.

Personally, a part of my own job deals with grunt work.  Every month a complete a time sheet to primarily track a lot of the billable work I do throughout that month.  I understand the reason for them and I know they are necessary, but that doesn’t mean I don’t cringe each time I have to work on them.

However, I also have a healthy portion of glory, as well.  A lot of the work I do impacts multiple people for the better, and there are always opportunities for me to take on new challenges.   I am also consistently recognized for doing well.  These are reasons why I haven’t been looking for employment, elsewhere.

In The Ken Blanchard Companies latest Employee Work Passion Survey, over 800 respondents were asked to rank 5 job factors in order of importance such as Autonomy,  Meaningful Work, Feedback, Workload Balance, and Task Variety.   In looking at the data, Meaningful Work had the greatest percentage of responses in terms of being ranked the most important.  More surprisingly, the majority of respondents ranked their immediate leader as being more responsible even over senior leadership when it came to influencing/improving these job factors. 

If you haven’t seen the results of the Employee Work Passion Survey, it is definitely worth a read.  You can see it here.

This meaningful work is one of the biggest factors when it comes to your workforce.  If your people feel this is lacking from the work that they do, they are likely going to look (or are already looking) for a different job.  Even if they aren’t looking right now, they likely aren’t using their full potential when it comes to their performance. 

Think about what you can do for your people when it comes to recognition, introducing growth through new skills, and showing them how their works impacts others.  In doing so, you may also find glory for yourself.

Leave your comments!

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