Move over, AI. Technology isn’t the only thing evolving these days. Employees are changing their views and priorities, bigtime, and the workplace must adapt. Modern employees need more than a fat paycheck, ping pong table, or even standing desks to be happy at work. They need to feel like what they’re doing every day matters.
Is finding meaning in everyday work doable?
Doable, yes. Necessary? Yes! Especially when 83 percent of employees rank finding meaning in their day-to-day a top priority. But what does that even mean?
Three factors add up to a more fulfilling work experience:
- • Relationships - a sense of belonging and connection to others
- • Impact - progress towards a goal we believe in and actually making a difference
- • Growth - gaining experience and capability by working on interesting projects with smart people
The good news is, most employees know they are on the hook for their fulfillment. But if companies aren’t doing their part, 7 out of 10 have no issue with bouncing for a more meaningful replacement (Source: CECP, Imperative, PwC’s Fulfillment at Work survey, November 2018).
And if that weren’t enough motivation for inspiring meaning, the bottom line is this:
Fulfilled employees plan to stick around three years longer than their unfulfilled colleagues, according to a recent PwC report.
To inspire and fulfill your employees like never before, be sure to:
Cut straight to the chase in engagement surveys
If you’re stuck about where to begin, start by simplifying your engagement survey to focus on the four areas that really matter:
- • Do you have meaningful connections at work?
- • Are you growing here?
- • Do you feel like your work is making an impact in ways that matter to you?
- • Is what I’m doing in my role today meaningfully connected to my long-term vision for my career?
You’ll quickly be able to assess which employees are on the brink of jumping ship, and can prioritize their development needs.
Uncover what truly motivates each team member
The modern career path looks different for everyone. At Bridge, we’ve done extensive research on what motivates today’s employees. While it can be difficult for some to know exactly what the pinnacle of their career may look like, they can absolutely identify the core drivers that align with their purpose right now. Only when employees find roles that align with their motivators will they be on the path to fulfillment. Helping them become self-aware about their career drivers isn’t as daunting as it sounds, learn about the free tool we created to help you out here.
Provide multiple development opportunities
Once you’ve uncovered what motivates your employees, the next step is to ensure their specific needs are being met with meaningful work. Chances are, the job at hand will not be the be-all-end-all. So provide stretch assignments and help them develop skills to get closer to roles that align with their personal career motivators. Help connect your employees to resources, knowledge, people, and experiences that will help align their current work experience with the long-term vision they have for their career.
Allowing employees to take ownership of their development through self-directed learning can bring them one step closer to finding fulfillment. Whether it’s receiving peer feedback on their skills or completing online courses, give employees multiple avenues for cultivating meaning.
Create a culture that celebrates growth
Meaningful growth comes from adversity, too. Companies must foster an environment where mistakes are viewed as learning experiences—which may require a seismic shift in culture and leadership style. When teams are challenged to solve problems in new ways knowing it’s OK to fail, there’s no limit on how much they—or your company—can grow.
Foster meaningful connections across the board
Having connections in the workplace is a huge component of fulfillment. But meaningful relationships aren’t limited to happy hour or lunch & learns (are those still a thing?). Empower employees to build their own connections through:
- • Team assignments and collaboration. Go beyond messaging channels to provide real collab opportunities. When employees are given a challenging team assignment with a defined goal and free reign on how to get there, the shared experience can build trust and deepen relationships.
- • Mentorships, if they happen naturally. No one wants to be forced into an arranged marriage of a mentorship. Give employees the breathing room and tools to share knowledge, give and request peer feedback, then let the social learning flow.
- • Ongoing 1:1s with managers. Regular feedback conversations can strengthen the bond between supervisors and direct reports. These check-ins also provide the ideal platform for following up on career drivers conversations—something 79 percent of employees we surveyed wanted to take place at least monthly or quarterly.
Make employee impact easy to see
Once goals have been set and communicated, give employees props on their impact toward said goals in multiple ways, including:
- • Real-time tracking tools that employees can access whenever
- • Ongoing feedback in 1:1s
- • Recognition from managers and senior leadership
Helping employees find purpose and meaning in their work isn’t some lofty goal reserved for only the most “out there” company cultures. It could make all the difference in whether your best people stay or go.
For more insights on how to thrive in the modern workplace, download our e-book, "The Future of Work: 10 Essentials for Winning Employee Development."