Press release

‘Cooperation on meaningful work’ main topic during introductory   meeting with director/director CAOP

The Hague/Willemstad, 24 June 2019 – What makes work meaningful? Why is that important? And if it is so important, what can we do to cherish and support meaningful work? These questions were central during an introductory meeting in The Hague on June 20 between the Director/Secretary General of the Social and Economic Council (SER) Raul Henriquez and the Director/Administrator of the Centre for Labor Relations with Government Employees (CAOP) Philip Geelkerken.

As a centre of knowledge and services in the field of labor affairs in the public and private domain, the CAOP plays an important role in deepening the theme of ‘meaningful work’. During the introductory meeting Henriquez and Geelkerken addressed the question of what ‘meaningful work’ is exactly and how workers and employers can deal with it. It was emphasized that the subject is alive and kicking and that it is becoming even more important in the purpose economy of the 21st century.

Both gentlemen recognize that ‘meaningful work’ is something very personal and therefore difficult to define or describe. Nevertheless, three general characteristics of ‘meaningful work’ are identified.

First, work is (often) meaningful if people feel that they are useful, especially if they can make a difference to someone else. Secondly, work is (often) meaningful if people feel that they are making a contribution of their own. It is about making their own stamp, doing something or realizing something based on their own skills and expertise. Thirdly, work is (often) meaningful if people feel that they have done a good job. It’s about being competent and skilled and about craftsmanship”.

According to the SER director, the theme of “meaningful work” should also be given explicit attention in broad circles in Curaçao, preferably in bipartite and/or tripartite settings, with at least the participation of government, employers and employees. Fact is that workers are more often satisfied and more involved in their work if they experience their work as meaningful. In addition, organizations are more productive and perform better when workers experience their work as meaningful. For both employees and employers, meaningful work results in many other positive indirect outcomes”.

“When people experience their work as meaningful, they are more likely to continue working somewhere and are less likely to act integrity. And the quality of service also increases”.

At the end of the conversation, the CAOP director handed the book 17 Verhalen over betekenisvol werk’ (‘17 Stories about meaningful work’) to Henriquez. The directors agreed that they will explore the possibility of organizing a joint event in Curaçao later this year, in the form of, for example, a thematic meeting, about ‘meaningful work’.

In the picture: the moment of handing over the book 17 Verhalen over betekenisvol werk’ (‘17 Stories about meaningful work’) by CAOP director Geelkerken to SER director Henriquez.