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August 2, 2021

Helping Mature Employees to Find Purpose in Their Work

It’s no secret that people are thinking about work differently in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As their jobs and personal lives became perhaps more intertwined than ever, people are placing more and more emphasis on work that matters to them. While people of all ages want some level of purpose from their jobs, mature employees require some special attention. Often, 50-plus employees don’t get the support they need from their employers even though what they want isn’t vastly different. Like their younger colleagues, they want to know that they’re doing work that’s personally meaningful.

As a manager or business owner, you need to help your employees achieve a sense of purpose from their jobs, regardless of their age. While everything, or even most things, won’t be within your control, there is a lot that you can do. Otherwise, valuable employees could leave your company in search of another one that’s more aligned with their purpose.

Why Purpose is So Important

A survey conducted by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company found that because of the pandemic, almost two-thirds of the employees surveyed were having second thoughts about the type of work they do.

According to an article penned by Naina Dhingra, Andrew Samo, Bill Schaninger, and Matt Schrimper, when people live their purpose at work, they’re not only more productive but healthier, more resilient, and more likely to stay with the company. What’s more, employees whose purpose aligns with that of the organization are more engaged, more loyal, and more willing to be ambassadors for the company.

The research also showed that 70% of employees felt their purpose was “defined by their work.” However, while  85% of executives and upper-level managers felt they were living their purpose on the job, only 15% of frontline employees and managers felt the same way.

How You Can Help Your Employees Fulfil Their Purpose

If you weren’t previously, you should now be concerned with whether your workers are finding their work meaningful. However, you may not be sure about what you can do. Believe it or not, you have to start by looking at your organization’s purpose. As the McKinsey article notes, this is the only part over which you have full control.

Take a Look in the Mirror

Start by considering the impact the company has on the society in which it exists and whether this impact is what was intended. Assess whether senior leaders demonstrate a commitment to the organization’s purpose. If you determine that you need to make some changes, make sure they are authentic. Employees will be able to tell if you’re just mounting a public relations stunt. Keep in mind that analyzing the impact your organization has on the world is an ongoing process.

Encourage Employees to Reflect

To ensure that an employee’s purpose aligns with your organization’s purpose, you need to get to know them. How much do you know about what drives each member of your team? When workers have a chance to reflect on their purpose and how it is connected with the company’s purpose, they’re more likely to feel fulfilled.

How do you go about making this happen? Start with your leadership team and their leadership style. Employees should feel comfortable talking to their seniors about what they want to achieve with their work and in their personal lives. If managers openly talk about their purpose, other employees will be more likely to do so.

If you’re worried that some workers may realize your organization isn’t a good fit for them, don’t be! You want workers whose purpose is aligned with the company’s since they’re likely to be happier and more productive.

Provide Opportunities for Workers to Live Their Purpose on the Job

More than 60% of the people surveyed by McKinsey said they wanted their employers’ help in living their purpose. This doesn’t mean you need to launch a large corporate social responsibility project or give workers time off to volunteer with their charity of choice. While these are laudable, you may be better off starting by simply helping employees to find meaning in the things they do every day. Find out what they’re good at, what they enjoy, and what makes them feel like they’re making a difference. Cultivating their sense of inner purpose will increase engagement.

Get Support from WiseForce Advisors!

If you want to continue to benefit from the wisdom and skills of 50-plus employees, you need to help them live their purpose at work. If you need help in doing so, the team at WiseForce Advisors is here to help. Contact us at info@wiseforceadvisors.com to learn the tools and techniques you can use to keep your mature workers happy and productive.

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