Brixey & Meyer Blog

    Doing Work That Matters: What People Want in a Job

    Posted by Steve Black on Sep 17, 2020 9:29:07 AM

    Energizing. Growth-minded. Engaging. Aligned. These are a words that describe an “Output-based” Culture (check out Part One of this blog series). When you walk into this type of culture, the energy is infectious. The conversations are compelling. The people are interesting. As a business owner, isn’t this the type of organization you want? This type of organization is one where people know what they need to do, own the responsibility to do it, and enjoy their work. This is true, but it runs deeper than just knowing what to do, owning it, and enjoying it. Output-based cultures reach deep down into the inner being of people, who work there. They attract the best people not because of their 401k, amount of PTO, or pay ranges. No, they do so because they understand what people want, and they communicate it early and often. 

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    Such organizations recognize four components of what the best people want in a career. Output-based cultures recognize that people want to…

    Know that their contributions make a significant impact or difference

    At the end of the day, the best workers want to know that what they did made a difference. These are the difference makers, who strive to positively impact their world. Whether it is someone on the factory line or in the board room, the best people want to know what they are doing has a positive impact upon their stakeholders. They want their internal and external customers to be better off because of what they make or provide. I see this regularly at a local grocery store. Dorothy Lane Market is like many other grocery stores in that it allows people to buy food. However, it is interesting to see the “baggers,” who are usually teenagers fully “own” their jobs. They package groceries with a smile on their face and engage in conversation with the customer. Yes, they are trained to do this, but there is an obvious connectedness they understand that they make a difference in peoples’ lives. Their small gestures of conversation provide to the overall climate that makes this grocery chain unique and treat to visit. 

    Be a part of something big

    This is why a compelling mission and vision is so important. These purpose statements paint a grand picture of what the organization does and seeks to do. It paints a picture of a compelling future. Great people want to see connectedness to what they do each day to solving big problems. They want an employer, who solves problems. Do not mistake this for always solving world hunger or purifying the oceans. Sometimes, it is solving an issue other people face such as providing a more comfortable setting for families to relax or keeping people safe while they drive. When a person recognizes that what they do solves problems and contributes to the overall aims of the organization, there is a sense of ownership and pride. Several years ago, I worked for a home health care company. In full disclosure, I did not have an innate interest in healthcare growing up. What attracted me to this company was the mission and vision. Our mission, “Partnering for a meaningful life” rang into the ears of everyone whether it was the home health aide, the nurse, or the scheduler. The organization sought to show everyone how their actions were partnership with internal and external stakeholders. Their partnership sought to provide “meaningful life” to others. “Meaningful life” could mean a promotion at work or an elderly client being able to attend a grand-daughter’s soccer game. These partnerships helped make “meaningful life” possible for so many people. THAT is something BIG! THAT calling created a large mission everyone could embrace. Well, maybe not everyone, but it did capture the hearts and minds of the people, who found a sense of belonging.

    Feel a sense of belonging

    Every person has an innate desire for belonging. This God-given desire prompts people to surround themselves in settings where they feel like they belong. As “meaning-makers,” people constantly try to make sense of their surroundings. When an organization has a compelling purpose that connects with plans and stated outcomes, people will either identify with the organization or go elsewhere. This “belonging” is a core component of culture. Since culture is made up of a set of values, beliefs, assumptions, and symbols that define how the organization does its work, people can quickly see if they belong. Bad cultures rarely make these clear. Great cultures, especially output-based cultures, make it easy for people to see if they “fit.” This term “fit” closely relates to “belonging.” 

    Go on a meaningful journey

    Output-based cultures create a sense of meaning by inviting people into their journey. People love stories and they love to be a part of exciting stories. When a person clearly sees the high calling an organization through its purposes and then recognizes a solid map to get there through its plans, the journey becomes real and exciting. As the team marches forward, they know the mile markers of success (metrics that matter), and they know the outcomes they must realize. The journey if fraught with dangers, distractions, and doubts, but when the team travels together on this journey, there is camaraderie, support, and excitement. 

    When was the last time you thought of your job as a meaningful journey and not merely a means to a paycheck? When organizations create cultures that invite people into the journey and help people see that their contributions make a positive difference, organizations realize success defined by greater employee engagement, higher customer satisfaction, increased profits, and more fun! Isn’t this where you want to work? 


    Need assistance with addressing short and long term HR needs for your business? Contact me at, and we will address them proactively.

    Disclaimer: This blog is not legal advice, but merely informed opinion or general information meant for no particular purpose. Issues addressed in this blog often implicate federal, state, and local labor and employment laws. This blog is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Readers should consult labor and employment counsel to determine whether their particular policies, procedures, decisions, or courses of action comply with such laws. 

    Topics: Takeaways, culture, onboarding, hiring, Growing, HR, Human Resources, Growth, workplace productivity, Success, Management, Employee Retention

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