Now More Than Ever - Purpose at Work

May 18 2020 / by Mari Ryan

Work is different today. Productivity has tanked as employees work from home in often less than optimal conditions. Distracted by kids, the dog, and the proximity of the refrigerator, it’s hard to stay focused.

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And yet, all around us we are seeing people driven by purpose in their work. Factory workers stayed on the job, living at their factory for 28 days, because they were making gear for hospital workers. Hospital and healthcare workers are giving their all because they believe that what they do matters.

These workforces are driven by their purpose in our communities and in our world.

Purpose is bigger than you
When an organization clearly articulates its purpose, it provides an aspirational vision with which employees can connect. The purpose needs to answer the question, “Why are we here?” It should be outward focused, motivational, and contribute to a greater good. In his book, The Advantage, Peter Lencioni describes purpose as, “Employees in every organization and at every level, knowing that at the heart of what they do lies something grand and aspirational.”

In a recent conversation with Julie Ann Sullivan, leadership coach and top employee engagement influencer, Ms. Sullivan stated, “It’s important for people to have a purpose bigger than the small piece or job that they’re doing. Not only to be able to show people what the greater purpose is, but to live that greater purpose in everything they do.”

My book, The Thriving Hive: How People-Centric Workplaces Ignite Engagement and Fuel Results, is set in two ‘workplaces’ of beehives, the Dive Hive and the Alive Hive. In the Dive Hive the purpose is to make the numbers and create profit. In the Alive Hive the purpose is to pollinate the fruits and vegetables so that people have healthy food to eat.

Purpose and Well-being
When employees feel connected to an organization’s purpose, they are motivated, engaged and committed. The organization benefits from higher productivity and lower turnover. Let’s face it, engaged employees are more productive. Research by Bain & Company revealed that if a satisfied employee’s productivity level is 100%, an engaged employee’s level is 144%, and the productivity level of an employee who is truly inspired by their employer’s purpose is a startling 225%.

Connection to a greater purpose is good for your health and well-being. A study found that individuals with high levels of eudemonic well-being, which involves having a sense of purpose along with a sense of control and a feeling that what you do is worthwhile, tend to live longer.

As our world of work begins to move beyond this pandemic, it’s a perfect time to reconnect to your organization’s purpose.


Topics: Worksite Wellness, Wellbeing, worksite wellbeing, workplace wellbeing, workplace culture, employee experience, employee engagement, purpose, company culture, workplace wellness, organizational culture, employee wellbeing, thriving workplace

Mari Ryan

Written by Mari Ryan

Mari Ryan is the CEO/founder of AdvancingWellness and is a recognized expert in the field of workplace well-being strategy.