Why Are We Here? Creating A Meaningful Workplace In Animal Health
Animal health employees aren’t pack mules
For years, conventional wisdom said that most people worked for money, finding personal fulfilment elsewhere. Articles about meaningful workplaces in 1950s business literature were scarce.
Times have changed. Even before the Great Resignation, good leaders recognized that people now want more from their jobs.
“People want to feel that their work does more than put money in the company’s bank account. They want to know that they are making a difference to the world around them. “
Bob Jones, President, Brakke Consulting
Today, attracting and retaining top animal health talent requires meaningful work in a meaningful setting.
What is meaningful work?
One of the challenges in designing meaningful work in any industry, not just animal health, is that everyone has their own definition. Does meaningful work always:
- serve large segments of society?
- have a long-term impact?
- relate to health or the environment?
Or can it be small-scale or short term, or have nothing to do with healthcare?
The answer is…yes to all of those questions. Everyone has their own definition of meaningful work and workplaces. Fortunately some common trends do appear.
Meaning = Impact
For many people, meaningful work means making a tangible difference. In the animal health industry, that could be marketing a new product for a previously untreatable disease, or managing logistics so that each unit of medication reaches customers when they need it.
Veterinary professionals find meaning in helping animals stay healthy. Groomers find meaning in keeping them beautiful. And farmers find meaning in feeding the world.
Making a clear connection between an employee’s work and the health or happiness of animals gives animal health jobs more meaning. If you’re a leader, make sure your employees hear what customers say about how your products affect their animals.
Meaning = Personal Development
Other people say meaningful work stretches them, pushing them to develop their talents to their full extent. Leaders can make a real difference to these employees. Leaders who understand their team members' talents can direct them towards work that both takes advantage of and develops those talents.
Special projects, stretch targets, and advancement along a career path can all make an employee’s work more meaningful.
Feeling valued and included
Many employees say that feeling valued by their company and their manager and feeling a sense of belonging create meaning for them. A recent McKinsey study shows how far apart employers and employees are in understanding how important these factors have become. 1
While everyone valued work-life balance, employers thought employees placed more emphasis on compensation and development opportunities. Employees do consider these factors important, but they place more emphasis on feeling valued by their companies and managers, or feeling that sense of belonging, than their employers realize. 1
Make a cozy nest to work in
Animal health companies who want to keep their top talent must reconsider what they are doing to create a meaningful workplace. Are you meeting today’s expectations?
Show your employees how their job ultimately serves the world of animal health. Give them opportunities to develop new skills and advance. And make sure they feel both valued and included. Become the employer that people flock to, not the one they flee from. It’s your choice.
If you find meaning in working with or for animals, Animal Health Jobs has the right jobs for you. Register and search for job openings with the top animal health and animal nutrition companies.
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De Smet A, Dowling B, Mugayar-Baldocchi M, Schaninger B. “ ‘Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’?: The choice is yours. McKInsey Quarterly Sept 2021.