Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Should We Care if Employees Find Meaning in Their Work?

YES, I do believe we need to care if our employees find work meaningful.  This is not a verse from a kumbaya handbook either.  There are real tangible benefits to employees finding meaning in their work.  Here is why I care:

1) People by nature need PURPOSE.  Research has shown that when employees understand their contribution in their role to the overall success of the organization they become more committed to the company.  Commitment, as we have been discussing over the last few weeks, leads to higher performance.

2) According to HR Consultant and Blogger, Mike Haberman, employees will commit to their work, if and only if that work is meaningful.  Again, when you have a committed employee, you have one that is performing at a higher level.  This can usually be seen in customer interactions.  We want our employees to be committed and engaged, so that enthusiasm is reflected in the customer experience.

3) Employees need to understand how they are doing.  To keep the work meaningful to the employee they need to understand how they are performing, what they can do to improve, and receive the appropriate reward and recognition for performing in a way that leads to increased results for the company. 

Check out this YouTube video of my conversation with Nancy Vepraskas, SPHR a thought leader in the area of strategic HR and Chairman of the Board for SHRM-Atlanta.  Nancy discusses the concept of employee engagement and how HR can assist with designing meaningful work.

What are your thoughts on employees and meaningful work?  Should we be paying attention?  How have you helped in designing meaningful work for your employees?
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