The Power of Purpose at Work

Purpose is your reason for existing. While purpose in life is essential for our well-being we also need to have purpose in the world of work. We spend up to 50% of our waking hours at work,  so work purpose is as important and as relevant as a life purpose. When purpose is acted upon, it can transform lives and organisations, giving something to live and work for.

Every organisation will have a strategic purpose, which is its reason for existing and which gives meaning to working for the organisation. . An organisation’s purpose will be guided by its values and it must be meaningful to stakeholders, employees, and customers. It should motivate and drive expectations, and should therefore be widely and constantly communicated and understood across the organisation. Most organisations will have a purpose other than the maximisation of profit. Clarity of purpose, if understood by all, can bring unity of effort and drive motivation in management, teams, and employees. A common commitment around a common purpose will maximise employees’ potential and work outputs.

Many organisations like to have a socially responsible mission and will want to contribute to society by adding value and enhancing community welfare. Such initiatives give soul to the organisation, while adding value and promoting image and branding. An organisation’s purpose will support the mission of the organisation.

People want meaning from their work so the workplace is important. Employees will want their sense of personal purpose to be aligned with that of their organisation and such alignment will enhance career potential. Meaningful purpose statements will guide behaviour and actions and can enhance the culture of the organisation, much to the benefit of employee well-being.

Purpose-driven organisations, with well-communicated purpose statements, are more likely to have enhanced employee performance because of a more coherent sense of purpose, which promotes better collaboration and decision making. A key driver of success will be a clear and definite purpose that aligns with employee expectations. The right attitude fuels purpose and powers success.  Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction – John F. Kennedy, US president.

Organisations need to work with all employees to develop an internal, purposeful mindset. Purpose statements are meaningless unless employees at an individual level, are guided to connect with the organisation’s purpose. Shifting beliefs and promoting greater understanding amongst employees should be priorities for organisations that seek to maximise successful outcomes. Purpose statements, which are meaningful for employees, are most likely to motivate employees to act in alignment with the organisation’s purpose. In this way, the idea of purpose is supported by the practice of purposefulness.

When employees are shown how their work contributes to the organisation’s goals and performance and they know that their work has an impact,  the result will be enhanced fulfillment and outputs. Purpose must be authentic; it must be felt if it is to be practised. When internalised, purpose can be a powerful tool for self-motivation and for the motivation of others. It can inspire people to bring their best selves to work.

(Check out my book: How to Bring Your Best Self to Work; Strategies for Career Success on

Feature photo by Krakenimages on Unsplash



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