The Connection Between Workplace Culture and Purpose-Driven Work

Category: Management/Leadership
Author Name: TrainingABC
Posted: 06-03-2023 03:11 AM
Views: 988
Synopsis: Are Your Employees Getting What They Need to Feel Fulfilled at Work?

The average person will spend roughly 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime – that’s 1/3 of their life! It’s not new for people to feel defined by the work they do, but in recent years, employees have been even more committed to finding work that helps them find their purpose in life. They want to enjoy the work they do, be inspired by their colleagues, and feel an emotional connection to the organization they support.


In Gallup’s “State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report,” the reality of worker wellbeing and engagement was brought to light. These metrics, which were on the rise for nearly a decade, lost momentum and became stagnant. Only 21% of employees reported feeling engaged at work and only 33% are thriving in their workplace. Workers are more stressed than ever before, less connected to the work they do, and are struggling to find meaning in their day-in and day-out activities. So, what is the role that employers play in rectifying this situation?


The pandemic shifted the way people thought about work’s role in their lives, but even in a post-pandemic setting, people are looking for more than a paycheck. If employers want to get serious about addressing employee satisfaction, reducing turnover, and cultivating a prosperous workplace, they need to bring the passion back to work. By strengthening workplace culture and boosting purpose-driven business outcomes, employers can change with the tide instead of fighting against it.


Workplace Culture and Its Role in Fulfillment


The reality of purpose-driven work is that not every job is going to make professionals feel like they are changing the world. Submitting expense reports, completing administrative tasks, and attending meetings are often large components of a person’s workday, but they don’t contribute to a sense of fulfillment. Whether you are leading a nonprofit that’s boosting access to medical care or an entertainment company that is known for great events, there’s one way to bring connection back to the workplace: company culture.


“Company culture” is a long-used term that has always had a shifting goalpost. For many years, culture was looked at as something that meant happy hours and holiday parties and the tech industry influenced the term to be represented by catered lunches and in-office massages. But now, those once-popular approaches to boosting company culture are outdated and ineffective.


What employees really want is to spend 90,000 hours of their lives in a place where they feel seen, valued, and safe. With these qualities as the foundation of your company’s culture, your employees will be more likely to stick around for a while, connect with their colleagues, and communicate new, innovative ideas.


The New Era of Company Culture


If it’s not snacks in the breakroom and bring your dog to work office spaces, what is it? Here is what workers really want, and a lot of it is…fairly basic:


  • Plenty of opportunities for advancement and role flexibility. If an employee is interested in a new department or wants to focus on a subset of their role that they feel passionate about, leadership should hear them out, consider their perspective, and make changes when possible.
  • Autonomy and respect as a working adult can be hard to come by these days. There are many fear-mongering messages that employees are lazy, entitled, and uninterested in working when in reality they are frustrated and disengaged. Let them work from home when they ask or enjoy a flexible schedule to accommodate a doctor’s appointment. No micro-management needed.
  • Invest in team-building activities. They can range from fun, in-person events like an escape room to a tailored seminar on how to work best with different personality types. This creates a culture of safety, which is a critical pillar of employee satisfaction.
  • Listen to what your employees are passionate about. Do they want to target sustainability campaigns or fundraise for a new organization? Employers can provide resources and support to show that they care about what their employees care about.


It’s Not All Culture, It’s About the Work’s Purpose


As employees figure out how their work lives and personal lives can achieve alignment, a purpose-driven workplace is a key factor. Purpose-driven work is centered around the idea that workers are looking for an alignment in values across all aspects of their lives. To them, holistic well-being and fulfillment rely on purpose-driven careers that offer more than a “clock-in and clock-out” dynamic.


Going hand-in-hand with many of the workplace culture components discussed above, establishing a purpose-driven environment can look different in different organizations. Here are some ideas as to how to get started:


  • Ensure employees understand and connect with the company’s mission. So many inspiring business goals can get lost in the grind of the day-to-day. For many, the way they contribute to strategic business initiatives is unknown. When employers help connect those dots, employees become more engaged and confident in their roles.
  • Create a feedback loop for employees to share their ideas or concerns about what’s happening internally. Are they seeing a strategic opportunity that leadership is missing? Do they disagree with a decision that was made because it goes against their values? Understanding their perspective is the first step to prioritizing purpose-driven work.
  • Offer opportunities for them to commit time to what’s important to them. If they are passionate about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion projects, give them time to work on those types of projects within the organization.


There’s More Than One Solution


Again, not everyone is going to be able to work with UNICEF or other socially-focused organizations in their professional lives, but contrary to popular belief, that does not mean that the work they do has to lack purpose. By first building a company culture that is collaborative, safe, and healthy, your employers will be able to communicate clearly what they need to feel connected and engaged at work. Next, focus on providing opportunities to get re-invigorated by the day-to-day.


 If your employees are outspoken about certain causes, want to focus on sustainability, or simply plan to create better community service opportunities, their purpose can be found in many places. Allow them to come to you with ideas, be receptive to feedback, and work together to define what the future of work looks like for everyone.

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