The #1 Driver for Creating the “Best Job We Ever Had”
Do you feel like your current job is the “Best Job You’ve Ever Had?” Why or why not?
Does it feel like a fairy tale to create that ideal scenario for you or the members of your team?
Fortunately, meaning, passion, purpose, and significance are closer than you think.
Author, speaker, and cultural researcher Seth Godin surveyed over 10,000 people in 90 countries to find out what exactly makes a job exceptional. Time and again he saw four key responses:
1) I surprised myself with what I could accomplish
2) I could work independently
3) The team built something important
4) People treated me with dignity and respect
Notably, pay—though certainly a key part of the equation and a necessary outcome of our efforts—did not make the list for what exactly made a role the “best job they ever had.”
Ultimate fulfillment, joy, engagement, and passion came from these four characteristics and from leadership that knew how to create the ideal conditions for the employee’s gifts, talents, and humanity to shine.
Machines vs. Meaning
Traditional work in the industrial age was all about making work as efficient, repeatable, and systemized as possible. We were creating factories that would allow us to continually create more, faster, and for less money than ever.
Seth says there are some roles that still require management in this sense. The fast food restaurant has mastered the assembly line and is continually refining every small detail of the product delivery process to increase efficiency, decrease costs, and improve margins.
Even in healthcare, we have plenty of scenarios where we, too, must continually improve efficiency, do more with less, and be increasingly more productive than yesterday. We still need management principles to help us keep costs low and refine our processes to provide better outcomes for our patients.
However, especially with the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, we need all leaders to not just operate from the management mentality, but to lead with humanity and heart to help us truly make a meaningful difference and change the world for the better.
The Human Touch
We’ve all heard about jobs that are sure to be replaced by AI technology, but the one thing that can never be replicated or replaced in healthcare is our heart, passion, connection with our patients, and our humanity.
Seth posits that organizations of any size can effectively move forward by asking, “What do humans need? What will create significance for those who interact with us? What does the earth want?”
We must start every endeavor in tune with the change we want to make and how it matters to the people we work with and the people we’ll serve.
He recommends kicking off every initiative by outlining:
–What’s the specific change this team is going to make?
-What’s my personal role in making that change happen?
-What do I need to learn to support or lead this change?
-Who needs to help me and who needs my help?
-What’s the risk for us, for me, the people we serve?
-What’s the timing of this project? What’s the budget?
-What am I afraid of?
-What’s the benefit to each party involved?
Make a Promise and Keep it
To do work of substance and significance, we need to clearly define the promises we’re making and what we need to do as individuals and as a team to keep that promise.
We need to be very clear on how we add value to others, and many times, that answer can’t be found inside a manual or written down in a script. We can’t simply follow a templated process, go through the motions, and hope for the best when we’re dealing with real human customers and patients and striving to meet their deep, human needs.
While the key functions and expectations of each role may be defined, each of one us will bring a unique perspective, history, disposition, point of connection, and insight to everything we do. It’s precisely when each of us is able to bring forth those personal traits that we can make the biggest difference in the world and live a life of significance.
We need to show up fully each and every day, bringing our very best to each task, and connecting and collaborating with other passionate and engaged humans to transform the world around us.
As leaders, showing up fully present and committed, we must cast a powerful vision for the change we wish to make and then invite others along for the journey. We must be clear with our teams what success looks like and then create the conditions for the right people to get involved and engage in the conversation, to make a promise about what we’ll do together to make the change, and then to organize the process so that our change and impact can be implemented.
Then, we must continually coach and guide our teams around the promise we’ve made and make any adjustments that may be needed along the way.
Significance Comes from High Trust, High Stakes Work
When we set a foundation of deep connection, honesty, accountability, and trust and take on challenges with great importance and high stakes, we create the conditions for our teams to experience greater joy, satisfaction, and significance in their work.
Our employees are craving opportunities to stretch their skills, commit to work of importance, have a bigger impact, and do it all within a connected, collaborative, and supportive team.
Essentially, we’re all seeking to do work that matters with people who care.
In healthcare, we’ve got no higher stakes than our sacred responsibility to extend and improve human life. Our patients are putting their very lives in our hands and there’s no more important or more challenging work than helping to make our patients’ lives better.
Putting It to Work
Take some time this week to reflect on the promises we’ve made to our patients—the unwritten, unspoken agreements about how we have said we can be Making More Possible in their lives. Have we been living up to our promise? Are we taking the importance of this work seriously? Have we been worthy of their trust? How can we continue to bring even more of ourselves to the task each and every day?
With our employees, let’s ask the same questions. Have we as their leaders given them ample opportunities to participate in high impact, high stakes work within a trusting, supportive, and collaborative team? Have we created the right environment and the ideal conditions for them to challenge themselves, be part of something bigger, and surprise themselves with what they could accomplish? Have we cultivated trust and accountability and have we treated them with dignity and respect?
On a personal level, look back on the best job you ever had. Did your role meet all four of the key drivers Seth identified in his research? In that role were you inspired by building something important with your team, surprised by what you could accomplish, trusted to work with autonomy, and treated with dignity and respect?
If you’re missing any of these conditions in your present role, what adjustments could you make to reignite your passion for making a meaningful change? Bring these ideas to your leader to help deepen your commitment, engagement, and desire for your work.
TALENT TRACKS: Building an Engaged Workforce
As we work to cultivate the right conditions for our employees to experience more meaning, impact, and significance, there are even more tactical things we can do to cultivate that passion, dedication, and engagement within our teams.
In the “Building an Engaged Workforce” course from TalentTracks, we learn what employee engagement is and how it differs from employee satisfaction, how rounding and coaching are our key assets in helping to build engagement, and how creating an engaged workforce can help us decrease errors, increase margins, and improve patient care.
Key Ideas from the Course:
-Engagement is productive energy. Engaged employees expend productive energy in the workplace which means they not only perform their roles, but they add value.
-Engaged employees use “discretionary effort” which means they demonstrate initiative, they help others, and they go above and beyond.
-Engagement in a role is different than being satisfied with a role. A satisfied employee is generally happy at work but doesn’t necessarily expend any extra effort.
-The key difference between satisfied and engaged employees is emotional connection.
-Engagement matters! When employees are engaged there are 49% fewer accidents, 37% less absenteeism, 16% higher productivity, and 60% fewer defects on work product.
-Additional intangible benefits from engagement include:
*More positive culture and “feel” within an organization
*Easier to recruit new staff members
*Easier to retain seasoned staff members
*Higher physician satisfaction and engagement
*Improved patient satisfaction and customer loyalty
–As a leader, we can increase engagement from our staff by improving trust, offering simple and sincere recognition, providing two-way, ongoing communication, and creating opportunities for professional growth.
-Rounding and huddles are some of our greatest opportunities for building positive connection with our employees. Rounding is most effective when we involve senior leaders and managers and when we take the information gained during these moments of connection to make positive improvements at our organization.
Dig deeper into key tactics you can use as a leader to build engagement with the “Building an Engaged Workforce” course from TalentTracks.
Take what you’ve learned and apply it to your leadership to help increase connection, meaning, and significance for your employees.