Great workplaces create cultures that have a strong sense of purpose, and as a result, reap the rewards of engaged employees who believe in what they do and find meaning and purpose in their work.
A recent survey conducted by Deloitte shows that organizations which focus on creating a culture of purpose rather than on profits are more likely to be successful. Also, a company's sense of purpose is a key reason that many employees choose to work at their organizations. In short, employees want to work for purposeful organizations.
In addition, Millennials want to know what your organization does in terms of improving society. They want to make a positive difference in the world and seek employers that offer purposeful work. From the perspective of attracting talent, purpose matters, and will only become more important as the next generation moves up and into the workplace.
Purpose is becoming more important in the workplace. How do companies create a sense of purpose? Based on the findings of Deloitte's study as well as our research in the NorthCoast 99 program, here are some effective ways that organizations create a culture of purpose.
Meaningful work. Meaningful work is the number one thing employees look for in a job. Help employees avoid the feeling like something is missing in their work. Opportunities to work on truly meaningful work that directly impacts others, things, or the community in a positive way is the best way to help create a sense of purpose in your organization. Also, try to assign tasks to help employees fulfill their life goals and values, and help them be who they want to be. This involves finding out what really matters to them.
Communication. Creating purpose involves changing employees' state of mind about their tasks through communication, making them feel relevant, and helping them see that their work is valuable and purposeful. Great workplaces help employees see how their work has an impact and purpose....such as improving the environment, saving a life, making others' lives easier, or improving the human condition. As examples, great workplaces...
- Create a compelling mission and vision; provide examples of how employees impact these
- Discuss each employee's impact one-on-one with them
- Use storytelling or invite people affected by employees' work to give testimonials at staff meetings
- Use internal communications campaigns (meetings, media, videos, social networking, blogs, etc.)
- Write personal notes to employees explaining how their role contributes to the organization's success and impact
Using these strategies, great workplaces make connections between employees' day to day tasks and their purpose, which help employees see that their work matters and is meaningful to their organization and its end users.
Empowerment. Instilling a stronger sense of purpose in your organization requires empowering employees. Empowerment can include helping them see what they can do to make their job more meaningful, asking them how they can make a bigger impact on your customers, and allowing them to make a difference by providing the tools, resources, and guidance to "own their impact."
Opportunities. Offering opportunities for involvement in the community helps employees find a sense of purpose in their work. This can be accomplished through the delivery of your organization's products and services, or through community involvement activities, such as...
- Non-compensated professional services
- Donations of company products or monetary donations
- Staff community service activities, functions, and events
- Matching of charitable donations
Development. Progress breeds purpose. Organizations that create a sense of purpose help employees progress and become good at what they do, and help them thrive by offering development and mentorship opportunities, according to Deloitte's study. When employees grow, they often feel more purposeful as they are contributing more to their organizations.
Purpose equals profits, according to Deloitte's study. The real results of creating a culture of purpose, however, can't usually be quantified... fulfilled employees and a bigger impact on your community.