People who have a strong sense of purpose appear to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. For example, one research study followed more than 6,000 people over the course of 14 years found that those who died were less likely to have a sense of purpose. If having a sense of purpose is this purpose for living a healthy and productive life, it’s essential for your employees to have one at work.
Unfortunately, the numbers show employers have room for improvement in this area. According to the 2016 Workforce Purpose Index, only 30 percent of American workers say they’re enthusiastic about their work. Even more, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that over the previous year, approximately 2.7 to 2.8 million employees quit their jobs every month. On a more positive note, 85 percent of companies that helped their employees feel more purpose-driven saw revenue growth. Knowing how important having purpose-driven employees is, here are three inspiring ways to instill a sense of purpose in your workers.
1. Start with “Why”
Too many companies only focus on what they do and how they do it. For Simon Sinek, the author of Start With Why, more companies should focus on why they do what they do. By defining your company’s purpose, you can communicate this higher calling to your employees and use it as a guidepost for everything you do.
For example, Netflix’s culture deck was key to preserving their culture as they grew in their early years. Eventually they released it to the public where it’s been seen over 15 million times on LinkedIn alone. Another example was Holstee’s Manifesto, which was written by the company’s founders so they could define their own success. They eventually release their manifesto on their website and it went viral and has now been translated into 13 language.
2. Foster a Sense of Purpose Outside of Work
When companies go all in instilling a sense of purpose at work they tend to overdo it and hammer it over the heads of their employees. They also tend to forget their employees have their own lives—and purpose—outside of work.
Organizations should encourage their employees to pursue their passions outside of work, and give them both the time and resources to do so. For example, Basecamp, a project management software company, provides their employees with a $1000 annual continuing education allowance. You can also allow for flexible schedules that gives your employees the ability to pursue their interests outside of work.
3. Make a Social Impact
Increasingly companies are adding a social purpose to their bottom line. Research has shown workers who believe they’re having a social impact are twice as satisfied with their jobs as those that don’t. A great example is Tom’s Shoes, which donates a pair of shoes for every one they sell. Many larger companies also match their employee’s charitable gifts on their behalf.
Today’s employees don’t just want an important title and nice salary from their job. They want to know how they contribute to the company’s mission. As Daniel Pink, the author of Drive: Self-Direction, Mastery & the Purpose Motive, says, “When the profit motive becomes unmoored from the purpose motive, bad things happen.” No company wants bad things to happen, so employers must make an effort to instill a sense of purpose—their bottom line may depend on it.
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