Want Employees to Stick Like Glue? Attract Them With Meaning

This article comes from Entrepreneur.

Want Employees to Stick Like Glue? Attract Them With Meaning

Are your employees happy? Does the work they do mean anything to them? Take these measures to help them find meaning in even the most mundane tasks.

1. Connect the dots.

Your talented players may not understand the 30,000-feet view of what they do. Even if your vision and mission statement are literally plastered on the wall, you still need to show your people how their every move plays a pivotal big-picture role.

Loriana Sekarski, founder and president of leadership consulting company Bonsai, suggests that executives constantly talk about strategy in order to yield positive results. She points out that workers “likely joined your company because they want to make a difference and be part of an exciting journey, so lead with your company vision when communicating with employees.” Be forewarned: You cannot substitute data for passion-filled discussions. Even Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page follows this directive. He recommends placing emphasis on “really big goals” to keep employees’ eyes on the prize.

2. Visibly demonstrate your corporate values.

Employees have no impetus to consider and carry out their employers’ corporate values until they see them lived out. Take a page from REI’s book, and illustrate what your brand stands for. The company’s motto, “A life outdoors is a life well lived,” sparked the company’s #OptOutside program. Its message was clear: Yes, it’s Black Friday. No, we’re not participating. In fact, employees had the biggest sales day of the year off so they could play in nature.

More than a marketing ploy, REI’s #OptOutside campaign set the stage for a different way of thinking about productivity and profit. Instead of concentrating on financial capital, REI placed a premium on its human capital. It also set itself apart as a company in search of meaning, not merely money.

3. Snuff out burnout.

Even happy workers who come in early and stay late can be sidelined and burdened by stress. As Sylvia Melena, author of “Supportive Accountability,” explains, “Meaningful work is such a powerful motivator that it can drive people to work beyond reasonable capacity.”

Abate burnout by looking for signs of its presence in your employees. These can include exhaustion, lowered productivity, heightened mistakes, emotional swings and memory issues. When you suspect that certain workers are moving beyond a reasonable capacity, remind them to pursue outside interests. Support them by offering time off for personal pursuits, and make sure not to bug them with work questions when they’re off the clock.

Meaningful work can inspire in so many ways — and keep employees from checking Glassdoor and Indeed for better gigs. Instead of losing good people who feel like replaceable cogs in a wheel, remind your people of their purpose. Not only will they be happier with how things are going, but you will be, too.

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