About 57% of workers and would-be workers say that finding meaning in their work is very important when they compare possible opportunities to earn money. Focus group discussions echoed these sentiments. One participant who lost her husband to COVID said, “I now understand that life is fleeting, and you must make the best of the time you have. That includes making wise choices about how you spend your time.”
While “meaningful” can be defined differently depending on the person, it’s clear today’s workers want clarity on their purpose—the purpose of the work itself and their role in it. Certainly, not all jobs have a humanitarian focus. But having a visible and frequently communicated mission statement, company goals, and individual employee goals and targets can help reinforce meaning and help employees feel engaged in their work, whatever that work may be. Taking measures to become a more environmentally responsible and sustainably-focused organization, and frequently sharing successes in this realm, is another way to add value and meaning to the work. And think about what you can do beyond the confines of the workplace. Show employees that you care and are supportive of their desires to be thoughtful and engaged citizens. Incorporate more employee volunteer opportunities, support employees who want to be more active in the community, and enable employees to donate or contribute to causes they care about.
For more on the business case for equity, sustainability and governance (ESG), read “Where Matters,” a 2021 analysis published by the Fund for Our Economic Future and Team NEO on the ESG implications for business location decisions. The analysis, linked here, references several sources linking ESG goals to business success.