Help Your Employees Find Meaning at Work

By Danny Mitchell

Complete engagement in work can be some of the happiest moments in life. Employers can create an environment in which people are focused on their work - and happy.

People have long shared the desire to break the ‘9-5 desk job’ shackles and throw themselves into passion projects. Industries have flourished selling the idea that your employees must seek fulfillment outside of your office. So, where does this notion that people cannot find meaning in their workplace come from?

There is a widespread problem with employee disengagement across the globe, especially with knowledge workers, like those in technology. With people struggling to find meaning in their work, there’s an opportunity to change this narrative, cultivate a positive culture, and attract and retain the best talent.

Employee engagement is the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward your business.

Employees are struggling for engagement

Your employees are the most significant contributing factor to your company’s success. But this only rings true when the workforce is engaged. You might have created a game-changing product or service, but it’s the culture you forge that supports employee engagement.

Some businesses might believe that increasing wages and dealing out bonuses can solve the problem of disengagement, but that just straps a Band-Aid over a bigger problem. If you want to attract and retain the best talent, you need to offer more than just money.

Employee engagement is a broad topic, but here’s our definition: It’s the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward your business. It’s how enthusiastic, committed, and willing people are to contribute to company success.

You might believe that your employees seem the epitome of happiness, but the statistics paint a different picture. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace study showed that:

  • 15% of employees are engaged in the workplace
  • 81% of employees are considering leaving their jobs
  • 74% of younger employees would slash their salary to work at their ideal job

These figures could strike fear into the heart of business leaders, but viewing them through the right lens shows you there are plenty of opportunities to set your business apart. To reap the benefits of a fulfilled workforce, you must drive engagement. One key to unlocking this potential is recognizing progress through goal-setting.

Let employees see their progress

An essential factor that enhances employees' motivation during the workday is the feeling that they are making progress in meaningful work. When people experience this sense of progress, they’re likely to become more creatively productive over time. It doesn’t matter if employees are designing SaaS software or training for the Olympics. That sense of daily accomplishment boosts engagement, productivity, and sentiment for your company.

Most businesses set long-term goals and your employees should understand and feel involved in your pursuit to achieve them. But, while these objectives help you move together towards a greater future, the joy and reward in achieving them is too distant to maintain consistent levels of motivation. The good news is that setting short term goals can boost workplace fulfillment too.

Set short-term goals to propel progress

Let’s imagine your small team of six employees starts work on a year-long project. Everybody knows that once the 12 months are over, you’ll have a tangible product that you celebrate together, maybe have a party and hand out deserved bonuses.

The problem here lies in the long stretch between starting and finishing your project, especially when you consider that setbacks in creative work are common. Research has shown setbacks to have a significant effect on workplace morale, so this barrage of failure can have a devastating impact on engagement and productivity.

When you break down big-picture, long-term goals into smaller steppingstones that show a clearer, more immediate path, your employees can enjoy jumping from one stone to the next. These advances might seem trivial, but this strategy decreases fear, clarifies direction, and boosts the likelihood of early positive outcomes that motivate further action. Let your employees enjoy the small wins, using them as the fuel that propels you all forward.

Management style plays a significant role in your success

When cultivating a culture of fulfillment in your company, it’s essential to understand the role leaders play in building success. How employees engage and feel about their work is linked to management style. Everything starts at the top, filters through to the workforce, and sets behavioral norms for the entire team.

Start by establishing a positive climate that supports autonomy while providing sufficient resources and time to offer help when it’s needed. Suppose you can foster an environment where people can learn from both problems and successes and enjoy the free exchange of ideas without fear of judgment. Creating this environment fosters an immediate positive impact on employee morale and engagement.

As employees receive positive reinforcement and feedback, they will feel valued and respected. Employees will recognize their own clear and meaningful goals while enjoying support from helpful colleagues who are open to new ideas and ways of thinking. You will signal the vital role they play in your company and provides a sense of fulfillment that boosts motivation, drives engagement, and fosters happiness in the workplace.

Conversely, opposite behaviors will have the expected results with immediate repercussions. When management acts with toxic conduct, like lashing out when something goes wrong, interfering with work, or failing to provide support, it demeans your employees and damages morale, engagement, and fulfillment.

If you want to cultivate a culture of fulfillment, satisfaction, and engagement, management must always be cognizant and attentive to employees pushing hard for their employer’s success.

Help your employees find fulfillment at work

Our mission at Harmonics Way is to provide resources and support for those who view work as a craft. We encourage individuals to discover their unique optimal work experience through experimentation and the thoughtful implementation of our principles, processes, and practices.

We believe that people gain fulfillment from engagement with their tasks. Our partners help businesses and people engineer their approach to workplace culture.

If you have questions regarding your organization’s journey to engagement and fulfillment, feel free to contact us here to learn more.

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