Mattering and meaning are more important to the accomplishment of work tasks—and the avoidance of work conflicts— now than ever before.
But not if you talk to managers, supervisors, executives and others.
The people who are bosses still believe the Industrial Revolution idea that the work is the only thing that matters, that shows dedication, service and loyalty to the cause, the company and the future.
For employees though, symbols in the workplace have been cheapened because of the deeply held beliefs that bosses sometimes have, exemplified by human resource policies, time away, manifestos, and quotes on the wall. When asked, many employees (particularly those who have been in an organization more than six months) report that they “don’t even pay attention to that stuff anymore.”
This is because the symbolism behind the policies and procedures no longer matters to an employee, when the lived out, organizational substance doesn’t match.
In the world before Google based transparency, where rumors, tall tales and other misinformation could spread about an employer, the work was the substance and the symbols didn’t matter to anybody.
However, institutional lethargy and fear of change has caused many organizations to cling to the past, even as the waves around them swirl, demonstrating that symbols bring mattering to the workplace. And even more than that, symbols backed up by substance, history, and truthful stories told truthfully, are the only things that can give employee work meaning.
Otherwise, thrashing about work-life balance versus integration, time away versus time at work when away, and all of the other human resource based arguments that have arisen over the last forty years, don’t really matter much in the larger scheme of reducing workplace stress and conflict.
-Peace With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: email@example.com