4 keys to imbuing your employees with purpose

A clearly articulated mission will inspire collaboration and spark new ideas. Here are the fundamentals of conveying that vision to your staff.


Let’s think about purpose.

You might see it as an uncertain topic, and though difficult to quantify, purpose is at the heart and soul of great endeavors. If you seek it, meaning will come alive in your work.

It’s not just on you, though; concerted purpose requires people at all levels of an organization to work toward the same goal.

People want to find purpose and meaning at work and in everyday life. The trick is in getting to that point. What benefits are at the end of the purpose-driven journey for your business and for your employees?

Here are four crucial elements in cultivating common purpose:

1. Communication. Communicating the purpose of your organization isn’t easy. You can’t simply send out a memo restating the mission or vision statements and expect everyone to align themselves with it. If it’s difficult for you to pin down, how much harder might it be for employees who don’t have a strong connection already? Begin with clear communication. Employees must understand what they are supposed to do. There is an adage in writing: “Show, don’t tell.” By making business decisions in line with the company purpose, you show employees that the company aligns words with actions.

2. Mindset. The purpose mindset is vital to creating a meaningful workplace. Consider the mental space where you spend most of your time. Are you working only for the next paycheck, disengaged from a clear vision? Are you focused on getting a bigger salary or managing more projects? Or does your motivation stem from the meaning you derive from your work, going beyond yourself to the needs of others and the company? Each of these mindsets affects how easily you will discover your purpose. Consider starting that discovery process early with your new talent using training to build the way to a purpose-driven environment.

3. Appreciation. Most people aren’t just looking to “get by” in the workplace. They want to be valuable and create excellent work, but they don’t want to do it alone. The desire for recognition and connection is a fundamental one, so take time to recognize the value of the work. By doing so, you can tap into your employees’ passion for excellence. Acknowledge their achievements, and they will go far above and beyond what you expected.

4. Engagement. A culture that lacks engagement will face burnout and poor performance. Companies that prioritize engagement see an increase in employees’ personal success as well as reduction in costs. Engagement can be difficult to achieve, though. Consider the importance of corporate social responsibility. Most people want to work for a company that has solid ethics and promotes and pursues positive change in the world.

Blake Beus is a director of learning solutions at Allen Communication Learning Services. A version of this post first appeared on the O.C. Tanner blog.

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