For workplace nirvana, add in the five C’s

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016

A friend of mine contends that great jobs boil down to three things: praise, perks, and pay. The more you get, the better things are.

It’s an appealingly simple formula — but it’s woefully incomplete.

I’ve spent years exploring what matters most to people at work, and I know that praise, perks, and pay are important. The degree of importance varies from person to person, but it’s nice to get that external validation every now and then. Plus, there are bills to be paid.

But there’s much more to the “great jobs” equation. Let’s call these additional factors the five C’s.

One of them is job content. As management guru Peter Drucker used to say, if you want people to do a good job, give them a good job to do. As much as possible, jobs should be designed so people can use their talents and strengths while seeing real results.

Unfortunately, many people are told exactly how to do their jobs, with little if any leeway. This takes us to the second factor: choice. When people can make their own choices and decisions to shape how they do their work, their engagement and enjoyment go way up.

The third and fourth C’s are related: collaboration and community.

When people can freely team up and help each other as the workday unfolds, it’s like getting additional brainpower. Over time, collaboration turns into community. Both factors affirm that we are human beings, not human doings. The social aspects of work are a big deal.

The fifth C might be the most important of all: caring. In great workplaces, people care about their customers. Co-workers care about each other. Bosses care about the people they manage, and vice versa. When people truly care, they show concern and strive to help others succeed, even when the people who benefit are not their close friends.

Don’t get me wrong, the three P’s are essential: praise (let’s call it genuine appreciation), perks, and pay.

So are the five C’s: content, choice, collaboration, community, and caring.

Add them up and you get workplace nirvana. It’s that simple — and that challenging.

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By Tom Terez • Contact