A significant change over the past few decades is the shift of employees looking for work that offers a solid pay check and stability to employees seeking meaningful work and purpose. While purpose and meaning has always been part of the equation, it is a much higher priority for team members now. Beyond the importance of the organization’s purpose, employees also want to be able to see that their role in the organization is contributing to that purpose. When they can make that connection or have that “line of sight”, they find true meaning in their work.
According to research conducted by Gallup, Inc., providing that line of sight makes a difference for the organization as well. “When a company's mission or purpose makes employees feel their job is important, they are more likely to be engaged and, ultimately, to perform at higher levels. Business units in the top quartile of Gallup's engagement database on this element average from 5% to 15% higher profitability than bottom-quartile units.”1
As leaders and managers, regardless of our level or role in the organization, we have two obligations:
- To know the organizational purpose – not just what we do, but why we do what we do. What is our purpose? What difference do we make in the world?, and
- To be able to help others around us, no matter what their role is, understand and connect to that purpose. What is the difference they make? How do they contribute?
If we are successful executing these obligations, there are multiple benefits. First and foremost, employees will be more engaged, which leads to greater energy, higher productivity and lower turnover. Second, the more employees find meaning in work, the stronger the organizational culture becomes and the ability to be resilient in times of change is greater. Finally, both of the first two benefits can help raise the organization’s brand as a great place to work and attract talent.
Be diligent in identifying and sharing your organizational purpose. It can truly make a difference for everyone!