Purpose driving workers’ passion: Mundane work could be impacting employee morale

With the unemployment rate at a 49-year low and almost half of the total workforce, millennials and Generation Z, expected to stay at a company for less than two years, employers need to keep workers engaged. This means talent leaders have to hone in on the moments that matter day-to-day — the employee experience — and make them better.

Workers say they spend 40% of their time on mundane, routine tasks that do not have a direct impact on core job goals, according to a recent survey from cloud-based provider ServiceNow. That translates into a big lump of coal for company productivity and frustrating experiences for employees.

The survey results point to the importance of creating great employee experiences, especially for the everyday, routine work tasks that when done manually or inefficiently keep employees from doing more meaningful, value‑added work.

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Employees restock shelves of school supplies at a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. location in Burbank, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. Wal-Mart Stores is scheduled to release earnings figures on August 17. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

“Employees today want to know that they are realizing their full potential at work, and companies need employees to be their best,” says Pat Wadors, chief talent officer at ServiceNow.

Also see: How employers can make workers happy this holiday season

At PeoplesBank, a Massachusetts-based 19-branch financial institution, recently hired employees begin meeting with senior management teams and becoming involved in strategy discussions within the third month of their employment.

“They’re indoctrinated with what’s going on in the organization from a strategic point of view,” Janice Mazzallo, the company’s executive vice president and chief human resources officer, said earlier this year.

In fact, the mundane work is impacting employee morale: Almost half of respondents say they feel like they’re wasting time, according to ServiceNows’s survey. Additionally, one‑third claim to feel stressed, frustrated and like they’re not living up to their capabilities.

According to the survey, meaning at work is essential to tech workers, in particular, who will make sacrifices to get it. Nearly half of tech workers would choose more meaning in their work over money and expect that menial tasks will be gone in the next 5-10 years.

“Creating digital workflows that make routine work easier, simpler and faster frees up people to focus on the more challenging, essential and fulfilling aspects of their jobs,” Wadors adds. “That’s how value is created. Great experiences unlock productivity, for people and companies.”

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