What Gives Employees Purpose? Extra Space Storage graphic

How to Give Employees a Sense of Purpose

Study after study has shown that, when employees have a sense of purpose, productivity improves. But what gives employees purpose? And how can employers and managers foster this sense within their workplace? Here are six things company leaders can do to keep their employees feeling fulfilled.

1) Establish Core Values

Having a set of core values is one of the simplest but most powerful ways to give employees purpose. This is largely because the values that tend to appear on these lists—like honesty, integrity, and accountability—are easy for employees to identify with on a personal and emotional level.

Core values that emphasize ethical practices make employees feel more connected to their workplace, meaning a strong set of core values is crucial to employee morale and employee engagement.

Core values are helpful for company leaders, too, as a recruitment and retention tool. According to the Forbes Coaches Council, values-based decision-making promotes efficiency, creates clarity, and improves trust between leaders and their teams.

2) Give Employees Freedom

People work best when they feel valued as individuals, so leaders who want highly motivated employees must allow them to utilize their strengths and interests. Companies can achieve this by offering “freedom within a framework“—which is both a phrase and philosophy used by leaders in a plethora of industries.

While leaders have a responsibility to set certain parameters and expectations for the workplace and day-to-day work structures, good leaders know that leaving room for some autonomy in the office gives employees a sense of purpose and can make them more productive.

3) Encourage Continued Learning

Savvy leaders not only hire employees based on their skills, but also allow them the chance to grow and improve over their time with the company. After all, good employees are an investment. The more they learn about their area of expertise, the more effectively they’ll perform within the business.

As technology, industry standards, and ideas evolve, so should your employees. By giving employees the opportunity to grow and develop their skills, leaders demonstrate that they value their employees and see their work as purposeful. Continued training is a must for any effective employee engagement model.

4) Put the Work in Context

If employees only have a vague idea of the company’s goals, they’ll also only have a vague understanding of how to help reach them. No matter their role in the business, each employee should be able to see themselves and their work as part of the big picture.

Giving employees a “why” to their daily, monthly, and yearly tasks will help them to better understand the company’s goals, as well as their part in achieving those goals.

5) Lead by Example

According to the Predictive Index People Management Study—a survey that gathered feedback from more than 5,000 employees—employees tend to value the same qualities in their leaders as they aspire to themselves. Additionally, 94% of employees who responded said they feel passion and energy at work when they have a good leader.

6) Be Open to Feedback

Salesforce Research recently found that employees who feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to do their best work. Several business publications—including ForbesThe Association for Talent Development, and IndustryWeek Magazine—agree that listening to employees is a valuable way to build trust, boost workplace morale, and improve employee engagement.

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How to Give Employees a Sense of Purpose via @extraspace