Individual purpose is a scary concept if you mix it into the corporate world. In most cases they don’t even seem to be connected. But we think otherwise, in fact, we believe there is a case to be made for companies to take a step forward in ensuring their employees’ wellbeing by putting a focus on personal purpose.
When searching for a job, it is fair to assume people look for something that will bring them some excitement and motivation, otherwise referred to as purpose. Whether such expectations end up being true cannot really be blamed solely on the employees’ ‘naivety’.
To put it another way, companies, or employers, also have a responsibility in making sure employees can find purpose in what they do. After all, this is most probably the one thing that will ensure they stay on the job for long, and that they will do so with eagerness.
Why should I care about purpose?
If you clicked on this article, this is a question you might not need an answer to. But just in case you forgot, we wanted to clear out why purpose is not only important, but actually a pillar to building a healthy, just and durable company culture.
According to a recent article published by McKinsey, people who live their purpose at work are more productive than people who don’t. They are also healthier, more resilient, and more likely to stay at the company. Moreover, when employees feel that their purpose is aligned with the organization’s purpose, the benefits expand to include stronger employee engagement, heightened loyalty, and a greater willingness to recommend the company to others.
We could not have said it any better. Purpose is what holds your company together and what brings people together. And ultimately, organizations are based upon cooperation and working towards a common goal.
Purpose is what holds your company together and what brings people together.
Employee purpose beyond the company
Wait, what do you mean by employee purpose beyond the company? Well, purpose is after all a very personal attitude. As we mentioned earlier, the benefits of purpose expand the moment both company and individual purpose align. Consequently, employers cannot overlook the care individual or personal purpose requires.
We spend a big percentage of our lives working, and inevitably we search for meaning and purpose in our jobs as much as we do in our personal life. We cannot escape the fact that this can be difficult, feel almost inaccessible and sometimes uncomfortable, as it is deeply personal. But it is important, so don’t get discouraged just yet.
How can company purpose encourage individual purpose?
Exactly, a job can help greatly for individual purposes, however, such purposes are as varied as people themselves. In this article we want to stress some important points companies can take into account to make the workplace a better place to work and build up a culture that brings out the best of each employee in their professional and personal potential.
First thing’s first; know where to meet your employees in their purpose journey. As portrayed by McKinsey, we can talk about three distinctive areas:
- Purpose from the organization: This is greatly established in the company’s culture or employee experience for example. And it is an area that the company can take full control of. For example by fostering inclusivity or changing the worl itself.
- Purpose from work: Engaging with what is going on at work, from colleagues to work activities, making progress and feeling a sense of belonging and development. Here the company has little to do, but there is still some influence and action that can go into it and that it’s quite important as we will analyze below.
- Purpose outside of work: This is completely outside the company’s realm in the sense that there is no mandate that can be implemented into an individual’s life. It is about a person’s hobbies, family etc. Although the company has no control there is an argument to be made that work can be a more or less influential element in an individual’s purpose.
Time to put it into action
To answer our initial question of ‘how’, the most accessible way into an individual’s purpose is in the middle point above: purpose from work. It is not the same as company culture, although it is close, as companies and employers can actually have room to influence and help people push their purpose in life as much as their professional one. This of course depens of the person’s engagement to such purpose.
This is, an individual might give more or less purpose to their work; it may very across time growing or shrinking. And so the amount of room for encouraging purpose lies in this area.
Ok, and now what? How can I put this knowledge into action? Each company is a world of its own, as are people, but here are a few ways in which to improve, change or revalue the effect of work in your employees’ purpose:
- Start with what you can actually take control of, the company purpose. Are you making it an active part of the decission making process? Or is it just a good sounding slogan? This is where everything starts. You cannot hope to bring purpose into people’s work if you don’t folow your own in the first place. It is a matter of coherence.
- Purpose is not steady, and improvement is a never ending journey. Just as people change, so does their purpose, and the same can be said for companies. Follow up with your employees, thorugh surveys or other actvities, learn what bugging them and what’s motivating them. The answer to your problems might be right under your now and you could be missing it.
- Cultivate healthy and empathetic leadership. Teaching by example is the best method there is. If you want to encourage a more personal outlook to work and purpose, it is important that compassion and culnerability also come from managers and leadership in general.
- Bring company purpose down to the people. Social or environmental actions are now the new normal for many companies; however, often times they seem disconnected from employees’ day to day work. Internal emails with actual impactful messages and actions can fall flat when there is no engagement with employees. Engaging individuals into such social responsibility actions, through dialogue, activies or education can be a powerful tool for pushing not only the company’s sutainability purpose, but employees’ too.
Build a sustainability culture to foster individual responsible purpose
In DoGood we believe sustainability can be a a uniting force for company and individual purpose, as well as helping build a better world through the small actions of people.
Creating a better employee experience and building stronger engagement among employees does not have to be boring. In fact, it can be a force for good, not only for the company but for the planet and society. How is that possible you may ask. We’ve got you covered.
In DoGood we have developed a corporate government tool that helps establish ESG impact objectives for employees in regards to the sustainability strategy of the company. Through our technology we are able to activate and track employees’ impact, creating engagement that translates into improved ESG metrics, reputational value and an overall positive impact for the environment and society.
If you want to know more about how we work to create a positive social and environmental impact, click here.