Employee motivation: a question of meaning

What intrinsically motivates people in their job is meaning. Anyone who understands the meaning of their own work will work with enthusiasm. Find out how managers can promote a sense of meaning.

Mavie editorial team26/01/2024


Meaning is a powerful intrinsic motivator, but how do we determine how meaningful our work is to us? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Significance. Does what I do have a meaningful benefit for other people? Is what I do important or irrelevant?
  • Orientation. Is the direction of my own work (values, mission, vision, goals) clear to me?
  • Coherence. Do work goals harmonize with personal life goals? Do professional activities complement one another in a meaningful way?
  • Belonging. Do I feel part of a larger whole? Do I feel identification with the company and the responsibility that comes with it?

How managers promote a sense of purpose and motivation

  • Explain overarching connections and goals (the big picture) so that your employees can classify their own contribution. In this way you promote a sense of belonging, orientation and coherence.
  • “Design” tasks that you receive from your superiors to make sense for your employees. Don't just assign tasks, but translate them. This strengthens the loyalty of your team.
  • Make your employees aware of who feels what effects of their work. This makes it easier for them to experience the significance of their professional activities.
  • Make decisions as understandable as possible. Explain to those employees who were involved in your decision-making and who had a different opinion why you decided differently. This will get them back on board.
  • Carefully investigate the reasons why goals are not achieved or timelines are not adhered to. These are often not the personal failures of individuals.
  • When there are conflicts between your employees, don’t look away. Conflicts often result from contradictory work structures. As a manager, you are responsible for correcting them.
  • Criticism in private is appreciative. Criticism in front of the entire team quickly amounts to public humiliation and damages the sense of belonging.

You can also provide greater clarity at these levels

  • Are our processes clear?
  • Are our decisions clear?
  • Is our meeting culture clear?
  • Is our error culture clear?

Get active now

Our Mavie Counsellors will help you with professional and private issues. Get in touch and make an appointment for a personal counselling (assuming your company has a contract with Mavie). Call our hotline on +43 1 585 388 1 or email: kontakt@maviework.care.
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