Sustaining Real Organisational Experience In Covid-19 Pandemic: Meaningful Work

In our previous article, we featured Supportive Management, a key component that contributes to providing employees with a positive employee experience top attract, inspire and retain valued employees and talents.

In this article, we will be sharing with you on how your organisation can still provide positive employee experience through Meaningful Work in Covid19 times

Chip Conley, author of PEAK, found that when employees experienced high meaning in work and high meaning at work, they were inspired at their workplace. Experiencing Meaning In Work happens when people are assigned with a job that matches what they like doing. Meaning At Work is present when employees find the organisation’s mission inline with their mission and find it worth doing. For example,  a person who likes and believes in helping the under-privileged or troubled people in the society will find meaning in being a social worker despite its lower pay compared to other jobs. Nurses  who love to help others would risk their lives fighting Covid19 at the frontline.  

When employees experience both Meaning In Work and Meaning At Work, they are completely inspired to excel and stay longer with their organisation.

For more than 2 decades and still on-going, we have designed and implemented OD interventions for our MNC clients. One thing that we have observed that is common to most employees is, people want to have meaningfulness in what they do and stay long with their organisations.

Having a good pay package is not the key to keeping employees inspired beyond motivation. An article from Harvard Business Review cited that “9 out 10 people are willing to earn less money to do more meaningful work” and give up to 23% of their pay for in exchange for meaningful work.  

It further claimed: “Our study found that people today find their work only about half as meaningful as it could be. We also found that only 1 in 20 respondents rated their current jobs as providing the most meaningful work they could imagine having. This gap presents both a challenge and an opportunity for employers. Top talent can demand what they want, including meaning, and will jump ship if they don’t get it. Employers must respond or lose talent and productivity. Building greater meaning in the workplace is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s an imperative.”If this is also reflective of Asian employees with regards to job meaningfulness over pay, then organisations in Asia certainly need to take on both this challenge and opportunity to create a platform where job meaningfulness can be enhanced.

Given the on-going Covid19 pandemic and the resurgence of the virus in many countries across the globe, the WFH practice and having less human interactions are expected to be the way forward for many organisations for a long time to come. This might inadvertently cause employees to lose their focus on the reasons on why they do what they do in their organisations. Organisation Leaders can take on this challenge and at the same time opportunity, to ensure the meaningfulness of the job is not lost.

Here are some suggestions on how you can help employees find and sustain inspiration in their work and the organisation:

  1. Review Life and Organisational Mission: Have a session to review your employees’ life mission and discuss how the organisation mission could resonate with their life mission.
  2. Co-recreate Job Description: Revisit the Job Description of employees and co-create an enhanced version of the JD that would appeal to them and also help the organisation move forward towards its mission.
  3. Focus on employee Strength: Leverage the strengths of employees to place the “right" person on the right “seat”.
  4. Give Employees Autonomy: Give employees the autonomy over how their work can be done productively.
  5. Encourage Innovations: Encourage innovations and allow room for mistakes that should be treated as lessons learnt.
  6. Make Heroes: Make heroes out of employees through appreciation and affirmation initiatives. Do not wait till performance appraisal time to give feedback. Do it on scheduled and regular basis.
  7. Remove Obstacles: Provide them with your support to remove obstacles and put in place the needed Enablers ( systems, processes, manpower, development programmes.
  8. Allow Free Time: Allocate some time in the week for employees to do their self-initiated projects that will support the organisation’s mission.

In summary, Meaningful Work is among the 6 key components that drive a positive employee experience, a precursor to employee retention.

For the other related articles on Sustaining Real Organisational Experience In Covid-19 Pandemic, click the link for more.

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