The Science on Purpose at Work

The empirical link between purpose and performance.

More Than Just “Woo”

For many conservative left-brain thinkers, it’s easy to write off the cult of purpose as yet another idyllic progressive world view, reduce it to a form of “woo”, and file it away under crystals and chakras.

Purpose and Engagement

Engagement is of course tightly coupled with employee performance as well as employee attrition.

Purpose and Persistence

Harvard Business School professor, Jon Jachimowicz, says that by focusing on your purpose, you align with your deepest values, and relieve yourself of the expectation that the long slog will be nothing but rainbows and lollipops. Purpose ultimately helps us build resilience and play the long game, which is almost a prerequisite to success in any field.

Purpose and Death?

Early studies also find an apparent link between purpose at work and mortality, with employees of purpose-led companies having a 15% lower risk of death. This aligns with research on the lived experience of elderly people who, when they feel life is completed and no longer worth living, are more likely to develop depression and/or ultimately die.

Making Purpose Work For You

According to EY, in order to make purpose work for an organization, it needs to be tied to autonomy, power and influence, and income and recognition. Otherwise, if we work for a purpose-led company and find ourselves spending all day in pointless back-to-back meetings, and jumping through 73 hoops over the period of several months in order to get simple things done, we’re likely to lose our sense of connection to our work and become disgruntled.

Purpose at Home

Purpose, of course, can go beyond the purpose behind the direct purpose behind our work. According to EY, people’s motivations are a result of purpose, income, and status. For many people, the indirect purpose — the income needed to provide for one’s family — might be enough fuel for the proverbial fire.

Founder: Collective Campus, Host: Future Squared, Author: Time Rich & Employee to Entrepreneur. Clubhouse: @steveglaveski Visit: #MELB

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