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This blog series by Lizzy and Frankie introduces Fair Work. This refers to all aspects of working for your organisation, from creating a job spec and developing a positive organisational culture to the day-to-day experience of working and progressing in your organisation. In this blog we explain ‘fulfilment’.

What is Fulfilment?

For many people, work is a fulfilling part of their life. For others, work tasks, working conditions, and the work environment make work unfulfilling. Access to work that is as fulfilling as it can be is an important aspiration of the Fair Work agenda. People have different views of what type of work is fulfilling for them. All types of work at every level can be fulfilling where the tasks, work environment, and employment conditions taken together are well aligned to the skills, talents, and aspirations of the people who carry it out.

Work is an important element of personal identity. It can provide the opportunity – individually and collectively – to learn, to use talents and skills, to engage in challenging activities, to solve problems, to take responsibility and to make decisions. Fulfilling work can be an important source of job satisfaction and the basis for employee commitment.

Why is it important?

Workers benefit from engaging in fulfilling work in terms of using and developing their skills; having some control over their work and scope to make a difference; taking part in appropriately challenging work and taking up opportunities for personal growth and career advancement. Workers who are fulfilled in their jobs are more likely to be engaged, committed and healthy. Fulfilling work contributes to confidence and self-belief.

Fulfilling work also provides the basis for people to go beyond what is required of them. It encourages creativity and innovation and can unleash the talents and capabilities that generate benefits for their employers through better performance, quality, and responsiveness.

Providing fulfilling work can also benefit employers. Work that is fulfilling allows workers to produce high quality goods and services and is more likely to unleash creativity that supports improvements. Indicators of fulfilling work are associated with higher productivity and innovation in more successful comparator EU countries.

The impact of individual fulfilment goes beyond the workplace by benefiting the economy and society. The return on public investment in education at all levels is enhanced where workers have opportunities to use their knowledge and expertise effectively in the workplace.

How can I implement Fulfilment within my organisation?

Fulfilment as a dimension of fair work can be supported in a variety of ways such as job design and work organisation that focus on effective skills use, autonomy, opportunities to problem solve and to make a difference, investment in learning and personal development and career advancement.

Examples are:

  • Build fulfilment at work explicitly into job design.
  • Create an authorising culture where people can make appropriate decisions and make a difference.
  • Invest in training, learning and skills development for current and future jobs. Where available, utilise the skills and expertise of union learning representatives and the resources available through Scottish Union Learning.
  • Expectations of performance must be realistic and achievable without negative impact on wellbeing.
  • Clear and transparent criteria and opportunities for career progression, as well as opportunities for personal development, should be a feature of all work.

What MGS is doing as an employer to enable Fulfilment

When MGS is recruiting for a new role within the organisation we carefully consider the skills and attributes required for success within the role. We feel that spending time devising an appropriate job description and person specification makes it more likely to find the right person for the job, which we believe will increase the chances of the individual finding fulfilment in the role. Once in post, MGS also strives to give the postholder influence over how that role is carried out which is also likely to impact on an individual’s enjoyment in a role.

Each year at MGS, employees complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) which is discussed with their Line Manager. This asks individuals to consider the skills and knowledge they want to develop over the course of the year, considering annual objectives, and MGS’ behavioural competency framework. By actively encouraging employees to maintain existing skills and develop new ones, we believe that it’s contributing to employees’ overall job fulfilment whilst also helping the organisation to deliver an exceptional service. MGS also encourages line managers to understand what motivates the individuals in their teams and adopts a strengths-based approach.

One of the competencies set out in MGS’ behavioural competency framework is “Effective decision making”. This acknowledges the importance of empowering staff to make their own decisions at an appropriate level which can significantly contribute to overall fulfilment in a role. Staff often comment in our quarterly staff survey that autonomy over their work is a contributing factor to overall job satisfaction.

MGS also believes that work culture, environment, and employment conditions are crucial for achieving fulfilment at work. We aim to achieve this by taking care of the health and wellbeing of our staff and we have regular Mental Health drop in sessions. We also check in and ask for feedback from staff through our quarterly staff survey which allows us to consider how we can do things better. Our suite of HR policies provide staff with essential information on all aspects of the employment cycle.

What MGS would like to do

MGS is a values-led organisation, committed to the ongoing development of a positive culture for its people.  Although we strive to achieve as fulfilling a workplace as possible, there’s always a desire and opportunity for continuous improvement.  We also recognise that fulfilment in work may represent different things for different individuals and we’re constantly striving to ensure that our approaches are flexible enough to accommodate this.