All Grunt Work and No Glory

Have you ever asked yourself what it is your people actually work on throughout the day (or night)?  I’m sure a lot of you know in general terms the type of work being done, but do you know the finer details?  More importantly, do you know how much of that work translates into something meaningful in the eyes of your people?   If you don’t, you might be contributing to a higher turnover rate at your company.
When I look at a job, I like to break it down into two parts:
1. The grunt work
2. The glory 
Think of the grunt work as repetitive, tedious tasks, that while necessary, are not the first things your people look forward to when they come in for work.  On the other side, you have the glory which is the new work that allows us to grow our knowledge/skill along with the recognition that comes from a job-well-done.  Almost all jobs contain some percentage of both.  The question is how much balance is there between the two of them.
Personally, a part of my own job deals with grunt work.  Every month a complete a time sheet to primarily track a lot of the billable work I do throughout that month.  I understand the reason for them and I know they are necessary, but that doesn’t mean I don’t cringe each time I have to work on them.
However, I also have a healthy portion of glory, as well.  A lot of the work I do impacts multiple people for the better, and there are always opportunities for me to take on new challenges.   I am also consistently recognized for doing well.  These are reasons why I haven’t been looking for employment, elsewhere.
In The Ken Blanchard Companies latest Employee Work Passion Survey, over 800 respondents were asked to rank 5 job factors in order of importance such as Autonomy,  Meaningful Work, Feedback, Workload Balance, and Task Variety.   In looking at the data, Meaningful Work had the greatest percentage of responses in terms of being ranked the most important.  More surprisingly, the majority of respondents ranked their immediate leader as being more responsible even over senior leadership when it came to influencing/improving these job factors. 
If you haven’t seen the results of the Employee Work Passion Survey, it is definitely worth a read.  You can see it here.
This meaningful work is one of the biggest factors when it comes to your workforce.  If your people feel this is lacking from the work that they do, they are likely going to look (or are already looking) for a different job.  Even if they aren’t looking right now, they likely aren’t using their full potential when it comes to their performance. 
Think about what you can do for your people when it comes to recognition, introducing growth through new skills, and showing them how their works impacts others.  In doing so, you may also find glory for yourself.
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3 thoughts on “All Grunt Work and No Glory

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