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Feeling Valuable?


The story

A chatty taxi driver was asking me what I did for a living. I told him, as briefly as I could, about positive psychology in the workplace. He said to me as he was about to drop me off "What's the one thing I could do differently, then, to love my job more?" I struggled to answer him.

Without knowing his situation in any detail, I didn't know where to help him prioritise. I didn't have time to tell him about the six-factor model. So I left with a "what's the part of your job when you feel you're at your best? Whatever it is, do it more." He laughed and said he was at his best when he'd been paid and was on his way home. Something tells me I needed a slightly longer journey to get through to him.

The thinking

Following further research into our model of what it means to flourish at work, I now have some guidance for what my answer should have been. We asked 45 respondents to rate how important different aspects of employee flourishing were to them (either positively or negatively, in terms of their impact). You can see the results in the graph.

Some things to consider:

  • All factors are pretty important. Which is good news, confirming what we discovered in our initial research.
  • Challenge and Safety (i.e. supported) seem to be the least important, though not by much. Why could this be?

a. Do people prefer peaks and troughs in terms of how challenged and stretched they feel? I know from anecdotal evidence, many people know when they're stretched to the max and like to recover with some 'easier' days where they get a more normal work-life balance?

b. Do more confident people (perhaps those happy to fill in a survey) perceive less of a need for support, AND challenges as less challenging?

  • Feeling Valuable and Autonomous seem to be the most important. Why could this be?

a. Are we, as an individualistic culture, inclined to have a stronger need to feel important and in control?

b. Could these be enough to flourish at work without feeling Connected to others and Safe and supported? Perhaps entrepreneurialism/freelancing is the ultimate in feeling valuable and autonomous?

  • Are these averages telling us anything real, or is it purely down to individual differences? Someone with a strong internal locus of control may be much more concerned with feeling Autonomous than someone who is more externally-focused and therefore may want more Safety and Connectedness. This needs more research which we'll be doing over the coming months.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on these results and some of the questions and considerations above.

Employee engagement


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