A recent journal article in the APA’s Monitor on Psychology discussed the importance of making your work meaningful. Based on the research, psychologists discovered what makes work meaningful is much more than titles or money. Rather, the secret to career happiness lies in how one’s work contributes to the overall good of the organization and community. According to the article, “Finding meaning in one’s work has been shown to increase motivation, engagement, empowerment, career development, job satisfaction, individual performance and personal fulfillment and to decrease absenteeism and stress.” With those kinds of benefits, both employers and employees need to make equal contribution in order to make work more meaningful.
Strategic Planning Education: When work loses it’s luster, employees often look to their organizations for answer. While it is imperative that organizations implement strategic plans to drive their overall goals and vision, it’s not always disseminated in a way that provides buy in. Organizational leaders should spend time ensuring their teams have a clear understanding of how their goals and objectives contribute systemically. This should begin during on-boarding and continue throughout performance reviews.
Initiate Process Changes: Is the meaning draining from your work simply because you’re doing the same thing the same way it’s always been done? Then it’s time to shake things up by asking how you can contribute to developing better practices. It’s often easier then you think, but process change management typically requires someone to step up and stick it out. Once revitalization begins, others will volunteer to assist. When you’re the architect of positive organizational change, you’ll not only fire improvements but may also position yourself for career advancement.
Pay It Forward: Career happiness relies on making work more meaningful, but is that an everyday occurrence for you and your team? Think about the last time that you felt good about a hard day’s work. Was it today, yesterday? Or has it been too long? There is no doubt that you’re working hard, now it’s time to ensure that your hard work is paying forward. Making your work meaningful may just be a matter of communication and reorganization of your goals. The root of career happiness lies in fulfillment for you and others who are impacted by your efforts, so can those others include those in need? When team’s pull together for positive change, you step outside of yourself and your obstacles and suddenly making work meaningful becomes an everyday occurrence.