Most of us will spend about 1/3rd of our lives at work, and many of us far more. In whatever form it takes, work is comprised of a complex ecosystem of demands, opportunities, challenges and relationships. Our work has the potential to be a catalyst for meaningful growth and an engine of positive impact for both the individual and society. And just as easily, it can feel oppressive and uninspiring, empty of positive experiences or contribution.
As in so many other domains of life, Self-Determination Theory offers a roadmap for building work lives and company cultures that enable both individuals and organizations to flourish. Indeed, the focus on basic need fulfillment in employees and customers, the emphasis on building cultures high in motivational quality and purpose, and the deployment of SDT-based solutions that help work organizations measure, understand, train, and respond to SDT principles makes this one of the most important applied areas for the Self-Determination Theory framework.
Around the world, SDT is tackling numerous areas of work life, including:
* Measurement of the employee experience and work cultures
* Training and coaching of managers and leaders
* Understanding practical models for growth at all levels (employee, manager, leader, organization)
* Examining how SDT supports key cultural/HR domains, including:
– Performance Management
– Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
– Talent Retention and Development
– Total Rewards
– Employee Engagement
* Using SDT as a model for understanding the customer experience (and demonstrating the link between need supportive work cultures and happy customers)
Take-aways from research to-date:
* Basic need fulfillment in employees leads to higher quality motivation, greater fulfillment, and deeper engagement. This brings numerous benefits to the organization, including increased productivity, greater innovation, and more inclusive cultures
* Having managers and leaders that are need supportive has a direct positive impact on employee fulfillment, as well as the organization’s bottom line. As importantly, training in need-supportive leadership has meaningful impact on these important management skills.
* Building need supportive work cultures is consistently a “tide that raises all boats.” In addition to the benefits to productivity and engagement, such work cultures also show positive relations to employee experiences of inclusion, greater employee health and well-being, increased employee retention, and increased satisfaction with pay and benefits.