Bringing meaning to work: resource

16 February, 2021
Opportunkity for us all to grow and learn - bringin gmeaning to work strategy illustration of people in a boardroom setting

Here at The Big Picture People, we’ve been talking about ways to give something back to our online community of internal communicators. What would be really helpful to you day-to-day?  A set of handy resources for you to download, of course. The first of these is ‘Bringing meaning to work’.

Resources for you and your team

These resources will be a way of sharing our ideas and inspiration with you based on the major issues our clients are facing right now. We will be publishing a series of personal reflection exercises and team exercises designed to make you think about the issues affecting your workforce. You will be able to mix and match the exercises, sharing personal reflections with your team and getting their feedback.

Bringing meaning to work

So, back to bringing meaning to work. What is it that makes work meaningful for the people in your organisation? So many businesses are going through the process of looking at how people’s expectations of work have changed during the 20/21 pandemic. Having worked from home for so long, people have had the chance to experience a different way of working and a different work/life balance. If they have been furloughed, are they still loyal to the organisation? How likely is all of this to affect what they want from their work going forward? As people do start returning to work, we might have to look at a different series of expectations of work and life.

‘Bringing meaning to work’ resource

The ‘Bringing meaning to work’ resource is a personal reflection exercise but one that can easily be shared with your team. It asks one simple question; Why do people work for your organisation (other than money)? The question may be simple but the answers take some thought. Have you ever taken the time to wonder what your people really want from their work and the company? For many businesses, this is probably a very useful exercise to undertake at the moment. Even if we’ve been working throughout, we have all had the chance to re-evaluate our life priorities over the last year. So now is a good time for us as internal communicators to think about this both on a team and an organisational level. ‘Bringing meaning to work’ is a simple one-pager designed to help you ponder what things your people need from their work at the moment. Obviously, they expect some sort of remuneration but this is to help you look beyond that to the tangible and intangible things people expect from their work. We have broken it down into various levels.


At an individual level, what are the intrinsic, personal motivators? What is it about their work that attracts them to work in your organisation? Is the work itself the main driver? Do they get a sense of personal achievement? Are the career prospects good?


What do they expect from the team they work with? Is it team achievement, learning from others, or the contacts they can make? One very important factor has always been social interaction but this has been a real challenge recently. When we are looking to engage and communicate with our people going forward, this might be something we should be more conscious of.


At an organisational level, how has the company been perceived during the pandemic? Have you stood up and been counted? Have you displayed a strong set of values that your people can be proud of? How connected do they feel to the organisation and its external persona? Again, this is something to be aware of as we return to a more normal working environment.


Many people belong to professional organisations associated with their work. They are likely to have a strong loyalty to their professional standards organisation. Many also value the skills they can gain. It is important to recognise and respect the duality that exists.

Customer or service user

Do people enjoy a strong connection between their work and the people it serves or sells to? And how does this play into what they now expect from their work?

Download your ‘Bringing meaning to work’ resource

You will find instructions on the downloadable one page resource. The exercise should take around 35-45 minutes and is a great starting point for team meetings and discussions about the way forward. It also leads us nicely into the next exercise in 2 weeks’ time – how this feeds into our organisational values. We’re not suggesting a complete re-write, but how can some of the elements we’ve identified in this exercise be dovetailed into existing values?

Feedback please

We’d love to know how you get on with this. What do you think of the idea, and are exercises like this useful? The aim is to give you tools and a set of resources that are relevant and practical. Is there something in particular you would like us to cover? Any other tools or resources we can share with you? Just drop us a line with any feedback or suggestions. All ideas welcome so please contact us.


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