As little as five years ago, the search for purpose at work was dismissed as the distracted chatter of millennials. But like digitisation, this was a fundamental shift that was building momentum and the pandemic has been its rocket fuel.

More people are asking questions about their own core values and whether their work aligns with them. For many, it does not line up. 

When McKinsey asked executives and frontline employees if they felt they were living their purpose through day-to-day work, there was a significant disparity. 85% of executives felt they did, and 85% of employees felt unsure, or disagreed entirely. That disconnect is not just an interesting number – it’s leading to lower morale and talent walking out the door.

What can we do about it?

This isn’t about corporate initiatives to put lipstick on a pig. It’s about speaking with your team to discover how you can help them determine their purpose and fulfil it. We do not have this licked ourselves but we can already see that for some this is about helping them bring their creative talent to life, for others it is about impact beyond cash and for many it is having precious time and space to spend on hobbies, family, education and sport.

“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail.”  Thomas Merton.

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