Book review: The “Why” of Work
The latest research by Bersin and Associates (Josh Bersin, The Science of Fit: Using Psychology to Replicate High Performance, June 2011) reiterates what Industrial Psychologist have been emphasising for many years – the importance of selecting and promoting the right people. It is critical to identify the personality types and traits that reinforce an organisation’s business proposition and culture. High performing organisations focus on “who” they hire, not just “what” people do – and build tools and systems to help managers and leaders assess and attract the right type of people into each particular job.
“ When applied across an organization, the science of fit helps leaders create a strong and enduring company culture – one which attracts the right people and encourages people to find the best roles where they can add the most value. Engagement levels go up, and the organization becomes more agile and customer focused” (Josh Bersin, 2011).
In this edition we review a book by Dave Ulrich and Wendys wife Ulrich on how to create meaning in the workplace and
we give you a snapshot of the research by Bersin and
We would love your feedback on these issues in your own organisations so send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
According to many studies, we all work for the same thing--and it's not just money. It's meaning. Through our work, we seek a sense of purpose, contribution, connection, value, and hope. Digging down to the meaning of work taps our resilience in hard times and our passion in good times. Dave Ulrich, an influ ential voice in the corporate human-resources field in the United States, suggested that companies should be "turning down the downturn" by creating "abundant organisations" where employees find meaning in their work. Dave Ulrich suggested that some companies had found that in the grips of the recession they had taken the meaning and purpose out of the work of their employees.
While employee-engagement scores remain high at many firms, these can paint a false picture because employees with jobs are grateful simply to have a job. Many employees are having problems with a "psychological recession" because they are finding a lack of purpose in their work,” (Ulrich, 2010).
"Leaders have to be 'meaning makers'. Successful leaders are multipliers," (Ulrich, 2010). The concept stems from a new book Ulrich has co-authored with his wife Wendy, a psychologist, called "The Why of Work: How Leaders Create Meaning at Work to Exceed Financial, Customer and Community Goals".
Managers must be able to articulate the company’s purpose in terms that do not include only profit. Meaning comes from the company’s contribution to its customer and communit y and how that contribution allows it to earn a profit. Companies can aid managers in this task by building intrinsic motivation and employee engagement into their executive coaching and management training.
The message needs to be conveyed from the top down that the company does meaningful work and does it well. Managers can underscore the importance of the intrinsic factors by including meaning, choice, competence and progress into all conversations about work projects and measuring their impact.