When asked what the number one reason for staying at their company was, the number one answer from employees surveyed by the Globoforce’s WorkHuman Research Institute was:
“My job - I find the work meaningful”.
Similarly, 76% of respondents listed meaningfulness as a top driver for engagement at work in a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management.
This article explores beyond traditional workplace wellness, unveiling the No. 1 reason for fulfilment at work:
Boredom, anxiety, depression are all triggered by a lack of purpose and fulfilment. Inside the office this leads to a loss of morale, degeneration in teamwork, lack of productivity, low sales, missing targets, and ultimately, loss of employees. With the costs of finding a replacement employee potentially rising above the annual salary of the current employee, and 56% of companies foreseeing difficulties in hiring and retaining the talent they require in the near future, employee retention is crucial.
Once a purpose is identified, employee productivity and “flow” rises along with their self-esteem, self-confidence, positivity, evolution and growth. A fulfilled employee with a sense of purpose no longer needs to seek out a different job role to fulfil them - they will be content to stay where they are. On an individual level, it leads to happiness, contentment, ease and resilience.
How to create a sense of purpose
Creating a true sense of purpose requires three stages:
Creating and communicating a company purpose;
Helping employees understand their own sense of purpose;
Identifying how employees are contributing to the wider environment.
Creating and communicating a company purpose
76% of employees who felt professionally fulfilled reported that their company had a strong sense of purpose. It is vital that the company clearly identifies its purpose and then communicates this to employees. This shared sense of purpose encourages teamwork, loyalty and drive.
Whilst senior management may have a clear idea of the purpose of the company, often this is not communicated down the line, or loses its meaning as it does.
Ways to communicate company purpose:
Clearly identify and emphasise purpose when recruiting new employees and during the induction process;
Asking individual teams to come up with their specific purpose contributing to the overall company purpose;
Creating surveys for employees to identify what they believe the company purpose is (and should be!);
Running projects and competitions for employees to create new ideas to fulfil the company purpose;
Clear demonstration of this purpose by senior and mid-level management.
Helping employees understand their own sense of purpose
Are your employees too overwhelmed at work to have the right mindset to activate purpose in themselves and others? Often, it is easy to get trapped in the “doing” without identifying or remembering the “why” in the first place. Helping employees identify and start living their own individual “why” is crucial for employee fulfillment.
Whilst having a company purpose provides solidarity within the organisation, each employee will be individually motivated by different reasons. These go beyond financial remuneration and need to be identified so each employee can be recognised and incentivised accordingly. An employee with a strong sense of purpose will incentivise themself, without having to have a carrot dangled in front of them, or a stick waved behind them.
How to help your employees identify their purpose:
Get your employees out of the office and into a setting where they have time and space to think and establish their individual “why” (KW Corporate Wellness’s desert workshops are a great way of doing this);
Place thought-provoking media around the workplace, particularly where employees tend to dwell;
Conduct surveys with incentives to encourage employees to identify and share their why;
Make it a part of the existing goal-setting and appraisal processes.
Identifying how employees are contributing to the wider environment
86% of employees believe its important that their employer contributes to the wider society and environment. Millenials in particular look for purposeful work that contributes to society, even ranking it as more important than remuneration.
It links in with natural human psyche - motivation through a reason greater than one’s self. If employees, as human beings, feel that they are contributing to a greater good (in any sense, any interpretation and at any level), their sense of purpose is heightened and acts as a stronger motivator for their individual actions.
The methods for establishing and communicating this are much the same as for the company purpose above. In addition, getting your employees out “on the ground”, meeting customers and understand how they are benefitting may be the strongest way of communicating this message. Another great way to encourage employees to sign up for CSR projects related to their roles to actively live out purpose and see the results.
Workplace wellness goes far beyond a bowl of fruit in the kitchen. Mental wellness is vital for the success of organisations, and the happiness and fulfillment of people as individuals. Finding purpose in one area of life often has a knock on effect on other areas of life. By providing your employees with purpose, you may be providing them with a new lease of life that will extend to their health, relationships and happiness, both inside and outside the office.
KW Corporate Wellness runs a variety of programs helping companies and employees find and live out their purpose. Whether that’s through team off-sites or one-on-one coaching in the office, we can provide the right framework for your individual organisation. For a free initial consultation, drop us a message or contact us today.