Do you ever wonder what motivates people? American psychologist Abraham Maslow sought to answer this very question throughout his life’s work. Though he greatly contributed to the study of psychology, he was best known for his hierarchy of needs, which is represented in a five stage pyramid divided into basic, psychological and growth needs.
The top tier of Maslow’s hierarchy is self-actualization, which is the need to achieve one’s fullest potential and feel like you are making a difference. In essence, those who are enlightened can then help others down the hierarchy to achieve their fullest potential — like by doing more charitable work.
And emotional intelligence is not the same as enlightenment, although one could argue enlightened people are emotionally intelligent. People who’ve found purpose flourish — thrive in ways they can help others.
But this sense of purpose is not only essential in daily life, but is a critical component to creating a meaningful, happy workplace.
Why is having a purpose at work important?
Maybe in the early 1900s it was okay to drudge to work to collect a pay check. But that’s not what most workers want. They want to feel happy. They want to do work they find meaningful. And they want to do work they really love doing.
After all, when you’re doing work you love doing, it’s no longer — really — work.
What does this mean for companies – it improves business
Happiness = engagement
A recent Deloitte survey found that 73% of employees who identify as working for a purpose-driven organization report that they are engaged in the office. This number starkly contrasts the 23 percent of engaged employees who say that they do not work for a purpose-driven company.
Happier employees are 12% more productive. And if employees are doing purposeful work and work they love doing, the quality will be better and there’ll be fewer accidents, too. They’re even more likely to mentor other employees, helping leadership in your organization.
Also it helps employee retention. Employees who are challenged and engaged are less likely to leave. That decreases turnover costs, which run — according to SHRM — about half of an employees’ salary just in finding a replacement. That’s added on to the cost of actually getting the new employee — paying him.
Better customer service
Best of all, happy employees make for happy customers. If employees are achieving more and doing their best work, customers will notice.
As mentioned above, if employees are enlightened, they’ll be more willing to help customers (and other employees) to be enlightened as well.
How can you foster this need?
Integrating purpose at your business must begin at the ground up. Re-evaluate your mission statement, determining whether or not your company’s goals truly match up with its organizational structure, rewards system, market approach and more. If not or if you believe your mission is lacking, you may need to completely pivot and change directions.
Once you finalize your new mission statement, make sure that your employees’ personal goals are in sync with your organization’s. Understand what really drives them and why they chose to work at your particular company. Then, channel this energy into how your organization operates and rewards its high-performing staff. Meanwhile, create a positive atmosphere, where managers provide meaningful feedback and one-on-one sessions to keep everyone on the same page and motivated to do their work well.