Starting as children, human beings take a great deal of pride in doing a job well. And the tougher the job, the sweeter the feeling. To top it all off, hearing praise from someone we respect makes it all even better.
The same is true in the workplace. Giving employees the opportunity to do for themselves, build a program or manage a project on their own results in higher job satisfaction.
Instead of a constant “trickle-down” type of management, progressive employers are putting the reins in the hands of their employees, encouraging them to form teams and take on the planning and implementation phases of programs designed to meet their tough challenges.
Research supports the idea. The so-called “IKEA effect” shows that people report higher satisfaction with the bookshelves, tables, and cabinets from IKEA that they assemble themselves—whether or not they actually did a good job. The pride of making something makes people feel good, so they assign a higher-than-accurate value to the item.
Similarly, employees place a higher value on a project they are in charge of, or their ideas that are implemented—whether or not it is deserved. People tend to prefer their “babies” over those of others—including management. And managers, too, can fall in love with their own ideas, because they are personally vested in them. The problem is that co-workers and customers may not agree on value.
But managers and business owners, be warned: the IKEA effect can self-destruct, just as quickly as that bookcase you put together without all the necessary screws. If a staff-implemented strategy does not meet its objectives, everyone suffers. Management is less likely to allow a repeat; staff members feel badly; and the company must revamp with another strategy.
Managers and business owners must take risks; allowing staff to gain satisfaction by implementing their own ideas and building their own programs is one that can pay off in the long run.