A common purpose is one of the key drivers of high engagement so if you’re going to focus on improving engagement this is one area where it’s going to really pay you back.

Work engagement is:

  • the willingness to devote energy to work,
  • feeling a sense of significance through work, and
  • an ability to be absorbed by the experience of working.

All of these can be, and are being, disrupted by change.

The more organisations change, the greater the potential to create discrepancies between people’s worldviews and their work experience. How people make sense of the changes and continue to find meaning in ambiguous and stressful environments depends on how leaders help them make sense of the change, and to see themselves in the new.

Organisations are increasingly broadening their sense of purpose to consider not just stakeholders who are directly affected but also the impact on society and the planet.

BP’s purpose of ‘reimagining energy for people and our planet’ is underpinned by an industry-leading ambition – for BP to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world get to net zero.

Patagonia, always a purpose-driven organisation, changed theirs a couple of years ago to ‘We’re in business to save our home planet’.

Whether or not the articulated purpose fosters the intended psychological processes at the individual level depends on how people perceive their fit with it. It’s when individuals see that the organisation’s purpose fits their own values, interests and needs that they will be motivated to act in line with goals and to perform well.

People want to feel that sense of fit and alignment, as much as it benefits organisations when they do.

To get a common sense of purpose you need to help people feel congruent, that there is a strong perception of person-organisation fit. The better the sense of person-organisation fit, the more that basic psychological needs for meaning and connection are met.

Allowing people to be authentic in their self-expression delivers better organisational outcomes than traditional practices that have people fitting into organisational norms and identities.

Work shouldn’t just allow, it NEEDS the expression of individual’s purposes and purposefulness to thrive. When that is in alignment, there’s no (or less) need to shuffle off to another organisation.


Book a call with me to find out more about how my FlexAbility Coaching can help you renew your purpose, pursue a clearer aspiration and get the right tools to help you reset your work and your resilience

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