I recently read an article by Meghan Biro on how to make work matter. The article focuses not only the importance of employee engagement, but what employees and managers can do to increase productivity and performance.
As Meghan points out, good salary, benefits and perks are always nice. But in today's workplace culture they're not enough to keep employees engaged and productive.
The truth is that managers do impact employee engagement. How can someone feel good about their work when there is no one to tell them that they're doing a good job? Or to course-correct them if they aren't working on the right things or achieving the goals set for them?
Help employees find meaning in the workplace
In her article, Meghan offers five tips to make work matter, and my favorite tip is #2: link work to the mission. Meaning in the workplace comes from employees feeling a sense of worth in what they do. No one wants to dedicate their time to something they feel doesn't matter.
it's important for managers to let their employees know how their contributions
are helping the organization succeed. Unfortunately, that communication doesn't
40% of employees say they don't receive regular, clear feedback on their performance from their manager (sources: Gallup and Tower Perrins). Yikes.
It can be difficult to know how to give regular, ongoing feedback to employees if it's not something you're used to doing. And it's not an innate skill that "natural leaders" are born with. It's something you have to learn how to do.
If you're looking for resources on how to coach and give feedback to your employees, check out these employee feedback and coaching templates. They can help you prepare to give truly helpful and effective feedback, and offer a list of tips to guide coaching conversations.
Know your employees
Good managers know their employees as individuals - their strengths, weaknesses, hobbies and passions. Playing to their interests and strengths can have a huge impact on keeping them engaged. And in helping them find meaning in their work.
So be sure to have career management discussions with your employees on a regular basis. Done well, it is a collaborative process that meets the needs of the business, while fulfilling employees' career aspirations.
Communicating regularly with employees about their contributions to the organization, and taking time to get to know them does have an impact on employee performance and engagement.
And you may find that putting in the effort to make work matter for your employees will help do the same for you.
Your Turn: What tips do you have to help employees find meaning in the workplace?