Companies often try to inspire employees with lofty mission statements. But if the tasks your employees do every day feel meaningless, those lofty messages can backfire and actually lead to disengagement. Fortunately, research shows that even mundane tasks can feel meaningful if they are clustered with other tasks. For example, a hospital administrator whose job involves organizing patient records might not always feel that she’s helping people live healthier lives. But if she thinks about how this task helps nurses and doctors treat patients, she might see that she is supporting the hospital’s mission. Managers should help employees understand how the tasks they don’t always enjoy are connected to the company’s purpose. If one employee thinks responding to client emails quickly is a waste of time, for instance, point out how those emails, when combined with data analysis and report writing, play an important role in solving clients’ pressing concerns.

This tip is adapted from “How to Make Even the Most Mundane Tasks More Motivating,” by Jaewon Yoon et al.

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