Engaging Employees in Meaningful Work Isn’t Just for Non-Profits

“Finding meaning is about being engaged,” writes author Aaron Hurst in the New York Times. “Having a purpose isn’t necessarily about what a company makes or sells, but rather, it’s about how the workers approach their day.”

At Tribe, we work to engage employees in the vision of the company they work for. Although it’s easier to help employees find meaning by working for an organization addressing world hunger or cancer research, almost any company can be driven by a purpose that fills a human need. The purpose of a tire company might be helping people arrive safely; an office supply manufacturer may have a vision of supporting entrepreneurism.

Yet our workforce is increasingly turning to volunteer work to find that sense of meaning. ”In much of the non-profit world, there are more volunteers than there are spots,” Hurst says. “This demand to volunteer masks a broader problem in our society. It points to the lack of purpose that we experience in our jobs.”

Even a paying gig for a non-profit is no guarantee of meaningful work, however. Hurst points out that there are plenty of menial jobs in the non-profit sector. “Their organization may be doing inspiring work in the world, but the day-to-day job doesn’t generate much involvement.”

Perhaps finding meaningful work has more to do with the individual than the organization. That’s why it’s so important to help employees see the role they each play in contributing to the overall company vision. And to have top management recognize and communicate their appreciation for those contributions.

This vein of thought also supports the need for personal and professional growth as important elements of the Employee Value Proposition. A company that invests in their employees’ development is helping them to find more meaning in their work, if only that they see themselves progressing in their own careers.

Another key factor in meaningful work is the human connections employees make within the company. Working with a team of talented people, or even a group of people who laugh a lot at work, can be engaging. Strong relationships with managers, and even seeing the company’s leadership team as human beings and not just titles, help build engagement.

It all circles back to what we at Tribe consider one of the most important measures of engagement: When you wake up in the morning, are you excited about going to work? If your employees can say that, then you’re on the right track.



Four Tips for a Successful Engagement Survey

When crafted and administered thoughtfully, employee surveys can provide invaluable feedback. Obtaining honest employee feedback is an essential step to improving engagement and productivity. However, there is a lot more than goes into a survey than writing up some questions and sending a mass email. To help make your survey a success, we’ve developed a list of our top four tips to always keep in mind.

Show your support. Senior management buy-in on an employee engagement survey is a must. Showcasing the business reasons for the survey is a great jumping off point, but without the support of your executive team there’s a change the survey will fall flat. To get over this hurdle, facilitate meetings with your executive team to give them an opportunity to voice any concerns and take part in the concepting.

Keep it short and sweet. Tribe’s recommendation is to keep employee surveys to less than 25 questions, and the survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. Throwing a lengthy survey out to employees could hurt your completion percentage. If strategically written, survey length can usually be significantly slimmed down without compromising the analysis and results.

Be clear on the survey’s anonymity. Employees are much more likely to respond candidly and honestly if they know you won’t be able to trace their answers back to them. Using too many demographic questions can sometimes make employees feel like as if you are trying to track respondents. Working with a third-party vendor like Tribe can also contribute to employees feeling more secure in their responses.

Deliver on your promise. One of the worst things you can do after delivering a survey is not following up. Communicating that your survey will affect change will empower your employees and managers to speak openly about their challenges and suggestions. Think of the reasons you are administering the survey and be prepared to take action on what you uncover. If nothing else, you can share the survey results with your employees.

When Developing Mobile Intranets, Think About What Makes a Good App

We used to say that companies hoping to attract and retain the top Gen X talent absolutely had to have an intranet. That generation has grown up with the world wide web at their fingertips, and they expect to be able to find whatever information they’re looking for online.

Now we talk a great deal about how important it is for Millennial employees to be able to access the intranet from their phones. At Tribe, we’ve gotten in the habit of developing the graphic design of intranets in the mobile format before the online version because we find it easier to adapt mobile to monitor than vice versa.

Actually, we should probably be thinking of the mobile version as its own animal entirely. People use smartphones for many of the same things they use their computers for, but they don’t use them in the same way. Designing a better mobile intranet might mean thinking of it as an app.

One of the most important hurdles to cross in creating a well-trafficked intranet is to make it easy to get to.  For mobile intranets, we can take a cue from the app designers. “Successful apps offer ease, convenience and functionality so users can simply open them up instead of resorting to using a browser, such as Safari,” says Emilie Futterman in a recent post on designing apps that appeal to Millennials.

Those of us planning mobile intranets might also take note of another point Futterman makes about successful apps. “Pocket, Uber, and ScoreCenter are successful because they’re not asking users to create new behaviors: calling for a car, checking sports scores, and catching up on news on your commute aren’t new habits,” she writes. “Instead, they’re disrupting existing routines by providing the same services conveniently at millennials’ fingertips.”

As our working population continues to include more and more Millennials, we’ve also become a more mobile workforce. Now that even your mother has an iPhone, we might expect that what works for the young ones would likely work for the rest of us as well.