I've posted before about the idea that "making a difference" might be a fundamental part about feeling passionate about your work (which yielded some great discussion). Here's a Psychology Today article that says that a feeling of making a difference impacts the workplace both through job satisfaction and productivity.
When workers are aware that their work makes a difference to others—even in small ways—their job satisfaction rises. So does their productivity.
The interesting thing is that the measures bosses often take to boost productivity among workers have a dampening effect on worker satisfaction, and steps taken to boost worker morale tend to lessen productivity. It’s rare to find something that boosts both morale and productivity at the same time.
The study was done by Adam Grant, an organizational psychology doctoral student at the University of Michigan, who was looking for ways to make workers both more productive and happier.
He conducted several experiments and field studies to look at a variety of workers from fire fighters to telemarketers.
He found that feeling that your work had a positive impact on others made a difference both to people’s job satisfaction and productivity.
One of the things he found was that telemarketers who believed they were making a positive difference were both more satisfied with their work and made more sales.
It seems that being able to connect the difference you're making with real people is an important part of the equation.
In one experiment Grant conducted, students were asked to improve the cover letter on another student’s job application. One group was told the student didn’t really need a job. Another group was told the student really needed help finding a job.
Some of the students in each group briefly saw the student in person. The others saw only his picture. The group that saw the student and knew he needed the job made 25 percent more changes in the cover letter and spent more time working to improve it than did the others.
Says Grant: “Even in a job like packing paper clips, if you understand how people are helped by what you do, how you make a difference to them, you will be motivated to care more about what you are doing.”
Passion Catalyst SM