MEANING AND PURPOSE AT WORK

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For many, the experience of meaningful work is deeply personal: More hours are spent at work each week than on anything else, and the bare returns of a monthly paycheck and benefits are meager compensation for the sheer magnitude of time, and effort, and life, invested. Meaningful work, on the other hand, can enrich a person’s life, rather than simply absorb it, and American workers today are waking up to this bright possibility Increasingly, employees are choosing companies that offer meaningful work, values alignment, and supportive, healthy workplace cultures. When these elements are missing, employees leave—despite the appeal of a company’s prestige, growth potential, or market dominance.

That means employers are faced with a choice: Rise to meet the terms of this new labor contract—by organizing company policy, strategy, and cultural initiatives to amplify the experience of meaningful work for employees—or fall behind, and risk lost talent and decreased productivity as a result. 

That means employers are faced with a choice: Rise to meet the terms of this new labor contract—by organizing company policy, strategy, and cultural initiatives to amplify the experience of meaningful work for employees—or fall behind, and risk lost talent and decreased productivity as a result.  

WHAT DID WE LEARN ?

On average, employees say their work is about half as meaningful as it could be - This absence of meaning hurts organizations—and it’s up to a company’s leadership team to fix it.

Employees who place a higher value on meaningful work occupy more senior, skilled positions, and stay longer - In addition to providing meaningful work, companies can focus on hiring employees who strongly believe in the idea that work should be meaningful.

Employees whose work feels meaningful work longer weeks and are absent less - Highly meaningful work motivates employees to work an extra hour per week, and to take two fewer days paid leave per year.

Meaning and workplace social support are closely related - Employees who experience strong workplace social support score higher on a workplace meaning scale than do employees who work in unsupportive environments.

Workers are willing to trade money for meaning - More than 9 out of 10 employees are willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning at work. Across across age groups, workers want meaningful work badly enough that they’re willing to pay for it. 

Employees are more satisfied at work when their jobs feel meaningful - The resulting gains in worker productivity add up to over $9,000 per worker, per year.

Raises and promotions are more common for employees who have meaningful work - Employees who find their jobs highly meaningful are more likely to have received a raise in the past year, and are also more likely to have received a promotion in the past six months. 

Values alignment with company leadership is essential - Employees who feel strong values alignment with company leadership report higher job satisfaction than employees who feel misaligned.

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