In our Simply Irresistible Model for Employee Experience (aka Employee Engagement), we describe five key factors of employee success: meaningful work, supportive management, fantastic environment, growth opportunities and trust in employees. the leadership. In this article, we will talk about the first, "meaningful work".
Although many employers believe that their goal is to "make people happy," the reality is that most of us work for one reason: we want to spend our time contributing to others and creating something bigger than us. This is the basic concept behind meaningful work. When the work itself gives power, when we feel that we have the right jobs, when we feel close to our team, and when we have enough time and resources to succeed, we can be happy.
Theresa Amabile, Harvard researcher, in The Progress Principe, 1 describes her research on the "work logs" of hundreds of employees. In her team's assessments of employees' feelings toward work, she concluded that one of the most valued experiences at work is "moving towards a goal". In other words, when you come home, do you think you really did something positive that day?
We divide this element into four categories: autonomy, selection to adapt, small teams and time for looseness. Autonomy simply means giving people the freedom to "add" to work. For example, if you are a retail employee, you may want to wear some flamboyant accessories added to your clothes, or treat people in a special way, bringing your personal style and passion to work. . An entire discipline called "job-crafting" was created, describing how we "make our jobs" to be what we want. Think about your job, whether you're an analyst, a retail employee, a leader, or a manufacturing worker. When you can "create your work" to do it as you think, you probably feel better than ever. This whole principle of "autonomy" is a major practice of effective leadership, and many new managers are struggling to "let people fend for themselves." Of course, people should be given guidelines, rules and strategies to follow. productivity shows that when you give people supportive autonomy, they thrive. It's the other side of the coin in a style of delegation that the best leaders aspire to develop their teams. The more leaders trust their team, the more they can delegate, and the greater the team's autonomy.
The second category is "selection for adjustment". This is an extremely complex subject, but the simple message is: are you in the job that suits you best? As a manager, do you really understand the "success factors" of this work and why one person could succeed and another might fail? Do you have a process to find, recruit and select people who are likely to succeed? The "accurate selection" process can be the most important management practice in business (if you can not hire the right person, your entire operation will fail), and it's hard to get it right. Many tools, studies and evaluation models are available, but the best solution is simply to "study the best performers" and compare them to people who fail. You can learn "what works" this way. For example, one of our customers, a retailer, studied the performance of cosmetic sales representatives and found (contrary to some beliefs) that beauty was not a factor of success: cognitive skills and speed of thought. Do not assume that the cumulative grade point average, school pedigree, or even if someone previously worked is still relevant. Go under the covers and see what makes people successful.
The third area we call "small teams", and the simple story here, is that people thrive in teams where they know each other, they have time together and they are co -located physically. Yes, of course, we have a lot of virtual collaboration tools: research has proven2 that people tend to spend a lot more time with people physically close to their desks, and that is why so many offices are now open; we have pods for teams to work; and retail stores, sales offices and other facilities are "tiny" to help bring people together. Companies have studied team performance and found similar results: trust, intimacy, openness, inclusion, respect for quality and expertise, and many feedbacks make the teams effective. When the team is working well, people can feel very close to their "team" and all the problems in the rest of the business seem to disappear.
The fourth area we call "the time for relaxation". Some people have misunderstood this as meaning "the time to make gaffes". Not at all. The problem here is to give people "extra time" to fix things, learn, talk with each other, and just reflect on the work they're doing. Research conducted in Germany3, for example, shows that people who work more than 55 to 60 hours a day do not do more work than those who work between 45 and 50 hours. Overworked people can turn against them. People become unproductive, they make mistakes, they do not "clean up" and do not improve their work environment. Zeynep Ton, 4 in the book Good Jobs, describes how retailers who have more staff per square foot (ie, they pay more for payroll) far outperform their peers in terms of profitability. Why? Because in these companies, the staff can help customers, rearrange products, clean the store and train each other to succeed. Making room for "unstructured time" allows employees to breathe, reflect and improve the way they work. Which brings us back to autonomy, and the cycle continues.
"Meaningful Work" is perhaps the most important part of the Simply Irresistible Model. We hope that this short article will make you think and we will discuss other elements in future articles.
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