The Importance of Finding Meaningful Work: Beyond Gimmicks and Recruitment Buzzwords

Edward Bernays, considered the founder of public relations, revolutionized the nature of communication at the beginning of the 20th century. For this he considered that the product and its practical features were less important than what the imagination put into it. He therefore created imaginaries “in” products such as change, freedom, progress, creativity, etc. He thus made the cigarette a symbol of the liberation of women. He invented bacon as a traditional part of the American breakfast. He has also, for example, to increase sales of soap, a product whose functionality is hygiene, transformed it into a basis for organizing soap carving competitions, thus making soap a symbol of creativity for all.

We can ask ourselves the question of this second content, symbolic, of the product, in relation to the work object. What is in the work, apart from its technical content? What is offered to the worker? Many today are thus asking themselves the question of the “meaning” found in their work and how to find or express it. See how to convince candidates of the meaning they could find in their work. As if work could only have one meaning! However, looking at the world of work and the expectations of workers or candidates, what do we see? Very different views! For some it will be fun, for others freedom, friends and social contacts, personal development, a good atmosphere, creativity, relationships with impressive people, flexibility in places and times. , stability of employment, social prestige of the employer or of the economic sector, consideration. For others, finally, simply money to do other things, and in particular to feed their families.

Obviously then, in this context and in relation to these various targets, games, distractions, team building sessions, table football only have an extremely limited and uncertain validity. These gimmicks don’t offer any specific meaning, except possibly in what they say about cultivating a “nice” employer myth.

Worse, an employee may end up suffering ethically. Ethical suffering is an emerging concept, it appears when there is a contradiction between one’s own values ​​and the values ​​preached in the organization. So there is cognitive dissonance. When is it acceptable to the individual? How far ? Can the organization reduce it or does it leave it up to the individual to solve it? When does it trigger resignation, active or passive?

In strategic HR management, within the framework of our social system, which is a little turned upside down in its expectations, this probably implies several things.

First of all, we will have to better understand what the person, the “candidate”, the “talent” is looking for the most. It will also be necessary to better specify what the company has to offer in relation to this research. In other words, we cannot please everyone, we will have to look for the best matches and sometimes offer the best “catalogue” when possible.

You will also have to learn how to clearly specify what you have to offer, without the bullshit of recruitment meetings.

But, even more deeply, we will have to question the ability of a company to put into action what it promises. In other words, to really review the “business model” of work in the company so that people find there what they were promised they would find there…

If we consider that human capital is strategic, now is the time to put this conception into action.

2023-05-11 22:02:14

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