When it comes to the ideal job, it all depends on where you stand … or sit. The key to a successful, motivated workforce isn’t high salaries or a prestigious company – it’s the nature of the work. For managers to be happy, they need a challenging, meaningful job they know will be there tomorrow.
First, the harmony. Executives and managers each said their ideal job should have three key characteristics. First, the work should make a difference in the lives of others. Second, the work should bring with it a near-constant state of happiness (actually the highest priority for managers). Finally, the work has to present a challenge, leading to both personal and organizational growth.
Now, the discord. Executives and managers disagree on both the ideal job’s stability and contact with the organization’s customers. Managers place a much higher priority on stability, presumably not having reached a point yet where they can afford to take six months off in case their company goes belly up. Executives care far more about their customers than managers, who likely view them as a source of constant frustration, distracting them from the work they’d much rather be doing. If executives don’t
provide a minimum of assurance about organizational stability and link managers’ priorities with customer needs, execution will inevitably suffer.
Money is near the bottom of everyone’s list. Efforts to improve morale and performance with higher pay won’t be nearly as effective as the prospect of giving people greater happiness and more meaning in their everyday work.
If you make the work meaningful and challenging yet secure, they will come. You don’t need high salaries to build an engaged and satisfied workforce.