Does today's workforce "live to work", as many of our grandparents did, putting in long hours and defining ourselves based on our chosen career path? Or do we "work to live" and simply go to work to pay the bills so we can enjoy our lives?
A recent survey by salary.com found that less than 20 per cent of respondents said they "live to work", compared to 70 per cent of respondents who "work to live". This tells business leaders that, when thinking about engaging people, it is important to keep in mind that the majority of employees are coming to work simply as a means to an end and do not necessarily consider their work part of who they are. This may be an outcome of an increased focus on work-life balance or related to the fact that moving between jobs every few years has become the new norm and people are no longer defined by one career path. Regardless, it has become even more vital to consider how we can connect people with their jobs to make the most of their capabilities so the employer and employee can benefit.
Leanne Irwin, consultant at Kenexa, an IBM Company, believes that even people who "work to live" can still be engaged and productive employees, provided they see purpose in what they are doing.
Kenexa NZ's research shows that people who believe in what their organisation is trying to accomplish are much more likely to be engaged in their work and willing to go the extra mile to help the organisation succeed.
So a key focus for organisations wanting to get the most out of their people should be around creating meaningful work where people feel they can make a difference and can see how their work contributes to the bigger picture.
Meaningful work has a clear purpose that is motivating to an individual. There are actions that organisations can take to bring more meaning to jobs, including:
• Having a powerful vision and relevant values
• Reminding people of how their work helps others/fits into the bigger picture
• Finding out what parts of their role people enjoy most and least, to see if the job can be redesigned
• Valuing employees for their contributions and involving them in decision making
• The key thing to remember is that any job can be considered meaningful; it all comes down to perception. Every organisation has a purpose for being - beyond just making profits.
The Kenexa Best Workplaces Survey is now closed for 2013. Winners and finalists will be announced at the annual awards evening on October 31.
• Supplied by Kenexa.