Why does personal purpose matter?

You might say we live — and work — in an age of purpose. There is a growing perception that young workers want to feel as though the work they do contributes to a greater good, according to an article in Forbes.

I think it’s silly to suggest that only younger workers want to feel that way. Every person wants to know their work matters and contributes to the greater good. Without that sense of purpose, people lack motivation to even show up for work, let alone be productive.

However, Forbes cited research into “The Purpose Gap,” for which 65% of employees under the age of 40 agree it’s important that their employer positively impacts society when it comes to social, environmental and governance issues.

The good news is that employees prioritize a workplace that fuels their own personal sense of purpose, wrote Ursula Morgenstern.

Again, that will depend upon how purpose is defined. For some people, family is their purpose and jobs are seen only as a means to support them. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s nearly impossible for people to see working for someone else as a way to fuel their own personal sense of purpose.

Rather than a company’s stated position on social issues and the environment, perhaps a personal sense of purpose is what’s fueling the Great Resignation. People are tired of battling traffic just to drive to an office where they sit like veal trapped in a cubical with zero control over their schedule and the amount of money they can make.

Just because some companies allow employees to work from home some of the time doesn’t make the reality of starting at a computer screen or participating in endless Zoom calls for nine hours a day any more palatable.

Rather than waiting for permission from a boss to be picked for a job or selected for promotion just to get more responsibility and better compensation, employees of all ages are waking up to the fact there is more to life than investing 60% of their waking hours building someone else’s dream or lining the pockets of shareholders. But, I digress.

Ursula outlined five ways in which leaders can help employees develop a stronger connection between jobs and their personal purpose. They include:

  • Make sure employees see the impact of their work.
  • Be flexible about job roles and responsibilities.
  • Never stop modernizing your leadership style.
  • Offer personalized guidance and feedback.
  • Keep an open mind about the best practices for hybrid work.

To read Ursula’s rational for those suggestions, the full story can be found at www.forbes.com.