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New Year Reset: Workplace Success and Finding Purpose

By Marisa Zalabak

Published December 26, 2019

It's almost a New Year and time to reflect and reset. One of the top indicators of workplace satisfaction for both leaders and employees is the desire for work with a purpose. Often the need for sense of purpose is overlooked and many people feel that they are just working for a paycheck, unconnected from experiencing a sense of meaning. 

In a survey conducted by Pew Research Center focused on what gives American’s meaning in their lives, four factors emerged universally associated with the highest levels of life satisfaction regardless of socioeconomic status; health, life-partnership, friendship, and career---career relating to work with a purpose, like making a positive difference in the world or fulfilling a need for creative expression.

This is not limited to the U.S. Echoing this, in a global study by Deloitte that focused on identifying what supports employee happiness, top factors included: meaningful work, positive work culture and environment, growth opportunities, trust in leadership, and supportive management. Less than half of all surveyed reported experiencing satisfaction. And, although 84% of respondents felt that employee experience was key to workplace satisfaction, only 9% of businesses and organizations surveyed felt ready to address gaps and shortfalls. 

There is much that can be done, yet research shows that we can begin to make work meaningful by building trusting workplace relationships focused on revisiting three elements; Values, Mission & Vision. 

1)   Revisit and identify actionable Values in-depth (What do the values look like?)

2)   Connect Values to the Mission (What is the roadmap?)

3)   Align Values and Mission with the Vision (What will be achieved by fulfilling the mission?)

Although values, mission, and vision were most likely chosen when the organization was started, these are dynamic (not static) and require adjustments that are responsive to external and internal circumstances that occur over time. Once updated, it is essential to provide continuous opportunities for everyone involved to contribute and experience the importance of their role in the success of the organizational vision.

While flexibility, pay, and work/life balance also influence job satisfaction, the deep desire for sense of purpose is an essential factor to consider. According Mercer, thriving employees are three times more likely to work for a company with a strong sense of purpose. “However, only 13% of surveyed companies offer an employee value proposition (EVP) differentiated by a purpose-driven mission.” 

The ROI is clear. Taking the time to focus on building sense purpose into the strategic plan lays the foundation for improved motivation, engagement, productivity, well-being, good will and profitability.

It is a major factor that flourishing organizations with the highest levels of job satisfaction and talent retention pay close attention to, providing opportunities for leaders, employees, clients, and stakeholders to fulfill needs and realize aspirations. 

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