Three Questions Every Employee Asks

Our senior management team just started reading 12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter, Ph.D. In the book, the authors break down the Q12 statements that were introduced in First, Break All The Rules. These statements are based on Gallup's data from over ten million workplace interviews and they represent what every employee needs to be truly engaged at work.

As I've thought about these 12 statements, I think they can be summarized within the following three questions that every employee asks themselves:

1. Do I matter?

2. Does what I do matter?

3. Does the company matter?

Let me break them down:

Do I matter?

If I truly matter to the company, I will be provided with the tools, training, and resources I need to do my job effectively. I will be compensated fairly. I will be provided opportunities to learn and to grow. I will have the overwhelming sense that I don't work for my manager, but that my manager works for me. I will be set up for success, not destined to failure. I will be provided benefits that give me and my family peace of mind. I will have a clear career path and a manager that helps me to constantly move forward. From time to time, my company will even provide opportunities for me to just have fun.

Does what I do matter?

If what I do truly matters, then I will will be missed when I'm not around. I will feel safe and free to speak up and provide my opinion. I will receive help when I need it without feeling threatened. I will freely give and receive trust. I will not live in fear of making a mistake. I will be able to easily draw a line between what I do and how it creates impact. I will be asked what I think about policies, processes, procedures, and people. I will be respected for my unique contribution to the team. I will be surround by people I genuinely like and that genuinely like me. I will receive public recognition for a job well done and private redirection for a job not so well done. I will know what success looks like and how I can obtain it.

Does the company matter?

If the company truly matters, then people will buy/donate/subscribe/retain/hire. Our competition will know us and study us. Our product or service will get results. Industry leaders will apply within, not have to be recruited. Other companies will try to copy us. Investors will want to own us. The way our industry, vertical, sector, or even the world works will be different.

These are just some initial observations, but from them I think a new credo may be formed from perhaps a single ageless question, "Where can I find meaning in life?" Some of the greatest minds in history have wrestled with this very question and it seems we are still wrestling with it today. Sadly, if we seek to extract ultimate meaning in our lives from our careers we will be perpetually disappointed. Industry is man-made and ultimately has an end. Many have reached that peak and found nothing but disappointment. So if we put our complete hope in finding meaning in enterprise, we will find that it is in fact meaningless. There must be something more that drives us, inspires us, and satisfies us with real meaning and purpose. Something that brings meaning to work, not in it. Something bigger. Something that surpasses everything that we can create through the work of our hands. Do you know what that is? I do.


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