These are six human requirements for productive activity at work. Check yourself on these, and if you lead others, check to see if they are set-up to be productive and satisfied:
- Adequate Elbow-Room for Decision-Making: Employees, regardless of their experience and generational conditioning, want to influence their own work and know what is “in bounds” for solo decision-making and what is “out-of-bounds” for their own decisions. People don’t want to have to ask permission for everything. It needs to be balanced between enough elbow-room to be empowered with choices but not so much that they don’t know how to make choices about their work and move ahead.
- Opportunity to Learn Continually on the Job: Set clear goals and accountabilities so learning (not panic and anxiety) happens and individuals are challenged and receiving input, in a way that can be heard and absorbed, on what to do differently.
- Optimal Variety: Keep people out of boredom, fatigue, and today in particular, overwhelm. Help individuals and teams to navigate change, and find a satisfying and effective rhythm for producing effective results.
- Mutual Respect and Support: Set up an environment where every person on the team can and does get help and respect from management and their co-workers.
- Meaningfulness: Help each employee to have a sense of one’s purposes and work meaningfully contributing to society. Each person also wants to have knowledge of the whole product or service, not just the small part to which he or she is contributing. Many jobs lack meaningfulness, because employees see only a small segment of the whole product, or change is happening so quickly, and leadership is not communicating regularly, people feel behind and out-of-the-loop.
- A Desirable Future: Where am I headed next? Every employee, even managers, want to see a future path. Productivity can plummet when a person feels that he or she is in a dead-end job. The next step does not have to be a climb-up the ladder, as with today’s entrepreneurial organizations, a career or work lattice or professional development matrix is more common. When moving up the organization is not an option or reality for the business, help each individual to understand the professional and personal growth that will happen with new skills, projects, assignments, and most importantly, learning interpersonal and team skills for collaborating with a diverse workforce.
Source: Excerpted from the work of Dr. Merrelyn Emery, a psychologist and with her husband, the late Dr. Fred Emery, were early contributors to the field of Organizational Development. Dr. Emery has worked to develop a an Open Systems Theory (OST) of social science through rigorous action and hard data research, which actually works in practice.