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Feeling significant at work

August 10, 2014

Are you significant?

Recently I heard the word, significant, used in conjunction with employees. The motivational speaker asked, “Do your employees feel significant?” The combination of the words “employees and significant” combined into one thought was an unusual combination and it took me a minute to wrap my thoughts around it.

Employees are commonly referred to as being valued, irreplaceable, important, empowered, happy, productive and a variety of other adjectives, but the single word, significant, carries its own unique connotation.

Being significant carries a much stronger sense of purpose than being valued. If you are a significant employee, then the functioning of the business would suffer were you not available. I likened significant to being a “key person.” A “key person” is so valuable to a company that there is specialty insurance available. If your key person were to die unexpectedly, how would that affect your company? That’s being significant.

To continue to assess the importance of significant employees, I had to explore my own responsibilities as an employee. Was I significant to my work? How could I determine whether I was significant? Additional research revealed some guidelines offered by Dharmesh Shah, founder and CTO at HubSpot.

A significant employee believes in where your company is going, how you want to get there and proves it every day with their actions. Employee loyalty is important, but an employee who is loyal through integrity is significant because they are looking out for the company’s long-term interests.

Employees who praise their peers, take being valuable to the next level — they become significant. They recognize that when someone else does something great, that person is working toward fulfilling the company’s mission.

Significant employees also generate discussions other employees will not. They will disagree with leadership and will tell you what you least want to hear.

Shah states, “… employees have a great feel for the issues and concerns of the people around them, and they ask the questions or raise the important issues when others won’t. They know, for the company to succeed, you need to know what employees are thinking … and employees need to know what you are thinking … employees realize that while you may not like what you hear, ultimately you want to hear it because what matters most is doing what is best for your employees, your customers, and your company.”

This self-evaluation about being a significant employee indicates that I should strive to strengthen my efforts. I’ll begin this lifelong journey, by genuinely praising my peers.

If you want some techniques on how to make your employees feel signification, just contact us at the ASU SBDC.

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    Peggy Hodges Rosser, Certified Business Advisor IV and Rural Business Manager

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