Work matters to your people and they want their work to matter in the world. Finding that alignment enhances fulfillment at work, leading to increased productivity, innovative and creative working, and means employees are more likely to stay in the role.
Sounds idealistic? Here’s what Richard Branson has to say about it:
“I think if the people who work for a business are proud of the business they work for, they’ll work that much harder, and therefore, I think turning your business into a real force for good is good business sense as well”.
Delivering shareholder returns may be a key focus for senior management, but for many workers, they want to see the impact that the organization makes in societal and community terms; this may be as important to them as the profit drive. Employee engagement was traditionally seen as based on good salaries and attractive benefits, but that’s not enough.
Lead from the front
Wendy Ulrich, a psychologist, educator, and writer outlines what employers need to address: “Leaders are in a great position to articulate the values a company is trying to enact and to shape the story of how today’s work connects with those values. This means sharing stories of how the company is making a difference for good in the lives of real people, including customers, employees, and communities”.
A few years ago, PwC found that top talent is much more inclined to work for companies that have a demonstrated commitment to social issues, compared to ones that don’t. For many workers this may be particularly important; in particular, Gen X and Gen Y believe that being able to apply their personal values in their career is meaningful, to the point that 55% will change career paths to integrate their work and personal life.
At 10Eighty, we believe that an organizational culture where employees find their personal purpose is aligned with corporate mission and purpose is where you should aim. Employees want that connection, to feel they are part of the larger whole and to feel that their contribution is recognized and valued. This is predicated on an employee-centered approach that enables each person to bring their ‘best self’ to work.
Creating such a culture, one which leads to that shared sense of belonging, encourages team members to collaborate, share knowledge and take a proactive and creative attitude towards challenges and problem-solving. Where the organization builds that common purpose based on shared values, it is able to promulgate success as a shared goal.
A healthy workplace environment and a belief in meaningful work encourage employees to think creatively and to learn from and listen to each other; where each is respected for their contribution based on a shared commitment to continuously improving performance. In addition, research suggests that having a strong life purpose is good for both physical and mental health.
Michael Steger, Associate Professor of Psychology at Colorado State University found three elements employees seek in purposeful work:
- Does the work have significance and purpose?
- Does it contribute to finding a broader meaning in life?
- Does it make a positive contribution to the greater good?
Aligning career values with corporate goals means organizations must adjust and focus organizational development initiatives towards engaging with the employee experience and enabling employees to do better work. Where employees take ownership of the organization’s success, they will feel a greater sense of purpose which is a powerful driver of engagement.
More than just a job, a meaningful career that energizes and engages allows talented employees to fulfill their potential.