Purpose Is the Top Workplace Benefit

Emily Lombardo - Oct 10 2022
Published in: Global Workforce
| Updated Apr 27 2023
A benefits package that attracts and retains today’s talent.

The last two years have given people time to think, which often meant thinking about quitting their job. Nearly two-thirds of people surveyed by McKinsey said that COVID-19 caused them to reflect on their purpose in life, and almost half said they were reconsidering what kind of work they do. People want to feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves, and they are looking for that sense of purpose and connection at their workplace.

Having purpose goes beyond individual introspection. Research has found that employees who feel they have purposeful work are healthier, more productive, and more likely to stay at their current employer. The same report by McKinsey found that when an employee feels that their purpose aligns with their organization’s purpose, the benefits continue to increase. They feel more loyalty to their workplace, are more likely to recommend it to their peers, and have higher rates of engagement.

Currently only 30% of Americans say that they are enthusiastic, actively involved, or engaged with their work. However, when people are engaged, the results speak for themselves. Seventy-three percent of the workers surveyed in LinkedIn’s Purpose at Work Global Report who identify as “purpose-driven” say that they are satisfied with their jobs.

Research also shows that a purpose-driven organization is also the key to attracting, engaging, and retaining new talent. Ways to bring purpose-driven initiatives into the workplace can include employee benefits that go beyond the typical compensation packages. In WorldWide ERC’s latest Evolution of Remote Work report, the majority of senior HR and corporate mobility leaders are making changes to employee benefits mostly in the sectors of wellness, home office setup/equipment, and professional development.

Using these measures, here are three ways to help employees find purpose at work and transform company culture authentically.

Support Employee Well-Being

Building an inclusive workplace from diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to offering lifestyle benefits is paramount to a purpose-driven workplace. A Tallo poll found that a staggering 99% of Generation Z respondents said that workplace DEI initiatives were “important,” and 87% said that they were “very important.” These also reflect on a healthy work culture and a healthy workforce. A 2014 study has correlated people with a sense of purpose to an increased use of preventative health services.

Businesses that support their employees coming to work as their full and authentic selves also reap the benefits. The Center for Talent Innovation reports that organizations with high ratings for inclusion and diversity are 70% more likely to have success in new markets and 45% more likely to improve their market share.

Create a Work Culture that Is Transparent and Accountable

Work is where most people spend their waking hours, and so a workplace that takes initiative to create formal processes for accountability and intrawork communication will see the most benefits. It may not sound particularly glamorous, but providing open communication channels with their employees such as town halls, small group sessions, and other forums for sharing ideas and opinions help employees find meaning in the day-to-day routine. On top of that, regular and well-defined conversations with their higher ups around their role and responsibilities can help set goals, reward efforts, and create a sense of purpose in the work that they already do.

Prioritizing employee purpose has incentives beyond retaintment; it fosters innovation. The insurance company USAA required a four-day orientation for every new employee. After onboarding, employees regularly attend town halls, challenges, and competitions as part of the “Always On Ideas Platform” so that they could find more purpose at work, exchange ideas, and ask questions. Every year, USAA employees submit over 10,000 ideas each year, and 897 of these ideas have received U.S. patents. 

Flexibility and Work-Life Balance

A company that helps its employees find purpose on and off the job can be a major draw. After almost two and a half years of remote work in some capacity, workers have made their preference to continue their work from home known. Flexibility is a top three motivator of employees who are looking to change jobs, according to McKinsey’s latest American Opportunity Report.

A company that can offer flexibility such as giving an employee more control over their work schedule or opportunities to work remotely for a period of time is more likely to attract talent and retain its current employees.