A Sense of Purpose Motivates Employees

If you were to wander into a certain coffee shop in Oregon, you might think that our friend Michelle* owns the place, she’s so enthusiastic and passionate about her job! You see, she once worked at a coffee shop where their goal was to create a great place for people to hang out. Within months, Michelle realized she didn’t enjoy working there, and she found a job at another coffee shop. The new shop’s goal is to create great-tasting coffee. They go to great lengths to roast the beans just right and brew it just the right amount of time, depending upon whether it’s iced or hot. The science behind coffee excites Michelle, and she has become a passionate student of the coffee business. A model employee, Michelle even saves her tip money so she can someday attend a barista camp. In short, Michelle has found her purpose–the idea “that energizes, directs and differentiates the business”!

That’s how Calling Brands, a UK-based consultancy, defines purpose. According to their recent survey, on average, 65% of people said that working for an organization that has purpose beyond financial goals would motivate them to go the ‘extra mile’ in their jobs. Wow, is that all it takes to raise employee engagement levels?

Calling Brands’ director of strategic development, Sean McKnight, says that “a sense of purpose motivatees employees as it helps them align their personal lives with a mission or set of goals that resonate with them. Purpose provides clarity to all audiences, both inside and outside of an organisation, on why a business is valuable to its customers, employees, shareholders, partners and society as a whole. If they feel a personal link with the aims of the organisation, it motivates them to push themselves further in pursuit of the same goal.”

Have you ever worked overtime, not out of a sense of obligation but because you were excited about the project? A sense of purpose drives employees’ discretionary effort and loyalty, says McKnight. If you’re an employee who’s just not feeling motivated, or an employer who’s having trouble retaining or engaging your employees, this may be a good time to stop and ask what your organization exists to do, where it’s going, why it matters and what it’s good at. If you can only come up with financial goals, it’s time to find another reason!

Click here to learn how one company motivates its employees.

*name has been changed so no one tries to bum a free coffee from her!

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