Being and Belonging at Work: Why it matters.

Finding Purpose at Work

Why someone works varies from person to person, and for many, the primary reason is obvious: to pay the bills. But increasingly, employees want work to be about much more than that. To feel fulfilled, many don’t want just a job — they want something they can take pride in. Many want to feel like they are making an impact. Others find purpose outside of work, and don’t want to be limited to a standard 9-to-5 structure. They may want to spend more time with their family, for example.

We know that work is an essential part of life, but it is only one part. Many people will find their intrinsic value out of a variety of aspects in life. Organizations and leaders need to be more open to the idea that people don’t want just a paycheck. Whether that means promoting the value a person makes at work every day, or simply getting out of the way to let their employees live a meaningful, full life. It starts with understanding the whole person.

Manager Tips

Your organization has a unique mission and purpose. But if employees can’t see how their role fits into that bigger picture, it can be a recipe for disaster. Finding meaning in the work you do is much easier when you have a clear connection to a greater purpose. Being explicit in how each person’s work connects to a company’s ultimate goal allows for more aligned workers who feel like they directly influence those accomplishments.

Similar to autonomy, leaders should enable employees to choose how they work, within reason. If a person finds more value working later hours so they can spend time with their children, try to let them! If the work can still get done, giving them the option to build work around their life will ensure they come to work happier — and produce better work.

Employee Tips

Finding purpose in your job isn’t a simple task. It may take some time and introspection. Start with what you value most from  your life experiences. Do you enjoy being part of a team? Do you enjoy helping others? Once you know what brings you joy and value outside of work, find ways to apply that in your day-to-day. Whether that be through coaching others, or just by being the best individual performer you can be, clarity of purpose can help make work more fulfilling.

Many still believe a job is a thing you just have to do, not necessarily something you enjoy. Chances are, those people just aren’t in the right seat. Just because you’re in one role now doesn’t mean you have to be in that one forever. Work with your manager to find new responsibilities that align more with your interests and values. Trust that the right role for you is out there, whether at your current organization or elsewhere.

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