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The first and most important step to building a successful workforce

Jason Romanosky, Senior Director, Product Marketing - LumApps

Employee purpose, defined as a sense of intention and direction in a person’s job role, has always been a huge factor as to why employees either stay or leave a job. A study on purpose within the workplace by PwC revealed that 83% of workers rank purpose among their top three priorities when it comes to the importance of meaning in their day-to-day work. Yet, until recently, with a major push from the pandemic, employers have not always given employee purpose the attention it deserved. In fact, just 27% of business leaders have conversations with their teams about why their work matters.

However, the rise of hybrid working, notions of digital dexterity and digital friction, and of course, the great reflection, is putting ‘purpose at work’ under the magnifying glass. According to John Coleman, author of ‘HBR Guide to crafting your purpose’, people thrive on purpose because a sense of meaning is critical to happiness; when purpose is achieved it can boost engagement, productivity, and collaboration. Unfortunately, employers are not effectively communicating this to their employees and as a result, workers have already started to ‘check-out’ both mentally and physically; this is evident in current trends such as ‘quiet quitting’ and the ‘great resignation’. With businesses forced to take a deeper look at the sentiment of employees to retain existing talent, they have a huge opportunity to start building a successful workforce, one that is fulfilled in their jobs and not on the hunt for the next best thing.

Cultivating purpose
McKinsey claims employees that have a well-defined purpose at work feel appreciated and recognised for the hard work that they do; they are more empowered and will be more willing to go the extra mile, whether that’s to help onboard a co-worker or by contributing to initiatives such as diversity and inclusion programmes. Think about it like a marriage. You wouldn’t stay in a relationship where you aren’t appreciated, recognised, and rewarded for what you do and it’s evident that employees are not staying at companies where they aren’t finding a purpose. Yet, to effectively foster these relationships, especially in environments where the workplace is dispersed, technology-enabled platforms to connect, engage and inspire employees are a must.

Workers are increasingly expecting digital platforms to deliver the same types of experiences as consumer tools such as social networking sites and eCommerce solutions. While this is partly due to familiarity, the primary reason is that they offer a personalised and consistent experience – and workplace tools should be no different. Many businesses are investing in these types of solutions to improve digital employee experience, meaning that traditional intranets and corporate portals are having to pivot to encourage user adoption. Best-in-class platforms should be built to help employees connect both personally and professionally, through communities and employer-generated content. This means that employees will be more likely to use those tools, questions will be more quickly answered, knowledge will be more easily shared, and employees will have the chance to feel more engaged with their co-workers and empowered in their jobs.

There should also be functionality for HR to easily employ strategies to help cultivate purpose. HR functions (e.g. HR, Talent specialists/ DHR), for example, are frequently conversing around how to build company culture through purpose-driven initiatives such as team building, corporate social responsibility, celebrations, or just effective internal communication. Employee experience platforms should be complementary to these discussions and offer an open space where ideas can be shared and actioned to maintain and grow culture.

With many businesses in the middle of a talent crisis and HR professionals focusing their efforts on retention, it’s essential that strategies are put in place to empower and engage employees as well as to help avoid the feeling of disconnect with their fellow colleagues and the work they do. Adopting digital tools designed to personalise their experiences while improving internal communications will help encourage employee purpose while having a positive impact on overall workplace culture.

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