As we evolve as a species, meaning becomes more and more relevant. Not just personal meaning, the age-old question “Who am I and what am I doing here? What is my purpose?” but work-related meaning.
With that, I was not surprised to learn of the recent encounter Mitch Barns, the new Nielsen CEO, had with a young leader who asked him two pointed questions at a Q&A session. “Do you think the work we do has any redeeming social value? And more specifically, do you think our work does any good in the world?”
This is a question asked more and more frequently by all of us in the workforce, not just our socially-and-community minded Millennials. And the more often you, as a manager, can help your employees see the meaning and purpose in their work, the more likely they are to perform at higher levels, while gaining personal satisfaction and fulfillment.
How does your company, your business, further the well-being of others? Of your customers/clients, those your customers/clients interact with? How does your company impact the community, the environment, the bigger social picture?
These questions can be answered by a Mom & Pop shop or a mid-sized service company, just as well as they can by an international corporation. The important thing is to answer them, and communicate those answers to your employees so they can work with a sense of purpose, knowing they are contributing something meaningful to their world.