Training Industry Magazine - Spring 2014 - (Page 13)

GENERATIONS @ WORK NOT JUST FOR MILLENNIALS - DR. TASHA EURICH MEANINGFUL WORK: Americans spend at least half of our waking hours at work. Given the role work plays in our lives, most people strive for a sense of purpose and meaning in what we do. What precisely constitutes meaning can be different for everyone. But often, it's a desire to make a ding in the universe. just means that meaning is equally important for everyone, regardless of generation, and organizations must cultivate it for all employees. makes possible. When examined from the right perspective, every employee is creating a positive impact - it's up to their leader to help them identify it. THE LEADER'S ROLE IN CULTIVATING MEANING In recent years, many have anecdotally observed that, compared to other generations, millennials have a greater hunger for meaningful work. But few of these observations are empirically verified. In a review of research on generational differences, Jean Twenge examined multiple studies and found no evidence that millennials place a greater importance on meaningful work than other generations. Leaders have a significant role in helping their employees gain a sense of meaning in their work, regardless of their role. Work by Kim Cameron, co-founder of the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship, reviews myriad benefits when leaders create meaning: employees are more engaged, committed, happier, and healthier. Meaning even improves performance. Link Their Role to Their Values Another way to help employees find meaning is to connect their work to their personal values. To do this, leaders must understand what's important to their employees - what values drive them? For example, if you have a customer service representative who considers herself a "people person" and volunteers at a local food bank, her manager can help her see the contribution she's making to her customers' well-being by working with them to resolve their issues. MEANING IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE, REGARDLESS OF GENERATION. In his op-ed in The New York Times, Samuel Ware put it best. "What," the 23 year-old millennial asks, "makes my generation so different from all prior generations and those to come? Doesn't each generation struggle with balancing meaning and happiness, work and play, selfish interests and communal obligations?" So, if millennials are no more likely than anyone else to seek meaningful work, what does this mean for organizations? Certainly, it doesn't mean that companies should pay any less attention to cultivating meaning - it In one study of 208 telephone company employees, when they were doing work that personally mattered to them, their performance was significantly higher than those whose work lacked meaning. Therefore, for leaders striving to ensure happy people and drive bottom-line results, meaning matters. THREE 'MEANING CREATING' LEADERSHIP BEHAVIORS Training and development professionals have the opportunity to improve organizational performance by teaching their leaders to cultivate meaning. Show Them the Impact of What They Do Smart leaders create a line of sight between employees' daily activities and their impact on the company, community, and even society as a whole. When talking with employees, leaders should be clear about what their work T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MA GAZ INE - SPRING20 1 4 I WWW.TRAINI NGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE Connect Them with the Company's Mission When leaders can inspire passion about the company's mission, everyone's jobs become infinitely more meaningful. Leaders need to help employees see the impact their job has on the company's performance; this helps them see their critical role in the organization's success. Remember, meaning isn't just for millennials. In today's business world, companies are constantly pushed to do more with less - training and development professionals can add substantial value by teaching their leaders to impart meaning. And, isn't that powerful contribution a meaningful act in and of itself? Perhaps we can really have it all. Dr. Tasha Eurich is an organizational psychologist, speaker and author of "Bankable Leadership." Email Tasha. 13

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - Spring 2014

From Where I Sit
Table of Contents
Guest Editor: Do You Feel Lucky?
Network Performance: The Power of Social Learning and Behavior
Meaningful Work: Not Just for Millennials
Four Levels of Engagement
What L&D Professionals Need to Know about Gamification
Enhancing Learning with Social Media
Gamification in Sales Training: Seven Critical Considerations Before the Games Begin
Let the Disruption Begin: Social Media and the Great Expansion of Enterprise Learning
Learning Made Fun: Gadgets, Games and a Safe Place to Explore
How Silicon Valley Inspired an Era of Social Learning
How Games Drive Learning
Roll the Dice: Learning with Board Games
Casebook: BAE Systems: Speeding the Business of Learning through Collaboration and Knowledge Management
Salespeople, Coaching and Gamification
Three Ways to Make Learning More Engaging
Stop Creating Dysfunctional Relationships with Employees
What's Online
Company News

Training Industry Magazine - Spring 2014