Generation Y workers want a “meaningful” job. As an HR professional, how do you instill meaning into work? Find the best practices to give meaning to work.
Reigniting the flame
Having a meaningful job is an increasingly important concern for workers. How do you ensure, as a manager, that employees feel motivated and involved in their work?
“It’s true that today, when the youngest people are looking for a job or have to choose one, they ask more questions about the company’s mission, values and vision,” says Laurent Vorelli, CHRP, president and founder of Propulsion RH Inc. He adds however that the quest for meaning is a concern that runs through all generations. And that it varies a great deal from one individual to another.
Surveying the terrain
The manager himself did the exercise of asking the members of his team what motivated them to work. “It’s very different,” he says. “Some people find meaning when they feel they are progressing. For others, it’s when goals are achieved. For still others, it’s when they learn about and work on new things.” The consensus, however, is that all employees need to give meaning to work.
Mr. Vorelli, whose company offers both consulting for employers and training for employees, advocates proximity management to find out what makes workers enthusiastic. Practically speaking this involves, for example, taking the time to eat with your employees and asking them questions to get to know them better. Another good practice to implement, as this entrepreneur did, is to ask employees directly what motivates them to come to work each morning. Offering training or spaces to take a step back from their work is also important, according to Mr. Vorelli. “Being in training gives an opportunity to stop everything and ask yourself why you are here. And when you forget why you are here, that’s when you lose the meaningfulness of your work,” says the consultant.
“There is a great disillusionment with the working world by many employees, related to the fact that in large organizations there is sometimes a disconnect between the strategic decisions made by the bosses and the reality on the ground,” notes Mr. Vorelli. “Sometimes there is a feeling of drifting, of navigating the unknown… much more than before.”
That’s why he thinks it is important for bosses to try to get closer to their employees to better grasp their needs, and then to implement practices that can stimulate their staff. “You have to ask the right questions, and try to meet everyone’s needs.”