A Job Impact Statement – A Tool For Showing A Job Makes A Difference

A “job impact statement” motivates disengaged employees and top candidates by showing them how their job really does make a difference. 

Knowing Key Motivators Is Essential In Our Work Environment

Who wouldn’t utilize a simple no-cost motivational tool that makes it clear to employees specifically how their job makes a difference? The utilization of such a tool is important because “knowing that their job makes a difference” may now be the #1 employee motivator. Research across several studies has revealed that “the key factor that improves worker motivation is a direct connection to those who benefit from one’s work” (Source: the Harvard Business School). Related research found that the #1 motivator among Millennials was that “work must have meaning” and that they are “motivated more by mission and purpose than  paycheck” (Source: Gallup research). It is becoming even more critical each day for managers to realize that meaningful work and making a difference are becoming top motivators. And they are becoming so important as a result of our work environment that is now full of numerous on and off the job distractions and barely engaged remote workers. So the optimal way to get and maintain employee focus is to provide employees (and top candidates) with a “job impact statement.” That makes it easier for each employee to understand each of their many job impacts fully. 

Why “Job Impact Statements” Are An Effective Motivation Tool

Impact statements are a common way of making all stakeholders aware of the likely impacts of an action. Throughout the business, they are frequently used to highlight the environmental, community, traffic, and economic impacts of new projects. In the judiciary, they utilize victim impact statements. Unfortunately, in the management area, they are still quite rare. Even though most candidates and employees have a great deal of interest in knowing when, where, and how their job has an impact and makes a difference. In practice, most managers and recruiters only give lip service to this important “making a difference” attraction and motivation factor. However, with the spread of remote and global work, job impact statements will become even more critical. Now, it’s much harder for remotely located workers and hybrid team members to learn about their actual impacts. 

So, to ensure that everyone appreciates the impacts of each job, what is needed is a single comprehensive statement making it crystal clear specifically why a job is important and how, when, and why it makes a difference. Fortunately, not only is a job impact statement effective, but it’s also among the lowest-cost motivation tools. 

First, put together and distribute a single page “job impact statement” for your priority jobs. This reminds everyone of the job’s many positive impacts on customers, the environment, and the community. As well as any additional societal, team, and business impacts.

Meaningful Jobs Improve Recruiting, Retention, And Productivity 

Fortunately, there is a great deal of data showing the many impacts of making a difference in information. For example, this type of information aids recruiting because a recent study found that workers would sacrifice “23% of their lifetime earnings in order to work in a job that is always meaningful.” Also among current employees, meaningful work improves retention dramatically because “employees with “highly meaningful” jobs were 69% less likely to plan on quitting their jobs within the next 6 months, and also had longer job tenures” (Source: Harvard study by S. Achor and A. Reece). Another separate field study also revealed significant productivity improvement. For example, employees who watched a video showing the impact of their work “achieved a 7% improvement in productivity,” compared to others who were not reminded of their impact. 

Impact Categories For A Job Impact Statement 

Since the purpose of a job impact statement is to impress the person in the job. You should begin by surveying a sample of your employees to identify the categories of impacts that they care the most about. And then, under each selected important category, you should highlight a few of the most important impacts that the job might have. Those possible impact categories are listed below, with the highest impact categories appearing first.

  • Environmental Impacts – this is the top factor among new generations. Most employees today want to know not only is the company operating in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. But they also want to know if this particular job and team fully utilize recycled materials, minimizes energy use, recycles its waste, and that it does not utilize any dangerous chemicals or GMO techniques. You need to look no further than Amazon’s recent energy independence TV ads to understand the importance of being environmentally friendly for effective recruiting and retention.
  • Product impacts – the second most important impact area is making a contribution to the product. Outside of the administrative functions, almost every employee wants to impact the organization’s products and services. So, highlight specifically how this particular job directly or indirectly contributes to developing and the production of the final product. Also, build everyone’s pride in the organization’s products by highlighting any external product awards, industry-leading innovations, the power of your brand, and any market share dominance. 
  • Customer impacts – positively impacting the customer is often the next critical impact area. Most job candidates will want to know if and when they get to directly interact with customers. Employees and candidates will both also want to know specifically how their actions can impact customer satisfaction, solve customer problems, or answer customer questions. Overall, build employee pride in the organization’s customer service by making everyone aware when the company wins external customer service awards. And, whenever it earns positive social media ratings and press coverage. 
  • Team impacts – most employees want to know how their job contributes directly to the overall team effort. So make it clear how much coworkers and the team depend on the output of this job. Also, make it clear if the job is a linchpin in the process. Then highlight the specific process areas where the job makes a priority contribution to the team as well as the serious consequences resulting from a single error created in this job. 
  • Business impacts – many employees enjoy having an impact on business results. So show them if there are cases where employees’ actions in this job can have a direct impact on sales and/or revenue generation. Also, make everyone aware of incidents in the past where employees in this job have contributed either impactful innovations or major process time or cost savings. Also, make every employee in the job fully aware of the major technology and product innovations that the firm has historically contributed to the industry.
  • Personal impacts – incumbents in every job want to know that they will be nurtured and taken care of. Highlight job safety records, as well as historical skill development areas and career path opportunities. Let incumbents know if key executives once worked in this job. Also, make candidates and incumbents aware of this job’s desirability by revealing the number of applications for it each year or its historical applicant to hire ratio. Also, make everyone aware if the company has been written up for its great benefits, promotion rate, training, fair pay practices, diversity, and veterans hiring.
  • Companywide community impacts – make everyone aware that this job is an integral element of a much larger economic and social contribution to the community. Highlight your community impacts by revealing the number of local jobs offered, your yearly payroll, and local tax contributions. Also, highlight charitable and volunteer contributions as well as specific programs that your firm designed to help the community including school programs, equipment donations, internships, and scholarships.

Final Thoughts

In the past, I’ve written extensively on how meaningful work and walking employees downstream can dramatically improve retention. However, I still find that managers and recruiters routinely undervalue the importance of demonstrating that a job is meaningful for motivation and recruiting purposes. Fortunately, there is a simple tool that can be borrowed from other more strategic aspects of the business. An impact statement. Which under my job impacts variation, it can make it clear in a single page to both employees and candidates what specific impacts this individual job provides. And fortunately, with no upfront costs other than a little impact research. It can produce measurable results in three important management areas, recruiting, retention, and productivity.

Author’s Note: Please pass this article within your team and network. And, if it stimulated your thinking and provided actionable tips, also please take a minute to follow and/or connect with Dr. Sullivan on LinkedIn.

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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