How To Create A Challenging And Enriching Work Environment

A paycheck is one reason people go to work. Other reasons may include the social interaction they get from an office environment or their reason to work could be altruistic. They want to give back.

Two reasons I haven’t mentioned are big reasons people go to work. They want to challenge themselves to do the best work they can. They also want to continue to grow and be enriched.

These two reasons for working are something you can use to create a great environment. One that actually attracts top talent.

By creating a challenging and enriching environment, you will also weed out those people who are only doing it for the paycheck. Bonus! Right?

What Does A Challenging And Enriching Work Environment Look Like?

Before you look to create an environment that is challenging and enriching, you have to figure out what this means. For me, it is quite simple.

A challenging work environment is one that pushes people to be their best. These environments are just outside of your team members comfort zones but in their sweet spot.

An enriching work environment is one that helps your people to grow. There’s the opportunity to learn about their positions and what they can do to improve.

When you know what you’re aiming for, you can begin to work on creating the environment.

How To Create A Challenging And Enriching Environment

We’ll look at creating a challenging and enriching environment through the lens I presented. We’re going to see what it would take to make this a reality.

1. Observe your team and see what they do well:

You need to know what your team members can do extremely well. These are the tasks they enjoy and take pride in. They also have the skills necessary to do their work.

Take notes of the things they are doing. Think about how their work impacts the organization. Then begin the next step.

2. Think of what tasks would align with their skills:

You’ve got the list of your team members skill sets. You know how they impact your organization. Now you need to figure out what new tasks would stretch them but still aligns with their skills.

Look for complementary work that would challenge and stretch them. Here are a couple of examples:

  • An IT Technician has done great work in maintaining the servers. You notice he may look a little bored and you approach him about an opportunity that’s available. You offer him the position of overseeing the department and making more calls. The position would still be an IT position but it would use this team member in a different way. He’s still using his skills but he’s also stretching them and learning new ones.
  • An assembler has taken a shine to his job. He’s on-time, gets things assembled on time, and he’s even offered suggestions on how to make the process flow smoother. You see his eagerness to improve and you give him a challenge. You promote him to a process improvement position where he can use his experience and love to find new ways of doing things to improve the process flow.

Each of these changes gives your team member a new challenge. It also allows them to use the skills they’ve had in the past to build a new path.

3. Offer training classes:

Training classes are one of the fastest ways to help enrich your team. By giving your team a classroom opportunity to learn about their positions and jobs, you can help them improve their skills.

Look for classes in your area that will benefit your team. They are out there. You only need to look.

4. Create a learning library:

While we strive to maximize the use of space in our facilities, there’s always going to be unused space. This unused space could be the perfect area to create a learning library.

A learning library would include books and magazines about the industry and leadership. You could buy a bookcase at your local Ikea and have the learning library up quickly.

To stock the shelves, you could go to your own book library and provide titles. You could also go to the local library and purchase used books for inexpensively.

A learning library can help ignite a love of learning for your team and enrich their lives.

If you need an idea of books to put into a learning library, check out my list of books I recommend.

Question: What are you doing to create a challenging and enriching environment for your team? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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