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What Does It Mean to Work with a Purpose?

Think back to a hundred years ago when the choices for work were more limited. If you only had a choice to work somewhere like in a factory or on a farm (and you didn’t really want to), it may have been difficult to feel like you could find purpose in work. So, what does it really mean to have a purpose when it comes to your job? It means to show up at work for more than just the paycheck. It means feeling a sense of direction that is beyond the tasks you must complete. Here are some signs of finding purpose at work.

More meaningful interest in work.

Purpose is directly related to passion, commitment, and dedication. When an employee finds purpose in their work, they are likely to view their job as more than a way to make an income. Aligning personal values with day-to-day job duties or the goals of the organization causes employees to want to work harder and do their best at their job. All of this leads to them finding more meaning in their work and in working for their company.

It fuels motivation.

On top of meaning, finding purpose at work gives employees a sense of fulfillment and pride in what they do. When they find a bigger reason to do their jobs than money, workers will work harder to overcome challenges they encounter on a daily basis. This benefits both employee and employer because purpose leads to taking more initiative and wanting to achieve excellence—in other words not just going through the motions. For example, if an employee finds purpose at work, they may show up early and stay late without being asked or volunteer for committees they normally wouldn’t otherwise.

More people stay and want to work.

Bottom line, purpose leads to retention of employees. This is important for employers because finding talent that is willing to work hard and stay put is hard to find. Younger generations are even more driven by finding meaning in their careers. They want to feel they are a part of something bigger than what they know and that impacts the world in a positive way. Companies that interweave purpose with production attract talented, eager individuals on a much larger scale.

What’s another reason people seem to want to find more purpose in their work? Because as a whole, we are a wealthier society—meaning many have a roof over their heads and are not starving for food. With these basic needs met, the idea behind work has changed. That’s likely one reason why you’ll see people today wanting (or requiring) more from their jobs. And this isn’t likely to change anytime soon.


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