How to Create More Meaning for Your Teams at Work

How to Create More Meaning for Your Teams at Work
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Employees Expect Purpose
Unlike the past, employees today expect their employers to design jobs that help create a sense of personal and professional purpose.   The good news is that employees who find meaning in their work, consistently outperform and outlast those who do not.  More meaning for your teams at work translates to higher levels of performance, commitment, engagement, and retention.

So, the question is how you define “meaning at work.”

Lenses to Help Create More Meaning for Your Teams at Work
Admittedly meaning, or purpose, is in the eyes of the beholder. Different people find meaning in different endeavors. But generally, we know form people manager assessment center data that there are four main sources of purpose in one’s professional life.

  1. The Individual Impact Lens
    When individuals feel qualified to do their job and are successful at it, they find more meaning in what they do. They have a sense of pride in doing a job well. Your role as leader is to help make it so.

    Check in regularly to see that your team members have this sense of satisfaction or, if not, find out what’s missing and fix it with a shift in assignment or with targeted training to increase competence.  Then proactively help them design a degree of control over their job — what they do and when they do it. The power of autonomy added to the sense of pride helps create more meaning for your teams at work, one person at a time.

    Are you setting each individual up for success by playing to their strengths and desires?

  2. The Team Lens
    Another source of meaning at work can come from the team as a whole. Whatever the team, whether at work or in sports, there is nothing like the feeling that you are, as a group, at the top of your game together. “Players” have more energy and know that they can rely on their team mates to perform.

    Whenever goals require multiple skills, judgments, and experiences, the right teams will outperform individuals.  In high performing teams, members look forward to coming to work and collectively solving problems better, faster, and cheaper together.

    Are you ensuring the clear goals and accountabilities, roles, and processes required for your teams to perform at their peak?

  3. The Customer Lens
    In addition to individual and team lenses, powerful meaning can come from serving internal and external customers.  To create more meaning for your teams at work, give your team members an opportunity to directly work with customers whenever possible.

    A more customer focused culture enables teams to work together toward the common purpose of delivering the best customer experience possible — each and every time.  By placing your teams closer to the benefits of their work, they are more able see the fruits of their labor and have a higher feeling of self-worth.

    Are your teams close enough to their customers?

  4. The Company Lens
    Organizations spend much time and effort to craft their vision, mission, and corporate values to set the overall direction and ethos of the company. When these strategic drivers are clear, authentic, relevant, modeled, unique, and reinforced, employees understand and appreciate the what the company stands for. When they are misaligned or disingenuous, employees disengage.

    Make sure what the company stands for and where it is headed resonates at all levels of the company. The goal is to have every employee from the front line to the C-suite be inspired by a clear line of sight about how their contributions matter and make a difference at the individual, team, organizational, and societal levels.

    Are you leveraging your vision, mission, and values to create more meaning for your teams at work?

The Bottom Line
With these four sources of meaning in mind, how can you as a leader activate them in your organization? The more you can provide meaningful work for your employees, the better they will perform and the more engaged they will be in everyone’s success.

To learn more about engaging your team, download Top 10 Most Powerful Ways to Boost Employee Engagement

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