Workplace Sanity Check: Are You Doing Energizing Work?

70 percent of employees, including managers, have a negative experience of work. So businesses must find solutions that change this long-standing reality. While it may be daunting to change how you and your employees experience work, there are significant benefits to consistently doing energizing work.

What’s more, there are intrinsic benefits that are harder to quantify. However, they are equally, if not more, important to shaping perceptions of work.

The Science and Emotions of Energizing Work

One input to positively shape the experience of and be energized by work is strengths. Strengths are what energize you. For example, if one of your strengths is creativity the more work you do that flexes that strength the more energized you feel. The positive emotions you experience from energizing work has quantifiable benefits to results.

Studies on strengths have found that when a strengths philosophy is designed into the culture, employee performance increases 38 percent. When you or your employees are energized by work you are more focused, enthused, and can apply greater mental and physical strength to the task. These are key inputs to creating a high performance organization.

Even recruitment is positively impacted by tapping into strengths to energize the workforce. The Strengthscope Partnership found that customer retention improved by 44 percent when a company helped employees learn what energizes and drains them.

When our clients integrate a strengths-based philosophy into the culture a common misconception is employees will work only on energizing assignments. What drains people (the opposite of a strength) is a subjective conclusion. Therefore, it’s way too complicated to align work assignments based on strengths and drainers. What’s more, even well-crafted jobs have “unsexy” work. The goal, then, is to increase the amount of energizing assignments while balancing business needs.

Some Sources for Energizing Work

Even if you don’t use an assessment to learn what energizes you and employees, there are sources to energizing work. Here are a few:

Meaningfulness | Work that is meaningful to you energizes and enthuses. Learn what is meaningful to you. Learn what significance people on your team gets from work that that they find meaningful.

Psychological Safety | Focus on creating a team environment where people feel safe to share their ideas and not worry about looking bad or unprepared for not knowing something. In other words, don’t beat people up for being different or not being “in the know.” Instead, focus on coaching people and modeling the way in terms of understanding differences and what barriers exist to staying informed.

Purpose-Orientation | Make sure you know how your work generates value for the company and its customers. That will make it easier for you to help your employees understand their role in generating value. As adults we need to understand “why” something is important.

Focus on What’s Possible

You do not need to wait for permission from HR, or your CEO (if it’s not you). You can turn work into an energizing experience.

Seek out zero-cost solutions like these. Once discovered, you simply need to be willing to invest the time. One word of caution: avoid taking on this work by yourself. It’s energizing to involve the entire team in transforming the experience of work.

While a bit cliché, we are stronger when we do energizing work together.


This post originally appeared in Shawn’s weekly column on