December 11, 2017
How would your employees answer the question “Is your job meaningful?”
If the answer is “no,” something needs to change – regardless of whether you work in the non-profit, public or private sector.
According to the Chicago Tribune’s 2017 Top Workplaces survey, “a job’s meaningfulness – a sense that the work has a broader purpose – is consistently and overwhelmingly ranked by employees as one of the most important factors driving job satisfaction.” However, the survey also found that employers are failing to encourage a sense of meaning at work. This means there is a clear gap between what employees need and what employers provide.
The good news? A gap means there is opportunity to change. Companies that effectively instill meaning and purpose in the workplace can enhance commitment and improve the performance of employees. Ultimately, this translates to the bottom line: companies that report highly engaged employees are more likely to report achieving financial performance significantly above their peers.
Employees are thirsting for meaning in their jobs. From a high level, companies can instill deeper meaning by reinforcing progress around the organization’s purpose, vision, values and outcomes, and by articulating how employees at all levels contribute. This requires internal communications that target both the hearts and minds of employees, connect the dots between the larger company and all areas of the business, and highlight both emotional and rational themes.
But to truly impact the culture of the entire organization, every employee needs to feel a personal connection to their job. These efforts should be extended deep within the organization.
Each organization is different, but the work necessary to identify the unique levers of meaning that resonate with your specific employee pool is worth the effort in terms of engagement and commitment. This can be done as part of a process to develop and manage an EVP – the unique set of attributes in the areas of Rewards, Opportunity, Work, People, and Organization that defines your organization as an employer and place to work. We view an effectively managed EVP as a key way to clarify and communicate the sense of meaning and purpose offered to your company’s employees.
Strong leaders, managers and supervisors build personal connections within their teams and help connect employees to the company in a meaningful way. How many times have you heard that employees don’t leave the job, they leave the manager? Leadership communications need to continually stress the key messages of the EVP and promote the broad purpose of the organization, as well as give voice to the leaders’ personal sense of meaning found at the company.
Building employee connections to your organization and to each other through engagement experiences can also bolster a greater sense of meaning and shared purpose. Regardless of your EVP, engagement programs should clarify how employees actively contribute to the business while creating and deepening personal connections. An FTI client recently launched an employee video submission campaign designed to encourage employees to highlight their contributions to the business and explain what the mission means to them. This program is energizing employees around the business strategy, educating them on each other’s roles, deepening their understanding and commitment to the mission and values, and positively impacting the corporate culture.
Make a “case of the Mondays” a thing of the past. Employees want to find meaning in their jobs, and employers should feel compelled – both culturally and financially – to provide it to them.