Do you love your job?
Why do you do the work you do?
Why do you work for the company you work for?
Sit for a moment and think about your answers. We’ll look at these questions again throughout this article, and see if your responses change in any way by the end. For now let’s talk about why I’ve asked them.
During their work years, a typical employee spends around 25-30% of their life working. So, how you feel about your work translates to how you feel about and experience a major chunk of your lifetime! While it’s natural to have days where you feel more stressed or less motivated than usual, it can be confronting to realise that if you’re feeling like this more often than not due to work, that’s potentially up to a third of your life that you’re feeling less than satisfied about. This can have incredibly detrimental effects on your physical, mental and emotional health including “problems with sleep, anxiety and depression.” In contrast, the happier and more fulfilled you feel in your work life, the greater the benefit to your states of wellbeing across all aspects of your life.
A 27 year study shows that the one main thing linking happiness, fulfillment and maximum productivity at work is: working with a sense of meaning and purpose. This leads to benefits for both employee and employer.
How do we achieve this? Onward to our 3 questions that will help us cultivate meaning and purpose within ourselves and our workplace.
Do you love your job? The power of Passion
While work is an inevitable part of most people’s lives, we want our work to do more than just pay the bills. One of the best ways to feel a sense of purpose at work is to find a way to feel passionate about what you do. According to a report conducted by Deloitte, only 13% of employees feel what the researchers coined ‘worker passion’.
Some people have a natural passion for their work having pursued their desired career or found their dream role, however passion is not necessarily about what you do, but about how you do it. Passionate workers are often people who consistently find ways to invoke passion: be it passion for service, helping others or learning regardless of the job they find themselves in. The report found that “71 percent of passionate workers find themselves working extra hours even though they are not required…. 89 percent of those…report feeling focused, immersed, and energized in their work, conditions associated with a “flow” state, in which individuals feel that what they are doing makes life meaningful and is worth doing independent of remuneration or reward.” Companies benefit too, slowly realising that passionate employees result in reduced absenteeism, greater loyalty, higher productivity, increased creativity and added motivation for their co-workers.
Keys to increasing passion, whether for yourself as an employee or encouraging it within your team: find or create opportunities for growth, learning, creative input and independence.
Why do you do the work you do? The importance of Purpose
To foster a feeling of meaning and purpose, it helps to get clear on, quite literally, your purpose for doing the work that you do. Know your why. Why do you do the work you do? The answer doesn’t have to be profound. Ideally, your answer is personal to you and offers positive motivation that can help you get through the more challenging times. Your purpose might be connected to your day to day activities, long-term career goals, or it might be to create a better life for your family or serve the community in some way.
According to a McKinsey Report the past few years have caused almost two-thirds of workers to reflect on their purpose in life. Our purpose is strongly linked to our work, and thus the report is aptly called “Help your employees find purpose – or watch them leave.” As with passion, employees who feel a sense of purpose at work – and additionally feel that their purpose is aligned with the company’s purpose – are ‘more productive, engaged, and more likely to stay at the company.’
Finding out what employees need in order to feel a greater sense of purpose at work can be as simple as: ask them. The McKinsey Report details the story of a US based insurance company who encouraged employees to share ideas, resulting in 10,000 ideas submitted over one year to improve customer experience. As humans we are innately driven to want to feel part of something bigger than ourselves, and to contribute to the good of the whole. Feeling involved in company policies and decisions by having their input requested and implemented made employees feel more valued, elevated their connection to their day to day customer service roles, heightened their sense of purpose and commitment to the company.
Keys to increasing a sense of purpose: Why do you do what you do? How does your role/work affect other people in a positive way? Ask your employees for their input to help them expand their sense of purpose
Why do you work for the company you work for? The role of Emotional Connection
If we want greater passion and purpose, Emotional Connection (EC) is the glue that holds it altogether. EC comes from feeling valued, heard, appreciated, accepted and supported. It helps us to feel connected to one another through shared interests, goals, values and a shared pursuit.
Employees who feel a sense of Emotional Connection to their role, team, colleagues and company will feel happier and more fulfilled, be more engaged and productive, and….you guessed it….feel greater meaning and purpose in what they do.
For employees to perform at their highest levels and be dedicated to the collective success of the organization, they need to love where they work. They need to feel an Emotional Connection (EC): a motivating sense of satisfaction and intellectual alignment that can only come from feeling appreciated and part of a shared and worthy purpose.- Ladders
Emotional Connection has a multitude of benefits including creating happier, healthier workplaces, higher rates of performance, lower rates of sick leave and stress leave, along with greater staff retention.
Keys to increasing Emotional Connection in the workplace: Take time to listen to others without distractions, communicate openly and honestly to build trust, ask questions to get to know people on a deeper level, show empathy and compassion, be inclusive
Finding a sense of meaning and purpose at work contributes to a happier, more fulfilling life, and a thriving, more successful workplace. Recognizing the power of passion, knowing our ‘why’, providing opportunities for others to connect with their ‘why’, and encouraging emotional connection are all effective purpose-enhancing strategies.
Holistic Services Group provide a wide selection of workshops on these topics, which can be tailored to suit the needs of your organisation. Please contact us for more information.
About the Author
Keynote Speaker, Holistic Wellbeing Coach
For more than 20 years, Dana has passionately run multiple businesses; all focused on helping people thrive physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. In 1998 she co-founded WAKIMBO, one of Australia’s first ‘journal’ brands promoting journaling as a tool for personal growth. With an extensive
product line, and an online portal featuring motivational tips and meditations, WAKIMBO was featured in multiple Australian newspapers and magazines including Good Medicine, Cosmo, The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Telegraph.
Dana went on to coach and mentor thousands of individuals all around the world, something she continues to do today. She is the creator of several online courses, with her course “Create a Life you Love” initially launching on Daily Om, a leading US-based provider of wellness courses. As a writer, her articles have been featured in Body + Soul, Woman’s Day, Lifestyle You, NineMSN, Empower Magazine, Insight, and Conscious Living. Dana is also the author of ‘A New Chapter’.
As a dynamic speaker, Dana has delivered motivational talks at conferences and events in Australia, the US and Europe. In 2005 she was the only Australian Speaker at the United Nations-affiliated World Peace Congress in Italy. Dana has produced and hosted two radio shows, interviewing inspirational thought leaders, spiritual teachers and entrepreneurs.
As a Holistic Services Group facilitator, Dana tailors her presentations to the needs of your team. Topics include Stress Management, Emotional Intelligence, Mindfulness, Work-Life Balance, Resilience, Coping with Uncertainty, Manage Your Energy not Your Time and Staying Engaged while Working Remotely
Dana holds a BA in Communications majoring in Social Inquiry with a Diploma of Journalism. She has certified qualifications in holistic counselling, a number of holistic modalities, business studies, media production and presenting. She has travelled extensively to over 35 countries. Dana is currently pursuing her MA in Women’s Spirituality and Social Justice. She juggles her work with family life and being a mum.