4 ways to build purpose in the workplace
By blake beus in Culture and Engagement
Let’s think about purpose. You might see it as an uncertain topic, and while it is difficult to quantify, purpose is at the heart and soul of great endeavors. If you seek it, meaning will come alive in your work. It’s not just on you, though; organizational purpose requires people at all levels of a company to work toward the same goal.
People want to find purpose and meaning in their lives, both at work and in everyday life. The trick is in getting to that point. What benefits are at the end of the purpose-driven journey for your business and for your employees?
Communicating the purpose of your company or organization isn’t easy. You can’t simply send out a memo restating the mission or vision statements and expect everyone to immediately align themselves with it. If it’s difficult for you to pin down, how much harder might it be for employees who don’t have a strong connection already? Begin with clear communication.
A workplace culture that produces and appreciates great work is one that has clearly set and communicated expectations. Employees feel engaged when they understand what they are supposed to do. There is an old writing adage: “Show, don’t tell.” By aligning business decisions with the company purpose, you show your employees that the company aligns its words with its actions.
The purpose mindset is vital to creating a meaningful workplace. Consider what mental space you spend most of your time in. Are you working only for the next paycheck, disengaged from a clear vision? Are you focused on getting a bigger salary or managing more projects? Or does your motivation stem from the meaning you derive from your work, looking beyond yourself to the needs of others and the company? Each of these mindsets affects how easily you will discover your purpose. Consider starting that discovery process early with your new talent using training to build the way to a purpose-driven environment.
It turns out that most people aren’t in to the idea of just getting by in the workplace. They want to be valuable and create excellent work. But they don’t want to do it alone. The desire for recognition and connection is a fundamental one, so take time to recognize the value of the work. By doing so, you can tap into your employees’ passion for excellence. Acknowledge their achievements and they will go far above and beyond what you expected.
We all know about issues with employee engagement, right? We’ve heard the stories, read the studies. But it’s all incredibly important. A culture that lacks engagement will face burnout and poor performance. Companies that prioritize engagement see an increase in employees’ personal success as well as reduction in costs. But engagement is always trickier to accomplish than expected.
One concept in particular stands out when thinking about creating engagement: the role of corporate social responsibility. Most people want to work for a company that has a high standard of ethical practice. The desire to create positive change in the world drives people to align themselves with organizations that value the same things. If your company skips the great work waiting to be done in this area it will miss out on chances both to do and to inspire great work. An emphasis on social responsibility will engage your employees’ desire to make a difference.
Purpose affects everything in the workplace, from employee onboarding to retention to the bottom line. A lack of meaningful work can cause disengagement and may ultimately detract from your brand. Emphasizing the essence of your business and its reason for existing will provide a path for your employees to follow on their own journey to create great work.