Meaning at Work: The New Tie Breaker for Finding Employees in 2021
The Israeli Hi-Tech industry does not stop for a second. With a record-breaking number of new IPOs, startup exits, expansions into global markets, and unicorns (companies valued over $1 billion), more and more companies are growing - and the demand for talent is skyrocketing. While the gap between supply and demand continues to grow, star employees are often fought over between different companies.
High salaries, cozy working conditions, elaborate vacations, and grandiose campaigns - these are all some of the means used to win over the best employees. It begins with recruiting and continues on a different front - retaining the new and current employees.
It’s true, even when a successful company manages to hire an employee, it has no guarantee that they will stay on for a long period of time. Recent studies show that the average lifespan of an employee is only 14 months. Competition continues to dominate the landscape: whether through billboard campaigns on the Ayalon highway or company-wide flights to exotic destinations. Employers need to constantly seek out their competitive edge.
But what do you do when the market is in equilibrium? When are the differences in companies' salaries and working conditions trivial? What happens when every company is willing to give you everything you can ask for - social benefits, catering services, a gym - what do you do then?.
The answer: You give meaning
Lately, more organizations and managers we meet are expressing interest in focusing on the company’s vision and values, which gives employees real meaning and will help them feel more connected to the company culture. CEOs and senior directors understand and feel the difference but usually can’t recognize why this is really important for them. So what do we mean when we say ‘meaning at work’? Is this just a passing trend or something that should make managers recalculate their next steps?
Employees actually seek meaning; it’s not a slogan
A sense of meaningfulness at work is created when an employee feels appreciated and has the ability to make an impact. Their role is important when expressing themselves, suggesting ideas, and fulfilling their personal and professional skills. In recent years, and especially since the Coronavirus pandemic, more people are asking themselves questions like "Why am I here?", "Why am I doing this?" and "Is this my true calling?”.
According to a recent report: Gen Z CSR: How to Speak Z, 83% of generation Z (loosely, people born from 1995 to 2010) look for a job that will give them meaning. Just like Jessie J sings in her famous song, It's Not About The Money. And based on another research done by BetterUp, 9 out of 10 workers are willing to give up part of their salary for a job that will give them more meaning in life.
That’s incredible! Giving meaning to what we do really helps us to recruit new employees. But how can we make them stay longer and not leave us for a different company after a short time? According to research done by PWC, a leading consultancy firm, employees who feel connected to the company’s values and feel meaningful to its success are 5.3 times more likely to stay in the workplace. But despite that, only 27% of managers help their employees feel meaningful.
Having a sense of meaning improves an employee’s lifespan quality and his/her level of joy at work, according to a study by McKinsey in 2021. Workers who feel that their job is fulfilling and gives them meaning report major improvements in other aspects of work and personal life, such as higher energy levels, more satisfaction, ambitiousness, and a sense of pride.
The strong connection between work and meaning helps a company recruit new employees and retain them over time, but it doesn’t end there: It also impacts its performance. Workers who feel meaningful will be much more productive and profitable for the organization. They will work harder, give more time and energy, miss fewer workdays, and generate more profit for the company.
To sum things up: a good salary and day-to-day perks are important for attracting new employees, but that’s not enough. encourage your workers to feel meaningful at work. Let them lead projects that matter to them and give them satisfaction, connect them to the company’s vision and values, and combine their personal values and sense of meaning to their work. Let them take part in the impact your company is making on the world, and you will enjoy happier, more productive, and more loyal workers.
Now, that’s how you can really break a tie!