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Unleashing the Power of Meaningful Work: From Meh to Marvelous!

4 minute read

By Stavy Papasotiriou, Organisational Psychologist and Founder of Work Unlocked

In today's world, employees crave something beyond a paycheck. They want their work to matter, to benefit others, and to contribute to the greater good. Picture this: employees who are on fire, driven by the belief that their jobs make a real impact on the lives of others. That's the power of task significance, my friend!

Task significance is like a secret sauce that adds flavour to your employees' experience of meaningfulness. In this blog, we welcome you to the dazzling world of meaningful work through task significance.


In the vast realm of employee performance, one factor stands out as a game-changer: the perception of meaningful work. Researchers have long recognised that how employees perceive their jobs heavily influences their job performance. To truly unlock the potential within your workforce, it's crucial to cultivate perceptions of task significance – the judgment that one's job has a positive impact on other people.

Grant et al. (2007) conducted a fascinating field experiment that sheds light on the power of task significance. Fundraising callers, responsible for soliciting alumni donations for student scholarships, were divided into two groups. One group had the opportunity to interact with a scholarship recipient and learn how their efforts positively impacted his life. The other group did not have this interaction and received stories highlighting only the personal benefits of the job.

The results were astonishing. The callers who had met the scholarship student more than doubled their phone time and donation money secured. This experiment highlights the transformative effect of task significance. When employees see the tangible, positive impact their work has on others, their performance and persistence soar to new heights.


Job design and social information processing theories shed light on how task significance influences employees. According to these theories, when employees perceive their jobs as having high task significance, they find their work more meaningful. This sense of meaning then drives job performance by motivating employees to invest extra time and energy into their tasks.

Task significance not only boosts the perception of meaningfulness but also creates a psychological connection between employees' actions and positive outcomes for others. When employees see their jobs as having high task significance, they recognise that their actions have a lasting impact on the lives of others. This recognition leads to feedback from others appreciating their efforts, reinforcing the belief that their contributions are valued. This heightened sense of social worth further fuels employees to invest more time and energy into their work. Psychologists have long recognised the pursuit of social worth as a fundamental human motivation. When employees feel valued for their unique contributions, their motivation to contribute even more intensifies. By emphasising that others depend on their efforts, task significance becomes a powerful catalyst for employees to go above and beyond in achieving remarkable outcomes.


By now it’s clear that employees want to know that their actions aren't just appreciated but celebrated by others. It's like getting a standing ovation at the end of a heroic performance. When employees believe their contributions are valued, they channel their inner Wonder Woman or Spider-Man and go the extra mile. And hey, who can blame them? We all want to be adored for our awesomeness! So, how can you turn your employees into a league of extraordinary professionals? Here are a few tips:

  • Unleash the Storyteller in You: Help them connect the dots between their efforts and the lives they touch. Share captivating stories of how your employees' work has made a real difference in people's lives. To achieve that, give your employees the chance to interact with the beneficiaries of their work so that they can see firsthand the impact they're making.
  • The Power of Appreciation: Recognise and appreciate your employees' contributions regularly. A simple "thank you" can go a long way in boosting their morale and making them feel like the superheroes they truly are.
  • Communication is Key: Establish open lines of communication where employees receive feedback on the impact of their work. Let them know how their hard work is changing lives and saving the day.

By implementing these strategies, you can create an environment where employees feel a strong sense of meaning in their work. The ripple effects of task significance will be felt throughout the organisation, as engagement, performance, and job satisfaction reach new heights.


In conclusion, understanding the impact of task significance on employees' perception of meaningful work is key to unlocking their true potential. By fostering an environment where employees see the positive impact they have on others, you can ignite a powerful cycle of motivation, engagement, and performance. Embrace the magic of meaningful work and watch as your organisation thrives in ways you never imagined possible.



Stavy Papasotiriou is an organisational psychologist and the visionary behind Work Unlocked — a leading HR consultancy on a mission to revolutionise employee engagement, performance, and retention in businesses worldwide. With a profound understanding of HR practices, Stavy leverages psychological principles to unleash the untapped potential of workforces. At Work Unlocked, Stavy crafts bespoke strategies that are grounded in research and tailored to each organisation's unique needs. These strategies are designed to yield remarkable results while requiring minimal resources.

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