Ep 130 – How to Find Meaning at and in Your Work

workology podcast workplace meaning with Danny Gutknecht

This year has drawn me personally to finding meaning as an individual and in my business too. In this fast paced world full of so many things and so little time, I believe a growing number of people are in search of their own meaning whether it’s personally or professionally.

Episode 130: How to Find Meaning at and in Your Work with Danny Gutknecht (@DannyGutknecht)

As the economy continues to grow, companies are more focused on not just hiring the best talent but also thankfully retaining the people within their organization. Companies want employees to give their all in the office in part because of the expenses associated with human capital but also because companies have a limited window of time to take advantage of this bull market. Companies want to push their employees to do their best work while employees want to give their best but have meaning behind doing their jobs.

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop with author, Danny Gutknecht. Danny’s book, Meaning at Work focuses on helping companies and their employees find a shared meaning. Because in this fast-paced world, organizations often focus on the wrong things that retain or engage their workers. Danny helps to find this shared meaning with a process he calls essence mining.

Having sat through one of Danny’s workshops, I can say that I uncovered a great deal about myself and my values that I hadn’t ever considered or really understood. His work really resonated with me which is why I wanted to have him on the Workology Podcast.

Meaning vs. Engagement vs. Culture

Ping pong tables. Happy hours at the office. Dry cleaning drop off and pick up. These are all perks of the job that organizations used to attract talent. Danny says that these perks don’t always provide meaning, engagement, or even culture for an organization. While culture is important within an organization and is related to meaning, it an organic concept that is driven and shaped by not the executive leadership but the employees at the organization.

This shared meaning helps to shape the culture and also impacts productivity levels and engagement within a company. In 2017, Deloitte conducted a global millennial survey discovering that  76% of respondents had ruled out working for a company or organization because of a lack of fit in values. The millennial survey respondents stated they had more value to organizations that when their jobs had more meaning supported by organizations who were willing to make a difference.

Meaning At Work gives people the right models and tools to understand and deal with meaning on their own terms. His book helps people could understand how to uncover their own personal experiences and the meaning meaning behind them before you can transform your organization. He says that meaning is subjective to every individual and company. His models and processes contained within his book and demonstrated during his workshops are the tools that liberate meaning in the workplace. Until you expose and channel meaning, you won’t get to potential and uniqueness.

Investing in Workplace Meaning and Your Employees

This potential and uniqueness is important especially to an organization that is built and driven by people not processes. The relationship between the employee and the organization is a symbiotic one. And that a successful employment relationship starts with finding meaning. The employment relationship is a lot like a marriage. It takes work both as individuals together and separately. How much time and work are you willing to invest? Danny’s insights on this podcast episode are some of my favorites that I’m certain will help transform your workplace.

Connect with Danny Gutknecht on LinkedIn.


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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