The hunt for meaning

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motivated-employeeIt’s pretty well established the employee engagement is an issue for organisations throughout the world.  This is especially so in organisations attempting to become social businesses however, for in such organisations it’s imperative that employees have a love for what they do.

When you love what you do, you seek out ways to do it better.  You look to network and talk with others with similar passions, which naturally lends itself with a desire to share knowledge and help one another out.

I’ve written previously about the benefits social businesses can derive from volunteerism amongst employees, but given the importance of doing so, a new study provides some valuable insights into the motivations behind volunteerism.

The study, published recently in the Academy of Management Journal, found that when we had meaning in our professional lives, it corresponded with higher levels of volunteering in our personal lives.  In other words, people were volunteering because they got something special out of their work lives, and wanted to get more of the same in their personal lives.

That isn’t to say that only those engaged at work do any volunteering of course.  Indeed, the study found that people can use volunteering to satisfy a desire for meaning that isn’t provided by their professional lives.

What’s more, just as with the previous study, it was shown that those employees that volunteered (or in other words, were engaged at work) delivered better work performance.  Now that isn’t at all surprising, but the study further emphasises the importance of loving what it is that you do.  What’s more, it further emphasises, that if organisations want to be collaborative and encourage employees to volunteer their knowledge and skills to colleagues, they better get cracking on making work as enjoyable and as engaging as possible.

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