Why Assigning Meaningful Work is Critical

We all have a job description that someone else assigned to us. That description is important for filling a company’s vacancy with a qualified candidate. The HR department determines the right candidate for the job and a person is hired. Indoctrination training takes place. Expectations are set. And work proceeds.

The quality of that work, subjective as that may be, is then determined by whether the employee is meeting the needs of the company, whether it was in the job description or not. What companies often don’t realize is that they meet the needs of their customers based on the worth of the work each employee does. And the worth of the employees’ work is based on the merit the employees have placed upon that work.

What meaning have you placed upon your work? Does your company provide life-altering products for the good of humanity? Can you see your value in contributing to your company for the good of society? Do you go to work every day and believe that your interaction with managers and subordinates, via whatever project you’re working on, is important? Further, do you provide your coworkers a meaning for doing their work well?

We contribute as much as we feel is important. So what’s important to your employees (or boss, or coworkers, or friends)? When we know what they value, we can translate what we do at work into WHY we do it. If a 27-year old values social interaction, we can show her/him how our company’s mission encourages social interaction. If a 40-year old values family, we can show her/him how we uphold domestic principles and support stable home life. If a 65-year old values meaningful legacy, we can show her/him what our company does to guide environmental longevity and sustain opportunity for others. Assigning meaning to work in accordance to one’s values creates a sense of importance. And when it’s important to us, we work harder.

Bethany Miller is an explorer in life and in business. She’s an airline pilot, businesswoman, veteran, and world traveler. Fascinated by global issues and the business of business, Bethany is a doctoral candidate at Université Paris-Dauphine in Paris, France where she researches extraordinary employees in chaotic work environments. GoodGlobalCitizen

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