“Does My Work Matter?” Why Purpose is Trending at Work
People want to spend their time doing meaningful work that they know has an impact. But there’s a disconnect between workers and decision-makers: in a survey by PwC, 83% of employees said finding meaning in their day-to-day work is a top priority, while just half of business leaders (52%) indicated the same.
Recent headlines show companies are moving toward action, something they’ll need to do in order to attract and retain talent. Here are three perspectives on the issue.
Millennials are on a quest to find meaningful work — and they’re willing to take less pay to get it | CBC
This survey out of Canada isn’t the first reveal how significant purpose-driven work is to millennials, but it does put a price on it: the average amount survey respondents said they’d give up was more than $7,000 ($9,639 CAD).
Krystyn Harrison, CEO of digital coaching service Prosper, said that with the pace of change and uncertainty in the labor market, finding work that reflects their values has become the norm for millennials.
“[Values] are important to all generations,” she said. “But the millennial generation has really brought that to the forefront and demanded more from work than a pay cheque.”
Why we like it: A key theme of this year’s Work Without Limits™ Executive Summit was the importance of meaningful work and the implications that has for recruitment and retention: Every generation wants to do meaningful work, but younger workers are more likely to leave if they don’t get it.
Business Roundtable, an organization of nearly 200 leading U.S.-based corporations, released a Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation. It begins: “Americans deserve an economy that allows each person to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity.”
Reflecting on this move, Alan Murray, president and CEO of Fortune, explained that young workers, in particular, expect more. “[While] fewer than half of Americans overall (46%) say that CEOs should take a stance on public issues, support for such action is overwhelming among those ages 25 to 44,” he said.
“Millennials, in particular, may be driving the change more than anyone—and, more important, they’re choosing to work at companies that are driving change too,” he said. “Among those ages 25 to 34 in the Fortune/NP Strategy poll, 80% say they want to work for ‘engaged companies.’”
Why we like it: Employees aren’t the only ones driven by purpose—according to last year’s Freelancing in America survey, 75% of respondents said choosing their own projects is one of the main reasons why they freelance.
How can companies translate the intent to do better into meaningful action? Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends suggested that they rethink the relationships they have with people across the organization: “Research shows that the most important factor of all is the work itself: making work meaningful and giving people a sense of belonging, trust, and relationship.”
This takes a focus on what Deloitte called the human experience, a framework that “extends beyond work processes to focus on the meaning of the work itself, thereby targeting the most personal question that can exist in the workplace: Am I making a difference?”
Why we like it: Top talent has the flexibility to choose who they work with and the projects they commit to. As companies rethink how they connect with employees and partners across the organization, they’ll be better positioned to find and engage the independent professionals they’re looking for.
As the managing editor of the Upwork blog, Amy Sept works with regular and guest writers to share information that helps freelancers and businesses navigate the future of work.View Amy Sept’s other articles