The Crucial Role of “Mattering” in the Workplace

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving corporate landscape, the concept of “mattering” is increasingly significant. Mattering is the sense that we make a difference, that our presence and actions are important to others. This feeling of significance is not just about belonging to an organization; it’s about genuinely feeling valued within it. Even in environments where employees are part of a team, it’s possible to feel isolated and undervalued—a scenario where belonging doesn’t equate to mattering.

Three Major Advantages of Ensuring People Matter:

  1. Understanding and cultivating mattering in the workplace can yield substantial benefits for organizations. Here are three major advantages:
    Enhanced Employee Engagement: When employees feel that they matter, they are more likely to be engaged with their work. Engaged employees bring higher levels of enthusiasm and commitment, which can lead to increased productivity and innovation.
  2. Lower Employee Turnover: Feeling valued reduces the likelihood that employees will look for job opportunities elsewhere. This can significantly decrease turnover rates, reducing the costs associated with recruiting and training new staff.
  3. Stronger Team Cohesion: A culture of mattering fosters mutual respect and support among team members. This improves collaboration and helps teams to overcome challenges more effectively, enhancing overall performance.

Five Actions Leaders Can Employ to Help Employees Feel That They Matter:

  1. Regular Recognition: Acknowledge individual contributions in a meaningful way. This could be through public acknowledgment in meetings, personalized notes, or formal awards.
  2. Open Communication Channels: Establish regular check-ins and maintain an open-door policy to encourage open dialogue. Employees should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and suggestions.
  3. Personalized Development Opportunities: Offer training and development that are tailored to individual career goals. This shows a genuine interest in their professional growth and well-being.
  4. Inclusive Decision-making: Involve employees in decision-making processes that affect their work and the organization. This inclusion reinforces the idea that their opinions and ideas are valued.
  5. Supportive Workplace Environment: Create a supportive environment that fosters diversity and inclusion. Make sure that all employees, regardless of their background or role, feel they are an integral part of the organization.

By embedding these practices into their leadership approach, leaders can make a profound impact on their organizational culture. Promoting the sense of mattering not only enhances individual employee experiences but also drives broader organizational success. As Marty Seligman highlights in Positive Psychology, and as discussed in “Tomorrowmind” by Kellerman and Seligman, rooting organizational practices in the psychological well-being of employees prepares a workforce that is resilient, adaptive, and profoundly engaged with the mission of their organization. This forward-thinking approach is essential for thriving in a dynamic world where change is the only constant.

Kellerman, G. R., & P., S. M. E. (2023). Tomorrowmind: Thriving at work with resilience, creativity, and connection–now and in an uncertain future. Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.