Ignite your employees’ personal drive by connecting purpose to their work

Living with purpose not only ignites an internal drive and creates energy and joy, it also increases our engagement at work, our commitment to our organization and our satisfaction with life overall. In previous columns, I showed — perhaps counterintuitively — that you can increase employee engagement by helping employees identify and live their personal purpose.

I also discussed how to hire purpose-driven people, identify your own purpose and help others do the same.

This last installment explores ways to achieve an even greater impact on employee engagement by connecting purpose-driven individuals with your company’s higher purpose.

Purpose is the deliberate choice to pursue something meaningful. Companies, as well as the people within them, can be driven by purpose.

A company with a higher purpose has publically committed to positively impacting society, while a person with a higher purpose uses that purpose as a compass to make choices. A study of successful leaders in purpose-driven organizations showed that those who have identified their personal purpose — and therefore are already highly engaged — are notably more engaged when they feel their company’s purpose benefits the greater good.

They are willing to work harder and adjust as needed to help deliver on this objective. There are plenty of resources available to help create a higher purpose for your organization.

Once you have articulated this higher purpose, helping your employees connect to it unleashes a powerful level of intrinsic motivation, as illustrated through these quotes from the study:
  “What gets me out of bed in the morning as far as employment goes is really understanding the (company’s) long-term vision, believing in it and having a passion for it.”
  “This, to me, was like a self-fulfillment thing. I can go to work and do what I do every day and make my income this way.”
  “I felt like I was able to connect and preserve the best of the world, and do it for a living. It just felt like such a natural connection.”

As leaders, this is exactly the nirvana of engagement we are looking for. The power of purpose can be fully harnessed in four steps:
  Create an altruistic company purpose.
  Identify your personal purpose — your internal compass.
  Hire purpose-driven employees and/or help current employees articulate their purpose.
  Make a connection between an employee’s purpose and the company purpose.

Our purpose at Vitamix is to “liberate and nourish the zest for life.” We help employees at all levels make the connection between their role and our company purpose.

I can speak to this personally because I get to live my personal purpose of helping people find their wings and fly every time I liberate and nourish the zest for life in my employees, our customers and our community. I am highly engaged, energized and fulfilled — knowing that I have lived yet one more day with purpose.

Jodi Berg, Ph.D, is president and CEO at Vitamix Corp.