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How To Build Employee Purpose As An Organizational Leader


Lisa Caprelli is a Latina entrepreneur and writer for kids & adults. An author of 19 books, she created the edutainment brand Unicorn Jazz.

Ever since the pandemic, many employees have been reevaluating their career options and life choices. Workers have been redefining what their values and priorities are in favor of fulfillment and purpose.

A 2021 study by McKinsey found that 70% of workers feel that their purpose is defined by their job. This tells me that most people don’t stay in their line of work just to make ends meet; they do so to find a purpose that motivates them while doing their part in being productive members of society.

As a result, workers are more likely to leave their jobs when they feel their purposes aren’t being fulfilled. So, how can you as a business leader do your part to make sure your employees stay upbeat, motivated and loyal? The answer is looking inward at yourself first regarding your methods in management.

As business owners and CEOs of our own organizations, we are not only responsible for our own success but also for the prosperity of the people we bring on board. This is an undeniable part of being an executive leader that every successful CEO must adhere to when making internal decisions. After all, being able to take accountability not just for yourself but also for those who are within your employment is what defines the thriving modern leading executive in any business field.

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That being said, managers and employers have to look inward to determine if they are doing enough to ensure their employees are finding purpose in their role to work through any difficulties that might arise. The problem here is that nowadays, some organizational higher-ups tend to do only the bare minimum when it comes to sharing the “big picture” of the company’s mission to their employees.

As a result, only 15% of workers on the lower end of the hierarchy report that they feel that they are living their purpose at work, McKinsey also found. Compare this to the 85% of upper-level managers and executives who report seeing a consistent connection between their day-to-day role and the company’s overall mission.

Five Ways To Build Employee Purpose

1. Address psychological needs.

Essentially, employers should work with their employees when it comes to accommodating their psychological safety and timely urgencies. The “five hats” is a theory I came up with and have written on often, and it refers to the five points I believe everyone needs to have fulfilled on a consistent basis. These are:

• Spending time with family.

• Establishing meaningful relationships.

• Creating a solid career path.

• Building connections.

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• Investing in hobbies and adventures.

Of course, it is ultimately an individual’s responsibility to manage their schedule and attention, but as a leader, it is also your responsibility to ensure that the expectations you put on workers do not deter them from their personal interests and obligations.

2. Support employees’ personal goals.

Ask workers individually where they see themselves in five years and what goals they would like to accomplish. Then, identify how their current position provides experience toward their ambitions. In short, the best way to find out how to build purpose is to find out what a person values in a job other than the money that comes with it.

3. Consider personality type.

Assessing a worker’s personality can help employers understand what sorts of things drive them to their best potential. Social cohesion tends to be a top priority among more extroverted employees, while workers on the introverted side tend to stay motivated through task-related measures. In other words, by determining a person’s personality type, you can easily find out what sort of environment they feel comfortable in to perform their best work.

4. Provide constructive criticism and praise.

Performance reviews are crucial for building employee purpose, as feedback lets employees know that what they’re doing in their job matters. Critiquing workers and offering words of appreciation serve to remind them that they are not only a crucial part of the organization but also an active representation of the company’s efficiency.

5. Host team meetings and award ceremonies.

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Lastly, hosting team meetings is always a great way to assess personality types during brainstorms, while award ceremonies show that organizational leaders are indeed recognizing the proper actions and efforts made by employees who strive to be the best worker they can be, day in and day out. Overall, a working environment that is rich with team meetings and award recognitions is one where workers are mentally pushed to apply themselves while finding ways to uplift their motivation for the next task.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re an executive or front-end manager, we are all looking for happiness through purpose. As a business leader, it’s your job to work with your employees to make sure they are able to live fulfilled lives both within and outside the walls of your organization.

Take an outward look at your organization to see if it is a place where employees do their jobs well because they see the purpose behind their role or if it’s one where people are just expected to perform their work without room for suggestions. In the end, I’ve found that employees without purpose tend to feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Therefore, helping to build purpose for employees could not only induce loyalty and motivation but also produce better long-term results.


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