It’s true. I do still read print newspaper. It’s not so much by effort as it is by convenience and simplicity. I receive a subscription to the Gwinnett Daily Post as free benefit of continuing to pay Charter Communications a small ransom each month for cable TV. The paper covers local news for the county I live in and picks up some AP stories for national news. What I like about it is it’s small and something I can scan quickly for news of interest to me.
This past Saturday, they published a column article from Lisa McLeod entitled People don’t like their job due to lack of connection. Lisa points out that statistically, many workers are disengaged from their workplace because they don’t have the connection and meaning they want.
It was a timely article. Just this week I met with a co-worker on his last day on the job after he resigned two weeks earlier. Through the course of our conversation it became apparent that he didn’t have a good connection to those above him in the organizational chart and he was not finding meaning within the organization. Now understand, he’s a bright guy and a hard worker. But he wasn’t fully connected to the where the organization is headed.
I believe the point of Lisa McLeod’s article was spot-on target with what I observed from my co-worker. I don’t blame him for feeling unconnected and disengaged as I think it’s a dual responsibility between the manager and employee to find connection and meaning at work.
Since I’ve worked in IT and now marketing during my career, I have seen how business engagement works within the two organizations. In marketing and sales there emphasis is on company strategy, revenue, sales, and client resigns. In IT, the focus and business engagement is usually around systems, costs, and processes. This creates an opportunity for IT organizations. People value meaning in their work effort, and true business meaning comes with understanding how the work they are completing drives revenue, reduces cost, and enhances customer relationships.
Something I did recently when I was asked to manage a team at work was to define mission and purpose of our group as a piece of the larger the organization. My intent was to provide the team with connection to each other and a connection to the work of the organization. Here’s an edited version of what we created:
Mission (why our organization exists):
Enable the value drivers of the organization to help clients:
- Increase revenue
- Reduce expenses
- Enhance their customer relationships across internet, phone, and client channels.
Purpose (why we exist within the organization)
Create revenue by:
- Enabling customer self-service web and phone channels by selling, servicing and managing company products and services.
- Enabling clients to be more effective and efficient when making product and service choices on behalf of their customers.
- Helping internal stakeholders to be relevant and credible to company clients by guiding, recommending, and enabling technology that produces customer interaction.
If you’re a manager leading people, I’d be interested to know how you create connection and meaning with your employees. Is this something difficult or easy for you?