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The connection between people and purpose

Purpose. It is a word that everyone is undoubtedly familiar with. It is likely that most people have, at some point, asked the question “What is my purpose?”. Everybody wants to achieve their purpose. Organisations have a purpose too. There needs to be a set-out intention and reasoning for existence. Essentially, the purpose is the reason that everyone within an organisation is there.

Purpose matters.

It releases the limitless potential of people by powering employee motivation, imagination, and reservation. Creating a strong sense of purpose provides a significant competitive advantage within an organisation. Companies are usually aware of the importance of purpose but often a significant gap exists between a company’s achievements and its purpose. A survey conducted by Kearney revealed that a third of CEOs are under the impression that their companies are aspiring to the set-out purpose, and only half of the middle managers surveyed agree.

What is the organisational purpose?

Organisational purpose refers to the meaningful and enduring reason for existence that provides concise context for decisions that are made daily and is aimed at unifying and motivating stakeholders. The organisational purpose is the motivating force that moves, guides, and delivers the entity to a predetermined goal. It is crucial to create an environment that boosts organisational purpose as this allows the leader to get the most out of their team and employees by maximising their happiness, fulfilment, and potential.

People seek purpose through their work. When someone feels that they have no purpose, they may decide to leave their job. It is crucial that companies take action to enhance the well-being, trust, and opportunities for the personal growth of their workforce. Employees have begun to recognise that the balance of power has shifted in their favour and are seeking opportunities with employers that are offering and demonstrating this purpose for them. It is critical that companies make their employees feel connected to something larger that they can contribute to and become proud of.

The link between people and purpose

Individual and organisational purposes need to be connected to result in agency, flexibility, and a sense of ownership, all of which employees value during an era of increased employee power in the workplace. To manage expectations around what is possible for employees, clarity regarding what is and is not feasible must be provided. Organisational leaders need to be original and create authentic interactions to support the connection of people to purpose.

As the ‘people’ function, HR plays a large role in connecting people to purpose. HR can assist in making the organisational purpose more real to employees by embedding it into their daily tasks and overall work experience.

How can you as a leader connect your people to purpose?

  • Make use of leadership forums to assist in thinking through the current and desired values for the organisation. These forums can hold discussions of purpose and encourage a personal approach.

  • Set priorities straight. Personalise priorities to make your employees feel more valued and important.

  • Coaching and teaching executives how to be genuinely empathetic and caring towards their employees. It is important for leaders to engage consistently with their team to promote authentic leadership which will inspire the team.

  • Regularly show the team how their contributions and work are important for the fulfilment of the organisation's purpose.

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