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The Secret Weapon for Higher Employee Engagement: Purpose

Shira Wilensky, National Practice Leader, Health & Wellbeing at OneDigital shares 5 ways in which employers can help employees find purpose and meaning in their job.

How the Pursuit of Purpose Drives Productivity

Did you know that feeling connected to a sense of purpose is the largest contributor to overall employee wellbeing, according to a study published by Gallup? Only a fraction of the U.S. Labor market reports that they would use career and purpose interchangeably. Many employees do not feel their job is meaningful; instead, they view their job as a means to an end.

So, what’s wrong with showing up and collecting a paycheck?

According to the Engagement Institute, disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually. Feeling connected to a sense of purpose does more than boost overall wellbeing – it can also create more loyalty and increase engagement and productivity.

Some careers naturally lend themselves to making an easy connection to meaning and purpose. Teaching, caring for the sick or elderly, working with children and shaping the future, saving the environment and public service are examples of careers where employees may have felt inspired to serve the greater good. Finding the meaning or inspiration in stocking shelves, mopping floors or answering phones may pose a greater challenge.

How can employers help employees find purpose and meaning in their job?

Communicate your company’s mission statement and purpose more effectively.

According to IBM, if your company is a nonprofit or purpose-driven organization such as an elder care facility, school for the blind or disaster recovery service, this task may not be difficult. Even employees that play more of a supporting role or contribute behind the scenes can pride themselves on being a part of something bigger than themselves. Think of ways you can highlight serving others, relationships, customer experience and your company mission statement, vision and values.

Recognize that not all employees find their sense of purpose through their career.

Find ways to celebrate, recognize and support personal accomplishments such as life events, hobbies and employee aspirations to further professional and personal development. Launch an employee spotlight program or highlight milestones and accomplishments in a company newsletter. You can also task managers with finding out unique hobbies or interests from their employees and showing interest.

Create opportunities for employees to connect to their sense of purpose in the workplace.

Wellness, leadership, event planning and mentorship are all relevant tasks that can lend a platform for employees to tap into hidden talents and passions. Even though employees may not feel passionate about their actual job, giving them a platform to tap into other skills and interests can generate passion for their company and fulfillment from their job.

Acknowledge that some employees are meant to be with you for just a season.

Some employees may be on a mission to pursue their passion, and while their interests and desires may not meet the needs of the company long-term, it can be helpful to maximize the enthusiasm and spirit of these employees by supporting their goals and encouraging transparency.

Be a purposeful organization.

Regardless of the industry, employees are drawn to companies with a sense of corporate social responsibility. Eighty-five percent of employees said they were likely to stay with an employer longer if the employer showed a high level of social responsibility. Lead by example when it comes to getting involved in your community and encourage employees to do the same through company-sponsored events, paid time off to volunteer and matching charity donations. Employees who feel connected to the community where they live, work and play have an overall higher level of wellbeing!

If increasing employee engagement, loyalty and job performance aren’t enough, consider the impact on the mental health of your employees. Having meaning in your life and feeling connected to a sense of purpose has a positive effect on mental health.

Become intentional about creating a culture that prioritizes purpose. Contact your OneDigital Consultantto develop a strategy that promotes purpose and increases engagement, loyalty and productivity.

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