What it is:
Purpose is your organization’s reason for being—the difference your organization makes in the world. It’s why your company exists. Employees want to be part of something bigger and make an impact to change the world.
Purpose is different from mission, strategy, or values. Mission is what you do. Strategy is how you will do it. Values are behaviors you want employees to live by. But purpose is why you do all of these things.
Unfortunately, only 66% of employees feel a sense of purpose from their organization, and only 53% say their purpose is inspiring.
Gen Z and Millennials are drawn to organizations with a strong purpose, with 68% of Millennials saying “changing the world” is a personal goal they are working towards. They also have a higher sense of purpose at work than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers:
“Profit isn’t a purpose. It’s a result. To have purpose means the things we do are of real value to others.”
Why it impacts culture:
People are attracted to companies with a clear purpose that they can connect to. Being able to see, hear, and feel purpose in the employee experience creates a culture where employees feel inspired and more motivated.
Employees that find meaningful purpose at work are twice as satisfied with their jobs and 3X as likely to stay with their organization. Purpose-driven companies outperform their peers in stock price by 12X. And when employees feel ownership of their organization’s purpose, they are over 120% more likely to feel motivated at work.
How to do it well:
It’s not enough just to have an inspiring purpose. Employees must know what your purpose is, feel connected to it, and understand how they contribute to that purpose. Here are 4 ways to embed purpose in your organization:
1) Make sure your purpose is aligned to your employee value proposition, customer value proposition, and social good. When your messaging is integrated and consistent, it makes it easier for everyone to identify and connect with your company’s purpose.
2) Communicate your purpose clearly and often. Employees must see and hear about your company’s purpose weekly, if not daily.
3) Tie employee recognition to purpose. When you recognize and appreciate employees, be specific in how they and their work contribute to the company’s purpose. They can see just how they are helping make a difference.
4) Tell employees how they connect to your purpose. Use one-on-one meetings as consistent, frequent conversations of how your employee is working towards the purpose of the company.
Read more about why having an inspiring purpose is not enough.
“Connect the dots between individual roles and the goals of the organization. When people see that connection, they get a lot of energy out of work. They feel the importance, dignity and meaning in their job.”
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