Creating Meaning at Work: Examples
In my last post, I discussed the difference between meaning in and meaning at work, as well as promising to go over some examples and ideas today. Quick refresher: “meaning at work,” which we’re discussing here, refers to how employees feel about their working environment, the company they work for, and the core values or beliefs the company stands for. The importance of “meaning at work” is giving employees a since that they’re working for something greater, that there’s some point to what they do beyond earning a paycheck.
There’s connection here to something I talked about way back when in another post, in which I argued that making every employee — regardless at the level of their position in your business, restaurant, what-have-you — feel valued and important is a great way to boost moral and efficiency. Employees who feel like their work means something or adds to the experience of others (who they care about) in some way are far more likely to do a good job and show up with a positive attitude. One key aspect of this, company-wide, is presenting a core mission or value that is appealing and positive to both customers and employees. Many examples exist.
Panera Bread, for instance, offers this mission statment: “A loaf of bread in every arm.”
Starbucks stands by the statement: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
There’re others to look at, but most do approximately the same thing. The mission statements don’t necessarily scream “business strategy” — there’s little mention of selling, making money, etc. An implied service is offered, of course, and it’s usually one that exemplifies some strong moral or ethical value or code: feeding the hungry or nurturing the communal human spirit, in these examples. And that’s the idea — you’re getting across the idea to your current or prospective employees that your company stands for something more than making a quick buck; you want to help people, to feed people, to make people feel whole and happy. The employee, then, tries to provide these benefits to the customer through friendly customer service and professional, efficient work. Additionally, her or she is reassured that the company/business wishes to do the same positive things for its employees. A family or community vibe is created — something I’ve discussed the importance of often.
There’re a lot of things you can do to make your workplace more positive, more communal, and more efficient. A clean space, a well-designed restaurant, a friendly group of employees who communicate well and provide great customer service. The point is that it’s important — it’s not just about making and selling food; it’s about creating a positive community and space for everyone involved. And it’ll show financial dividends if you give it time.
I’ll be back at the start of the week. Until then, leave a comment below or contact us here.