Purpose isn't enough


We all know the importance of purpose when it comes to employee engagement. When people believe in the mission and goals of the organization and understand where they contribute, then they will be motivated to help achieve them.

And this is true. A strong purpose that people internalize drives them to do, and give, more to organizations.

However, purpose alone won’t keep people engaged.

Engagement is like baking a cake. Your purpose is your baking powder, it’s what makes the cake rise. People will rise to the challenge when they have purpose.

However, you need two other essential ingredients.

First, you need flour. Flour is your base – without it, there’s no cake to rise at all. Flour is what enables engagement to happen. This is ensuring people’s skills are matched to their tasks and they have access to the resources they need, such as information, technology, tools and equipment, training, and financial support. Without these, even if employees believe deeply in your purpose, they will become frustrated and be at risk of becoming disengaged, burnt out, or they may simply give up and leave.

Second, you need sugar for your cake. This is an energizing environment for engagement to happen in, one that focuses on the physical, emotional and social well-being of employees. Without sugar, no one wants to eat the cake. Without a culture where people feel cared for, and excited to be part of, people will quickly become disengaged from the purpose.

Make sure that when you are baking up the right culture for your team and organization that you have all the necessary ingredients to let them have their cake and eat it too.

A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. Have you ever worked somewhere where you believed in the purpose but didn’t feel enabled with the right skills, resources and tools? How did it impact your work?

  2. Have you ever worked somewhere where you believed in the purpose but didn’t feel energized by the environment because of negativity? How did it impact your work?

  3. What can you do more of as a team/organization to make sure people are engaged, enabled and energized?