Connecting purpose in the modern workplace

Workers today expect more from their jobs and employers. Meeting their evolving needs is essential to employee satisfaction, productivity, and loyalty. As work and life overlap in new ways, employees are looking for employers to reflect their values in relatable ways. More than half of American workers expect their employer to provide more than a paycheck - they expect them to contribute to the wellbeing of society1

Additionally, three-fourths believe that their employer has a responsibility to improve the local community1.

When employers’ and employees’ sense of purpose align, the results are profound. In order to create a workplace where people can thrive, employers must create pathways for employees to see the alignment between their individual sense of purpose and their company’s purpose.

Striking the right balance is an exercise in nuance.

A corporate purpose must be articulated in a way that individuals can link to their day to day. Many corporate purpose statements are targeted to investors, highlighting successes and financial wins.

This has created a gap between executives and workers: 47 percent of executives strongly agree that they can identify with their company's purpose, while just 30 percent of employees feel this way1.

The behaviors of leadership and the language used to communicate business decisions are prime opportunities to bridge this gap. Yet, only 25 percent of today’s workers believe that leadership is setting an example of “living the company’s purpose,” and only 28 percent believe that purpose is reflected in major business decisions2. When looking to encourage overlaps between corporate and personal purpose, organizations must remember that the difference starts at the top and works its way down.   

Whether announcing a merger, change in leadership, or new profit sharing structure, employers must not underestimate the need to draw a clear line from the organization’s intentions to the individual’s purpose. When approached carefully, these expressions can be the key to unlocking more engagement and loyalty among our most important asset: their workforce.

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1 Employees to Employers: We want you to share our values and make the world a better place, November 29, 2017, MetLife  []

2 How a Sense of Purpose Boosts Engagement, April 18, 2014, Adam Vaccaro []