The “Great Resignation” has led to a plethora of offered solutions. Everything from flexibility to shared leadership has been suggested, but what do people really want? Research points not to workplace conditions, hours, or wages, but instead points to the need for meaningful work. Workplace meaning is substantially governed by relatedness, autonomy, and competence, or as we state in our book, Engagement, Empowerment, and Expertise. 

What people want from work is meaning. Meaning-Making begins with establishing trusting relationships with your employees; giving people the relatedness they crave. Then positioning people for success by coaching them through the process of meeting goals and developing themselves. This gives people the autonomy and competence that is essential for Meaning-Making to occur. 

One way to ensure these elements are constantly in play in your organization is to position managers to be great coaches. According to Gallup 91% of all employees who switch jobs do so for growth and opportunity, 87% of millennials rate professional growth and development as important, and 69% of all other workers agree. 

In order to meet this demand, companies need leaders who can build trust and engage employees. Recent research found that when employees experience leadership as “virtuous” they experience higher scores in well-being and engagement. In our research, survey respondents overwhelmingly stated that they judge the character of the leader by how well they listen. 

Coaching provides the leader the opportunity to listen deeply and grow their influence.  It also provides a chance for the leader and employee to co-discover hidden strengths and identify future professional goals. Without this deeply relational context, employees will continue to look for professional opportunities elsewhere. 

Throughout our book: Meaning-Centered Leadership: Skills and Strategies for Employee Well-Being and Organizational Success we discuss the importance of coaching as an instrument for building Engagement, Empowerment, and Expertise. For more information on how you can transform this important aspect of your work, contact us at