WE MISS MEANING IN OUR WORK LIVES

Although we've reached a high level of welfare and welbeing in the western world, many people experience a growing sense of 'emptiness', or 'uselessness' when it comes to their work lives. Gallup, the worlds most foremost authority on employee satisfaction, researched that only 13% percent of people world wide are actively engaged in their work. And numbers are even lower in a western country as the Netherlands. With a high number of people stating that they consider their jobs as 'bullshit jobs', many people feel their job does not contribute to this world in a meaningful way. And that while we live in times of climate change, rising numbers of burnouts and depressions and a level of welfare that would make it perfectly possible to make different choices.

 

At Meaningful Work, we advocate for change. Being a successful individual or organization will become more and more dependent on what you actually contribute to a better world, either in small or bigger terms. Focusing on what you contribute empowers and motivates your workforce, gives employees a sense of belonging, drastically lowers the numbers of fall-outs, wins you the war on talent, boosts your sales and ultimately makes you and the people around you live a more fulfilled life. In order to drive change, and based on research and best practices, we work from our basic principles:

The principles of Meaningful Work

1. From a focus on profit and growth, we need to shift towards a focus on meaning, by putting a company's purpose and their employee happiness central. Where we now consider Corporate Social Responsibility and employee satisfaction rates as constraints, we need to realize it's actually our primary goal, if we don't want our organizations to contribute to nothing. If done in the right way, focusing on society added value and employee happiness benefits your levels of profitability.

2. Organizations should become more democratic and have a high level of individual responsibilityauthority and value. This enables organizations to become more agile, to strengthen employee value and engagement and reflect the diversity of the workforce in board rooms. With higher levels of responsibility, authority and value, employees become more motivated and productive and engagement levels rise drastically.

3. Organizations should rethink their organization structure from the classical pyramid with silos and policies based on KPI's towards a network of teams. Levels of bureaucracy become far lower and employees experience more self-determination and impact.

4. Organization cultures have to evolve around freedom, trust and values and therewith envoke higher levels of professional maturity. Employees are herewith empowered and enabled to take their responsibilities and on the work floor, altruïsm and social bonding reach next levels.

5. Careers have to be redefined. From the classical 'climbing of the corporate ladder', a shift is to be made towards developing talents  in order to grow mastery and impact. Reward structures have to be aligned accordingly in order to change the appreciation criterium from 'the higher the better' towards 'the more value the better'.

6. Jobs have to be redefined. Instead of defining job profiles and search for new employees that fit them, job definitions should be built around the talents, skills and experience of new employees in order to get the most out of them.

7. Organizations have to rethink work rules and environment in order to comply with employees' social and biological needs. Office hours, holidays, workplace design and corporate facilities should not try to fit employee's in predetermined schedules and workplaces, but employees should be allowed to follow their own biological rythms, take breaks and off-time to their own needs and cocreate the desired workplace. In this way, productivity and welbeing levels rise drastically.

8. Organizations and individuals should be aware of the biological and social impact of technology and make technology work for them instead of the other way around. By limiting screen hours, email traffic, online communication, digital producting and working towards physical and tangible results in the real instead of the virtual world, higher levels of satisfaction, social interaction and fulfillment are reached.