Real Leaders

How to Work with Purpose

Employee happiness can no longer be an afterthought for businesses, especially when you consider that 75 percent of job seekers say that company culture is just as influential as salary.

Today’s workforce want to know they make a difference and want to be involved in a mission that helps those around them — both locally and farther afield. They want to see proof that everyone’s input adds to a more substantial organizational contribution to the community it serves.

We know that people ideally strive to realize their own personal potential through ongoing personal growth. But with the new generation, in addition to their own personal development, they like to feel a connection between the work they perform and societal impact.

This connection is what propels employees to go the extra mile. If this relationship is not fulfilled, then even extravagant perks will not keep employees inspired for very long, let alone wanting to stay as long-term employees. They want assurance that what they’re engaging each day with their work is contributing to the greater good of the world. This is especially true of Millennials.

According to a recent survey by Deloitte, six out of 10 Millennials stated that a “sense of purpose” was part of the reason they chose to work for their current employers.

The best way to unite an organization is to clearly define an organizational purpose and allow for employee input so that they feel aligned with it. Organizational purpose is the glue that holds a company together — through good times and lean times. A compelling purpose provides energy to the workforce and propels them forward.

As Roy Spence Jr. says in his book, It’s Not What You Sell, But What You Stand For: “If you have a purpose and can articulate it with clarity and passion, then everything makes sense, and everything flows.”

I believe that an organizational purpose embraced by company culture is the highest, single variable in whether employees are engaged. Smart leaders will have an ability to unite this culture by communicating an organizational purpose that allows employees to accomplish much more than just a series of daily tasks. The organizational purpose should do four things:

  1. Define how the organization contributes to society.
  2. Define how all tasks are essential contributors to this purpose.
  3. Energize and motivate the workforce.
  4. The mission/vision statement must be easily understood by everyone.

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