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Why Purpose Matters in The Workplace

18 January 2023

When you pull back the curtain on great workplaces — where leaders have built trust with employees and workers give extra to help the organisation innovate and grow — the key ingredient is purpose.

Employees have re-evaluated their lives in recent years, quitting to find more rewarding jobs, start their own businesses, or take a break altogether. For great workplaces, the way to inspire, engage, and retain their people lies in purpose: providing employees with work that is more than “just a job.”

And yet, few business leaders are treating organisational purpose as a top priority for their organisation.

So, how do you create a sense of purpose for employees and what does it look like when employees are truly connected to meaningful work?


Why does purpose matter?

Research by the University of Sussex found that when leaders demonstrated clear purpose—vision, commitment to stakeholders and strong morals—their people were happier and more productive.

There's a business case for a purpose-driven culture too - a study by the Harvard Business School, using Great Place To Work® data, found that companies where employees experienced a sense of purpose (and leaders set a clear direction and expectations) outperformed the stock market by 6.9%.


Putting Purpose First

Leaders at great workplaces understand that purpose is not found in a mission statement buried in an employee handbook. Rather, they actively help employees connect what they do with the company’s purpose.

And when purpose at work also aligns with an employee’s personal purpose — which is to do much more than just work, but grow, learn, take care of their family and community — they will be more engaged and motivated. That’s the sweet spot you want all employees to achieve


How Best Workplaces™️ do it

82% of employees at Best Workplaces feel good about the ways their organisation contributes to the community, and 79% say that their work has special meaning, and is not "just a job." How do Best Workplaces achieve these stats? Here are some of the ways they put purpose first...


Software company Salesforce believes that business is the greatest platform for change. It has applied a 1-1-1 model of integrated philanthropy globally, committing 1% of its equity, technology and time to improving education, equality and the environment for everyone. Square Visuals (24)
Square Visuals (27)

“Accenture’s core values are admirable – that is the principal reason I decided to join, followed by its global approach and inclusion, not forgetting the sustainability targets and goals. It makes me feel I am in the right place and doing the right thing.”

-Accenture employee

"A value such as ‘doing the right thing’ means much more than how we
work with each other. It permeates through the technology we deliver and how we support customers... our values help ensure that employees feel safe, supported, respected and, ultimately, inspired by what they are
doing at work”

- Steve Murphy, Senior Vice-President, EMEA at Tanium

Square Visuals (28)


Discover what your employees really think about your organisation's values and purpose with our Trust Index Survey.

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This feature has been adapted from How Purpose in the Workplace Offers North Star for HR Leaders by Ted Kitterman, a content manager at Great Place To Work®.




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