Hi there and welcome. It’s Kerstin Jatho here from 4Seeds Consulting, a transformational coach who helps people shift from languishing to flourishing. In today’s video, I want to talk to you about eight ways to help employees find meaning in their work. Do you know if your work matters? What would happen if you don’t go to work for a week, two weeks, three weeks, a month, three months? Would anybody notice? Would anybody miss you? Would it leave an impact? Where would the void be?

So that is the question. What meaning does your work bring to you as well as others? As human beings, we are meaning-making machines. We want to understand that we have an impact on the world. We want to know that we touch somebody’s life. If we don’t, then work just becomes another task, a chore, and a very long day.

So, if you look at meaning in the work environment, we really have to separate between meaning at work and meaning in work. Meaning at work is about the social connections you have, the people you connect with. So, it’s that interaction, the collaboration and, you know, working together with people. So that’s meaning you find at work, which obviously has a significant impact and gives a huge contribution to our work.

But the one that is really most important is finding meaning in work. And we are coming back to connecting values to tasks. If you cannot find the value system or connect your values to your tasks, then your work becomes meaningless, and you don’t understand the purpose of “Why am I actually doing this? Anybody could be doing it.”

So, meaning is exceptionally important in the workplace and has really picked up significantly as a topic, especially because the younger generation is continuously asking “what meaning am I giving to the world? Where am I adding value? What is my worth in this workplace?”

Eight ways to find meaning in the workplace are:

Step 1

Firstly, identify what your values are. And that might sound easy, but very often people don’t even know what they value, and I’m not talking about the big values, like family or hobbies or physical health, but it’s deeper than that. What do you really value? Is it achievement? Is it recognition? Is it about making an impact? Is it about collaboration? What is it where you find meaning? So, think about if you don’t have it, if it gets taken away from you, what will happen? Would you feel any different? Would there be a void? And if the answer is yes, then that is something you value.

Step 2

The second one is always thinking about what do you say yes to when learning? What is it that you appreciate about this learning? Is it about the knowledge? Is it about sharing it? Is it about utilising it? What is it about learning and development and what is it, which part of learning and development do you enjoy? That again adds value.

Step 3

The third one is how do your values align with your goals? Because where is the meaning in that?

Step 4

The fourth one that adds meaning is, what do you like to thrive on? What excites you and why? Because not everything that is presented to you, you enjoy. So, certain challenges you get excited about and you immediately volunteer, which is one of the other points.

Step 5

Volunteering. Understand why you say yes to something and what excites you? Because there is meaning in that. You will not raise your hand or do something if you do not have a meaningful connection to it.

Step 6

The sixth point is to look around you, who are the people who inspire you? That is your tribe, that you draw positive energy from, because they are valuable to you, and you get meaning from them.

Step 7

The seventh point is: where do you always get feedback from? What do people say that you are naturally good at? Because that provides a clue on a) what your values are, and b) where you show meaning.

Bonus Step

And the very last one is, which comes to your strengths because if you use your strengths, you naturally tap into your meaning.

So, these eight points are perhaps not as clear-cut as indicated. But it’s really about understanding the value that you provide to others. Go and question that, “where do I add value?” Perhaps look at networks that you are in, social connections, and if you don’t show up for a certain time period, what do people say. Do they say they missed you? And if so, what did they miss about you?

Because that is your meaning component, and the same happens in a work environment. Understand what you find meaning in. So, as leaders, this is part of having one on one conversations with your team and really unpacking what they value and what they find meaning in. Perhaps even give them the freedom to explore or dabble in some tasks that are not part of their normal job function or role, because they enjoy them.

Over to you for sharing your comments and experiences.

How do you establish meaning to your work?

About the Author: Kerstin Jatho

Kerstin is the senior transformational coach and team development facilitator for 4Seeds Consulting. She is also the author of Growing Butterfly Wings, a book on applying positive psychology principles during a lengthy recovery. Her passion is to develop people-centred organisations where people thrive and achieve their potential in the workplace. You can find Kerstin on LinkedIn, Soundcloud, YouTube and Facebook.

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