Show me the money or show me the meaning?

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

Let’s be honest - we have entered an era of meaning over money. Back in the day, our incomes were often central to how we defined our value and how satisfied we were with life. It is now argued that for example millennials work for purpose, not pay check.

The shift has occurred in the way millennials entering the workforce are relating purpose to their careers.

Income is no longer the defining factor of our value – and with social responsibility an increasing value to all of us – potential employers are having to adjust their recruitment and culture strategies to ensure they are in line with these values.

As a result of this changing workforce employers must rethink the way they promote job opportunities to attract top quality candidates, and how they retain current employees.

According to Harvard Business Review, as many as 9 out of 10 employees are willing to earn less in exchange for work that is more meaningful. Having a meaningful job can be achieved in many ways and doesn't necessarily mean working in the charity sector. Any employer can create meaning within their workplace - here are a few examples and how you can adapt them to your company.

Transparency in the workplace

Open communication help your employees feel part of something bigger than themselves. Their personal targets and goals should feed into the organisational objectives so that they feel a sense of reward when they achieve them.

So how can you do this?

- Provide access to key company figures

- Share company information; can others learn from someone else's mistake?

- Involve employees in the decision-making process

- Let employees know why certain decisions have been made

Career progression

Employees need to know they will get the opportunity to learn and develop their skills. Take the time to produce personal development plans with your employees and most importantly - follow up!


Being allowed to make independent decisions - to whatever level - will make employees feel trusted. This is generally achieved by outlining the goal of a project but allowing the employee to decide the best way to achieve that goal themselves.

Micromanagement often kills motivation, employee creativity and job satisfaction.

Healthy work-life balance

Employees want to lead a balanced life according to Forbes - they don't want to compromise the quality of their private lives for their careers.

Ways of promoting this can be offering flexible and remote working hours, encourage breaks, regularly review workloads, or why not offer other benefits such as a subsidized gym membership or a company car?

Recognition and reward

By acknowledging employees hard work and commitment their job satisfaction and productivity rises, and they are motivated to maintain or improve their work.

Remember that recognition doesn't always need to be in the shape of money - a simple thank you can go a long way. Make it public and its even better.

Regular communication between manager and employee

A lot can happen within a year, so annual appraisals are often a missed opportunity to make improvements faster. Why wait a whole year to discuss performance, address issues and organise potential training?

Are you a HR or Hiring Manager struggling to attract and retain the type of individuals you need for your team?

The Talent Mill can help. Whether you need support attracting new talent to your business or assisting with HR Framework or people support we are here to help. Contact

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