While today’s employees are still in pursuit of the basics when it comes to benefits – competitive pay, health insurance, PTO, etc. – there is a more profound and, in some cases, even more important need that professionals are looking to fulfill with the help of their employer. That is, finding a sense of purpose. As a society, we continue to grow more socially aware and driven to succeed, and we’re witnessing that desire to make a difference in the world translated into how we choose to spend our time, a lot of which is spent at work.
Employers that are able to assist their employees find purpose in life and work will find a happier and more engaged workforce as a result. Here are a few ways you can help your employees find purpose:
- Have good company values – Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become incredibly important for recruiting and retaining talent. Simply put, CSR is when a company is “conscious of the kind of impact they are having on all aspects of society including economic, social, and environmental,” and demonstrate values that support this awareness. This is especially important for millenials, two-thirds of which said they won’t even consider taking a job if the organization does not have strong CSR values, as well as the up and coming Generation Z.
- Recognize positive achievements of employees – Finding purpose can also manifest in the form of employees simply feeling confident in their role in your organization. Sixty percent of surveyed employees reported the ability to do what they do best in their role at work as being “very important” to them. It would make sense, then, that recognizing employees that excel at their jobs would be the best way to ensure contentment.
- Have opportunity for career growth – Working for a great company in a role you love and feel you are good at may be enough to satisfy a majority of employees, but this sense of fulfillment can often be threatened over time by feelings that they’re not going anywhere professionally – in other words, there is no opportunity for growth. Investing in the ability for your employees to grow professionally with your company is a surefire way to ensure that they are, and feel that they are, working towards something greater every day.
- Volunteer programs – While the goal of volunteering is to do something positive and selfless for others, there is no denying that people who volunteer do get something in return. When we spend time volunteering, we have the opportunity to make connections with others, hone useful skills like leadership and critical thinking, and reap both physical and mental health benefits. In addition to being good for employees’ personal well-being, having a corporate volunteer program can also produce a high ROI for companies as a result of those employees being happier and healthier.
- Charitable giving – Similar to implementing volunteer programs, making it easier for employees to give back to causes that are important to them is a great opportunity for organizations to boost morale and create a culture that supports social responsibility on a more personal level. This can be done in a number of ways, including sponsoring a fundraiser or donation drive and matching employee charitable donations.
- Flexibility to do more of what they love – The reality is, sometimes a job is just a job, and as much as we hope that employees are getting fulfillment from their careers or through their place of work in some way, it is very possible that the things that bring them the most joy or give them their sense of purpose are not related to their work. This could include a hobby or passion that wouldn’t necessarily pay the bills, or more time to spend with family and loved ones. Some employers will even grant paid time off specifically for employees to use for volunteering.
Having a strong purpose, or lack thereof, is so important to the way that we feel and how we choose to live our lives. Ensuring that your employees are happy about where they are in life and at work can be the difference between a successful company with a solid, loyal workforce and a failing one that can’t seem to hang on to the kind of great talent that could so positively impact their organization.