The pandemic has made us more keenly aware of our need for flexibility and wellbeing, and firms, managers, and teams are supporting professionals as they work towards this. But what about our need to give? To bring meaning to our lives?
One of IBM Institute for Business Value‘s recent surveysindicated that the desire to find more purposeful and meaningful work was a key motivation for those who quit their jobs last year, second only to locational flexibility. Since the pandemic began, organizations are investing more in flexibility and wellbeing, but few have focused on helping employees self-actualize or give back to society. So how do managers and teams that want to focus on this get started?
Listen and align
Over 70% of the workforce expects that their employer will build products and services that create a positive impact for the community, says Shulagna Dasgupta, Accenture. Yet there is often misalignment between this expectation and reality. According to Mckinsey research, ensuring that company goals and employee goals are aligned and that employees feel fulfilled at work is vital. Managers must ensure regular one-on-one sessions with team members to understand what gives them a personal sense of purpose and help them see how their job roles can be redesigned with that in mind. Consider the example of Nancy, who yearned to help young girls in her community and was given the opportunity by her line manager to share her advice about landing a STEM role at career fairs once a month.
Leverage the network
As managers and top executives, many of us possess a wealth of contacts built from years of networking and building relationships. Many of these connections might not be so relevant to us, but might be significant to the self-actualization goals of a colleague without the appropriate connections. For instance, a new teammate who has just made the move to your city might appreciate an introduction to your friend who runs an academy to coach kids from vulnerable backgrounds. A young colleague might be banking on your references as she applies to volunteer at the local animal shelter or offer free piano lessons at the community center.
Support – time and money and mentoring
Google’s 20% rule is well known across industries for the wealth of innovation it has brought to the company, from Gmail to Google maps to Adsense. The premise is simple — one day of the 5-day week is set aside for side projects of your choicethat can positively impact the firm. Translate the same idea to your employee’s impact goals. How much time off can you give them to pursue a project that benefits the community and the organization? Is it possible to sponsor them as they run, sing, or write for a cause? Can an employee who wants to supportabused women get a mentor in the form of the company’s in-house therapist?
Most managers genuinely want to help their team members contribute to the community but are concerned that it may negatively impact their bottom line. For them, this research from McKinsey will seal the deal — purposefulness of employees, whether it has to do with self-impact or enabling others, is positively corelated to their company’s EBITDA margins. So, help your employees push the boundaries of individual purpose, even when it reaches a whole new horizon.