I read a survey recently which stated that over 50% of people were dissatisfied with their job for one reason or another. That’s a significant amount of dissatisfaction. At a personal level that is a huge shame. At an organizational level, it is a performance and economic disaster.
The most productive and enthusiastic employees are those who find their job fulfilling. Creating the right sort of culture, ensuring effective two-way communication and matching the right people to the right jobs can have an enormous impact on employee satisfaction and their sense of fulfilment. That in turn impacts on the quality of their performance and on retention figures both of which have a direct impact on productivity and profits.
There are many ways to create the sort of infrastructure which underpins a sense of fulfilment for individuals within an organisation. None of them are rocket science but each element can have a profound impact on the way people feel about their work and how well they perform.
The flowing approaches are based on personal research working with individual clients, within my own organisation and on the work I have done in a variety of organizational contexts.
Fulfilment comes from feeling you are making a real difference. This works at a number of different levels. Some jobs are in themselves seen as making a positive difference, health, care and education are good examples of this. However many of those employed in these sectors find the fulfilment of the role undermined by the way the institution is organised. Whatever the organisation and its purpose it is important that every individual feels that their contribution is valued. The cleaner who keeps the working environment healthy and pleasant is as important as the person who makes the strategic decisions. They are just important differently. How does your organization show it values the contribution each person makes? Having a conversation with staff about what makes them feel valued is well worth the effort. It is often not about money.
Fulfilment comes from having a sense of control. Involving staff in the decision-making process makes sense at a number of levels. If you involve your people in the process not only do you expand the skill pool, sharing expertise and experience which can save valuable time and money the process also reinforces the sense of being valued and listened too. That sense of having some control over what goes on impacts positively on a sense of fulfilment. I am not suggesting management by committee. There are times when it is both appropriate and necessary for managers to make decisions without consultation. In these cases, it is important that staff understand the rationale. It is here that trust and integrity become vital. Even the most unpopular decisions will be accepted when it is clear that the decisions have been made for the right reasons and in the right way.
Lack of fulfilment is heightened by poor communication. To underpin fulfilment there needs to be clear channels of communication through and across organizations. Feeling left out of the loop or that decisions are turned over on a whim makes us feel of little worth. It is the sense of engagement and of being worth listened too which promotes fulfilment.
Working in an environment where individual values are at odds with the company values will begin to impact on the fulfilment of the individual. Those values should be made clear throughout the recruitment process so there are no surprises after the appointment. The organizational values should be reflected within the culture and daily practices of the organisation if you are to maximize the fulfilment of your workforce. A mismatch of values is likely to impact negatively on your long term relationship with clients and customers so it is well worth the effort to get it right.
Creating a sense of personal success is vital to long term fulfilment. Appointing the right person to the right job is at the heart of long term success for any organisation. The recruitment process, your induction and ongoing training programme, the way jobs are apportioned, delegation, succession training all play their part in creating an effective workforce. There is a huge cost of recruiting new people, retaining the skills and expertise you have paid so dearly to create must be a better option.
Understanding the level of challenge which people find exhilarating rather than frightening, looking at levels of boredom and whether work practices offer the best possible working experience can be useful tools to ensure you make the best of your workforce and they get the best out of working for you. Where there are repetitive or unpopular jobs which need to be done it is worth engaging with staff to find the best way of tackling them so you ensure the job is done well and people get the best experience doing it. I have always been curious that the most creative minds are sought by organizations which then offer little opportunity for creative thought. Is it any wonder that so many highly intelligent and creative people are lost to the industries which appoint them once disillusionment or burn out sets in?
Many organizations create a sense of shared fulfilment by contributing to their local community or to a cause which everyone feels is important. It has a profound impact on a number of levels. It offers a shared experience. It provides an opportunity for everyone to share values of contribution which makes people feel good about what they are doing. It often allows people to shine in a very different context; traditional roles are often blurred allowing people to step out of preconceived limitations. These activities are often fun, laughter is such a wonderful way of getting people to work better as a team. It has the advantage of releasing endorphins which make you feel good and have a positive impact on the immune system and general feelings of well being. The organization has a raised profile within the community and ultimately on the order books.
Making sure that organizations encourage employees to have a good work-life balance is essential to long term wellbeing and fulfilment. Short term gains from creating a culture of long hours, poor work-life boundaries are soon lost through absence because of stress or burn out.
Creating a fulfilling life is the responsibility of each individual. Offering a working environment which actively supports the fulfilment of all its employs makes sense at a personal and business level. Maybe it is time to review your own organisation to see how fulfilled your team are and what else can be done to maximise organizational fulfilment.
Maybe you need more help to help you get fulfilled at work?
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