Attracting and retaining employees is about designing the work
We’ve all had a boring job at one time or another. You either accepted it and made the best of it, or you convince yourself that it would never get better and left in the hopes the grass would be greener on the other side.
There was a time when employees would put up with less than satisfying jobs, because there weren’t a lot of options, but today this just isn’t the case. Attracting and retaining employees is critical to your success. Employees today are no longer willing to do work that they don’t find meaningful and paying them more to do it, often in so longer working.
Here are five criteria, people use to evaluate how their see their jobs:
Skill variety is a measure of how much you have to use different skills in your job. For example, if you’re an accountant and you’re doing the same basic tasks over and over again, then you have low skill variety even if it’s a high-skill level task like auditing financial statements.
Skill variety can be compared to task variety (also called operational variety). Task variety refers to the different things that need to be done in order for an organization or business to function well. So, if your job requires many different tasks and activities but doesn’t require any specific skill set, then that’s more likely just task-based work rather than having any real skill requirements for getting it done successfully.
Most of us like to have the opportunity to learn new skills, so if a position doesn’t provide this, then likely it would be considered boring.
Task identity is the extent to which you feel that your job is meaningful. It’s the extent to which you feel that your job has a purpose and that you are doing something worthwhile. If you’re part of a team at work, or if your role in an organization makes it clear how important it is for people to do what they do, then task identity will be high. If not, then it will be low.
In other words: A boring job might seem boring because there’s nothing for you to learn or improve upon; but sometimes a boring job is just one where there aren’t enough opportunities for growth—or even worse, where there isn’t any sense of purpose at all!
The importance of knowing that you are contributing to something bigger than yourself is a powerful motivator for a job well done. It’s also important because if a job doesn’t feel like it matters, boredom and dissatisfaction can set in quickly. If you’re not sure whether your work serves an end goal or not, ask yourself: Why does my company exist? What do we do? How does this help our customers/clients/community? What does the world look like without us?
Autonomy is the freedom to do your work in a way that’s best for you. It’s the freedom to make decisions about what you do, and how you do it. It’s also the freedom to fail and learn from your mistakes. Autonomy can come in the setting of schedules, or in making decisions, or even in who or where you get to work in the building.
Feedback is an essential part of learning and growing. It’s how you know whether or not your performance meets the expectations of your boss and coworkers. Feedback can come in many forms, but it most often takes the form of a formal evaluation, either annual evaluations or quarterly reviews.
Feedback can also come in celebrating the team for accomplishing a goal or in meeting some sort of milestone. A celebration tells the team collectively they are doing well. It can also come in other forms, such as saying a thank you, or recognizing the competition of a task. Employees want to know they are on the right track, and getting that feedback, whether it be positive or negative, will help them understand their fit.
Look at the jobs you offer in your business and take a moment yourself to evaluate them against these five criteria. You might be able to see where you can make your employee’s jobs more interesting, with just a few simple changes, so you can ensuring you are retaining employees or better yet, attracting them.
In my next article I am going to discuss the four strategies for redesigning work, taking into account these criteria…watch for it, or better yet, just sign up to ensure you receive it, along with others related to small business and leadership directly to your inbox every two weeks.
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