Does work have to be meaningful for a company to succeed? Research has shown time and again that employees who find meaning at work are more successful. Does that mean every role in the workplace needs to be connected to a higher purpose or serve an obvious good in the world? Not necessarily.

Every role should be clearly defined both in terms of responsibilities and function in the overall goal and mission of the company. They, however don’t all have to have a direct impact on the world. You can have meaningful work whether you’re doing data entry or managing a department. One study suggests that the job itself doesn’t have to feel meaningful. But there should be meaningful moments sprinkled throughout the days and weeks.

It’s also important to understand that meaning isn’t found. It’s created. Here are some fun and surprising ways you can create meaning for yourself at work and teach your employees to do the same.


Job Crafting

Job crafting is the active way employees take charge of their job design to enjoy and get meaning out of work. For example, a restaurant cook may change their perception of food from merely a product to an artistic medium. In doing so, they increase the meaningfulness of their job while also elevating the quality of their product.

You can encourage your employees to try job crafting in their own roles. Check in with their results and encourage them to share ideas with you and the team.


Create Meaningful Moments

Go out of your way to set up times to connect with your colleagues and employees, whether one-on-one or as a group. Make these moments fun and non-work related. Building friendships with people at work helps create meaning, fun and memorable moments. This in return increases morale and happiness in the workplace.

Ideas for meaningful moments include lunch dates, taking a walk, creating a social channel in your workplace communication app, bonding over shared interests (book clubs, TV series, running, etc.), staff appreciation moments and more.


Remembering the Good Times

It turns out that nostalgia can be a powerful force for positivity in the workplace. One article describes the power of nostalgia for strengthening teams, increasing retention and boosting creativity and inspiration. That’s because nostalgia is more than just remembering the good times. It’s also a moment for people to reflect and reframe their thinking.

You can encourage nostalgic reflection through conversation or sharing photo memories on social media or in your company’s communication app. Facebook has a feature where it brings up memories from the same date in previous years, which is a good idea for promoting moments of reflection.


Giving Back

People get meaning from giving. Whether it’s paying for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop or volunteering at a charitable organisation, all ranges of giving back are helpful in creating a meaningful life. Each person in your organisation has gifts and passions. Maybe one person is great at baking. Maybe another enjoys photography. Make the office environment friendly to random acts of kindness. Encourage your team to be themselves and share their gifts with the rest of the office.

Ultimately, finding meaning at work is about making yourself at home, forming relationships and finding joy in the little things. It’s about leaders recognising their workers as people with full, well-rounded lives and work as just one part of their complex days. It’s about shared respect and the willingness to have a little fun.

Culture is everything when it comes to successful hiring and retention. OLAM Group can offer advice or even help create a competitive culture for your organisation. We are your outsourced HR support wing for small to mid-sized organisations. Contact us today.