Research shows that personal fulfillment is the single largest contributor to a positive employee experience. A PwC survey found that 83% of workers said “finding meaning in day-to-day work” was their top priority.
Cultures that focus on fulfillment see clear improvements. The Harvard Business Review notes that “engaged employees perform better, experience less burnout, and stay in organisations longer.”
Fulfillment is a feeling of contentment or completeness that comes from the accomplishment of our most important goals.
Fulfillment occurs when we identify strongly with a purpose and connect to others in meaningful ways.
So why aren’t employees feeling fulfilled? Three big reasons: Not enough challenge, not feeling appreciated, and a lack of ownership. When any one of these is missing, people won’t feel fulfilled at work.
And lack of fulfillment is currently a big challenge. Nearly one third of employees are unfulfilled in their jobs. These employees are less likely to promote their organisations or contribute to success.
Unfulfilled employees are also much more likely to leave.
Meanwhile, highly fulfilled employees plan to stay at their organisations three years longer than unfulfilled employees.
An idea like fulfillment may seem abstract and difficult to address or improve. But we do know four specific areas that strengthen employee fulfillment.
Balance isn’t simply dividing time neatly between work and not work. Organisations should give people a say in how they work, as well as what work they do.
Establish policies, practices, and expectations that support balance. Ensure employees have opportunities to take time off without feeling guilt. Provide flexibility in where and when employees do their work.
Highlight a sense of community through shared values, goals, and purpose. Train leaders to get to know employees individually and show appreciation for their unique contributions.
Growth is so much more than raises and promotions. It’s critical for leaders to provide consistent opportunities for skill development, networking with peers and leaders, and coaching and mentorship.
Refine your purpose and communicate it often. Connect employee and business goals to it. Use public and private recognition to showcase how employees contribute to it.
Encourage leaders to learn what employees need to find meaning in their jobs. Help employees define and accomplish goals that are personally meaningful to them.
Organisations must take action to improve employee engagement, or risk losing talent and great work. The research is clear: As you focus on balance, community, growth, and purpose you will strengthen employee fulfillment, improve retention, and enjoy a thriving workplace culture.
For a more in-depth look at fulfillment and how to build a solid work community, check out the 2023 Global Culture Report.
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