The Importance of Purpose

“Profits are in no way inconsistent with purpose — in fact profits and purpose are inextricably linked.” — Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock

We sometimes think of purpose as something that is intangible, abstract or even “fluffy” in the business world.  However, belief in the importance of one’s work often catalyzes a domino effect whereby an increase in motivation translates to higher quality of production and consequently greater profits. Gallup goes as far as to say successful leadership is defined by “advocating for purpose to be an integral part of an organization’s culture.”

This stance is no doubt informed by their findings on the matter:

Gallup conducted research for multiple years, concluding there are 12 factors that are most tightly correlated with workplace health (identified by employee retention, customer metrics, productivity, and profitability). The eighth of these dimensions is an employee’s belief that their job is important due to the mission or purpose of their organization. Indeed, doubling the percent of employees who believe this led to several improvements:

  • 34% decrease in absenteeism
  • 19% increase in quality
  • 42% decrease in safety incidents

Why is this belief important to so many aspects of job performance? 

Jaclynn Robinson, Learning and Development Consultant at Gallup spoke to this during a recent episode of the podcast, “Called to Coach.” She asserts that a strong belief in the purpose and importance of one’s work creates hope, one of the “4 Needs of Followers.” When an employee believes in the purpose of their work, they have hope for a better tomorrow as a direct result of their work. This in turn makes them want to continue to exceed in their work and support their employer.

Not only does this sense of purpose have a widespread positive impact on job performance, it also encourages consistency by providing an overarching reason that informs all strategic changes as a company strives for its mission. This points to another of the “4 Needs of Followers”: stability. Increased consistency reinforces the validity of their purpose, and it becomes a positive feedback loop of employee commitment. Considering that a mere 27% of employees “strongly believe in their company’s values,” there is much work to be done by organization leaders to augment their employees’ sense of purpose.

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