In the last few years, finding leaders’ innovative and creative talents has become an arms race. In order to attract the best and smartest people, whether young or old, companies need to seek answers to questions that come from the practicalities of daily life about the value of human activity at work. Since then, the definition of “Good work” was born. The “Good Work” that people desire must include the following two values: learning valuable experiences and desires to contribute to employees’ own values to their companies.
Today, how do people define “good work“? First of all, it is considered a job with good welfare, high salaries, employees’ autonomy and control over their work as well as opportunities for advancement in the future. They believe when inspired by their own works, they can help businesses create sustainable values. Because they can exactly give customers the experience that customers really want without hesitating. Some other ideas also add that a perfect job must include the factors of balance and life enjoyment.
It is hard to deny that providing a truly “good work” experience provides a significant competitive advantage for businesses and countries because it provides better productivity and income for workers. Therefore, businesses can consider and put more effort to achieve this title.
There are five specific areas that organizations should focus on to relieve stress for employees from the concerns they are having. They are minimizing exhaustion and increasing the enthusiasm for work, building social resilience, encouraging agility and adaptability, “intrapreneurship” and providing autonomy for employees.
1. Minimize exhaustion
Organizations must ensure that their activities and workflows do not exploit employees. Some studies have shown that 20% of the highest performing employees have exhausted expressions. They have mixed feelings in their work: They show that enthusiasm goes against high stress. Companies need to consider this issue before losing the company’s industrious talents.
Exhibit 1: Employees’ enthusiasm goes against high stress in the workplace
Recommendation: Be proactive in managing workloads and spending time restoring strength for an effective working day. Even just a short break for entertainment during the day has a good effect to enhance the excitement for the job. There is a function from the human brain that is the Ultradian cycle, allowing the human brain to function at a continuous frequency (about 90 minutes) followed by a lower frequency brain activity (about 20 minutes). Therefore, taking breaks every 90 minutes is especially important, especially for people who work heavily with computer screens, because they can make the brain work too much. In the Netherlands, PwC has invented a device exclusively for its employees to be able to control their work rhythm. The key thing to consider here is the comfort that workers have in their work environment, helping them realize the values that motivate them without spending too much energy for jobs.
2. Rebuild community relationships
A long-term study by Harvard University found that close social relationships are more important than money in promoting employee happiness. Social constraints are even thought to bring a longer and happier life than having social status, high IQ or even good genes. However, with the current 24/7 working culture in some companies, businesses are forcing employees to have less friendship outside the workplace and may ignore some really important relationships with them. Reports in recent years have shown a lack of friendship and close relationships among the majority of workers.
Exhibit 2: Community relationships help employee commit to their work and increase retention rate
Recommendation: Organizations can help prevent this isolation by ensuring that employees can disconnect from work easily after work and have more opportunities to build external relationships. Managers are important factors to help their employees get a reasonable amount of work as well as a sudden increase in overtime. They can also promote work networks to become more rational by using multi-task communication tools at work, such as Yammer and Slack. From there, employees can use it to exchange both private and work-related information, upload blog posts and create communities with common interests.
3. Encourage adaptability and agility
In the future, when the human lifespan is at the threshold of 100, the standards of professional training will become more challenging and more varied. Traditional learning models are now easily recognized that they are not keeping up with modern models. The transition in the training phase is really necessary, especially when training new graduates with technology access will be simpler than the old employees being used to the traditional work of the company. Therefore, companies need to consider and give specific ideas for the development of this type of training.
Personalization of experience also helps improve adaptability. At Heineken, where more than 80,000 employees worldwide, employees are given tools to track jobs and promotions in the company so that they can easily identify what types of opportunities are suitable for their interests. From there, employees can choose to receive information about the experience and capabilities needed for the work they want and how to prepare them appropriately. In fact, these tools allow workers to adjust their career paths according to the work they want to do.
4. Support for “intrapreneurship”
Many people are still devoured by the idea that they can run their own companies and turn themselves into entrepreneurs. Many organizations have ignored this concern and failed to create opportunities for their startups. Since then the business has increased brain drain, making breakthrough plans belong to competitors’ hands.
Recommendation: There are many different ways to build a supportive environment from within the business. Some organizations hold periodic hackathons so that employees can freely present their ideas and seek competitive opportunities to solve the problems raised with the next expansion strategy of the company. Participants can also receive valuable and recognized awards throughout the company.
5. Provide autonomy
Faced with an ever-changing working environment, employees’ choices are becoming taken seriously. There are strides for the culture of autonomy and empowerment that can help employees feel more satisfied and lead to stronger work performance with higher commitments to the company.
A good example is Spotify with more than 2,000 employees who have established small operations groups, also called effective, self-organizing, multi-functional and decentralized teams. These groups do not really have a team leader. The motto of small groups is “The stronger the union, the higher the autonomy”. The only job of a person who leads the team is to find the right problem, discuss it together and work together to provide the best solution for that problem.
What should business leaders do?
A great leader must prove that they recognize the value of employees’ work experiences and show efforts in solving their problems. Besides, managers also need to show their employees the meaning of the organizational system and the work to be done to be able to move forward. Some of the examples mentioned above have shown that companies today instead of responding slowly to issues, they are more proactive in petitioning, finding and solving ones.
Good work is not really difficult to find or describe. In order to attract employees’ attention and tap their potential, companies should encourage and develop the potential qualities of employees, thereby helping to be more productive. If you fail to create a healthy and balanced environment, no matter how strong your company resources are, your employees will only feel discouraged and easily burnout.
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