Have you ever wondered how Santa’s elves are so efficient? Or how their assembly lines are so productive year after year? Well, the elves love their work. Their dedication stems from a complete investment in their mission. On Day 6 of our 12 Days of Employee Experience topics, we’re discussing meaningful work. To learn more about the ultimate internal motivator for productivity, keep reading!
Adding Meaning to the Mundane
It's easy to see how making toys for children on Christmas Morning is a meaningful pursuit. So how do you connect your work to your organization's greater mission? There are multiple ways to create meaning in any role. PWC Chairman Bob Moritz describes meaningful work as follows: "work is meaningful not only to the strategy of an organization but also to the purpose of that organization." Work is "meaningful" if it personally fulfills the employee, contributes to a larger purpose, supports others, or achieves relevant goals.
Meaningful Work and Productivity
The productivity and meaningful work linkage manifests in a few ways. The first one is that meaningful work is an internal motivator. When work is valuable to the individual completing the job, they are internally motivated to perform well. Productivity suffers when people attribute little value to their roles since their only motivation to complete their work is externally driven.
Productivity also improves when the direct impact of work is evident. When people fail to see the relevance of their tasks and how their work fits into the big picture, they’re less motivated to perform their tasks well. The recent trend of automating tedious work demonstrates this concept. Mundane, repetitive tasks lack significance to employees and organizational goals, so they’re outsourced to AI. This directs people’s focus to more meaningful work.
“Purpose-driven” work has become a popular term since the pandemic. This isn’t just a fad, as “more than 9 out of 10 people would take a pay cut to get more meaning at work.” It’s increasingly important that work fulfills a purpose beyond profit generation and that motivation is somewhat internally driven.
Attributing Value to Your Work
In terms of purpose, Santa and his elves take the cake. Each elf knows that their work is directly tied to bringing smiles to girls and boys around the globe. Similarly, it's our job as leaders to ensure that our team clearly understands how their tasks contribute to the organization's greater goals and success.
Purpose-driven work and meaningful roles are feasible—and necessary—within any organization. Making work meaningful at the personal or community level creates value for everyone involved. We may not all love filling out those blasted TPS reports :P, but if we understand that each time we complete a task aligned with our organization's goals, our work holds greater meaning. Performance becomes internally motivated, and people strive to succeed.
Want to learn more about aligning your organizational goals with meaningful work? Viva Goals is a great way to help your team visualize how their work brings value to your organization. Check out the on-demand webinar from our friends at PixelMill.