Help people understand how their jobs make a difference.
Meghan works in janitorial services at a major hospital, and she takes great pride in her work.
One day, she pairs up with a new team member to show him the correct way to clean rooms. However, he seems ambivalent about his new job, and about the importance of following strict cleaning procedures.
So, Meghan explains why their team's job is one of the most important in the hospital. When they do thorough work, there are fewer germs in the operating and patient rooms.
Their diligence reduces the number of secondary infections, which, in turn, helps keep patients healthier. Potentially, their work could save lives.
Meghan's story is an inspiring example of how people can find purpose in their work; that is, they can see the full impact of the work that they do. In this article, we'll look at how you can help your people find purpose in their jobs, and why this matters.
No matter what you do, your job exists for a reason. When you know that reason – and when you fully understand how your efforts make the world a better place for someone else – you have found your job's purpose.
In their 2010 book "The Why of Work," Dave and Wendy Ulrich explain that there are many advantages of helping people find purpose in a job.
On an individual level, people who understand their job's wider purpose are happier, more engaged, and more creative.
And, from an organizational perspective, when employees see how their roles fit with the company's goals, staff turnover goes down and productivity rises. People work harder, use their initiative, and make sensible decisions about their work. In turn, the company can operate more efficiently. Everyone, from the CEO to customers, feels the positive effects.
If you work for a nonprofit or service organization, it may be easy to help people find the deeper meaning in their work. But what if you work in a bank, a call center, or a software company?
It's essential to realize that every job provides a service to someone else – if it didn't, it wouldn't exist. Keep this in mind as you work with your team members to help them find meaning in their work.
Your organization's mission statement is a good place to start. It should help you identify customers' needs, the ways in which the organization will meet them, and how success will be measured.
You may not be in a position to change your organization's mission statement, but you can write a mission and vision statement for your team or department. This statement should define the deeper purpose behind your work.
"When I started using Mind Tools, I was not in a supervisory position. Now I am. Along with that came a 12% increase in salary." – Pat Degan, Houston, USA
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