Employee drivers – Purpose


Why purpose is a key driver for employee engagement

Employee engagement impacts almost every aspect of your organisation’s success – from retention and absenteeism, to productivity, revenue growth, and even customer satisfaction. But how do you measure it effectively? Our research has highlighted 10 engagement drivers that you should measure.

Here, we’re going to focus on one of these key drivers: purpose.

What does ‘purpose’ mean in terms of employee engagement?

When we talk about purpose, we’re referring to your employees’ ability to align with what your company does and why it’s doing it. It’s the meaning and direction for your employees, so they can understand how their work impacts to the larger goals and missions of your organisation. It’s making sure their contribution matters.

Why is purpose a key driver for employee engagement?

Each individual employee has their own idea of purpose, but one thing is common – employees need a clear organisational ‘North Star’ to aim towards, to give them a sense of achievement. Purposeful employees perform better, are more likely to stay loyal to a company, and have stronger relationships with their colleagues.

Employees who have a clear understanding of the purpose of their work are more likely to be motivated to go above and beyond what is expected of them. They’re more likely to take ownership of their work and be proactive in finding ways to improve their performance.

It’s also worth noting that, while most people have a sense of purpose that drives what they do, so-called ‘Gen Z’ employees are even more driven by purpose. A recent study calls them “the first generation to prioritise purpose over salary, leaving companies that they believe are ignoring their negative environments or social impacts, or have toxic working cultures”. If you have a high volume of employees born in the mid-1990s to 2013, this is a statement that’s hard to ignore.

Providing an inspiring vision and purpose to the employees you already have – and to candidates you want to hire – should be high on your agenda. More than ever, people want to work for companies that clearly articulate their reason for being. Doing this well is how you stand out in a competitive market place.

What happens to engagement when employees have no purpose?

When purpose is overlooked, employee engagement can suffer in several ways.

Without a clear sense of purpose, employees may feel their work lacks meaning and significance, which can lead to feelings of apathy, disengagement, and demotivation. They’re also less likely to take ownership of their work, leading to lower productivity and quality in individuals, and higher stress and demands on other members of the team.

A lack of purpose also has an impact on employee retention and recruitment, as employees seek meaning elsewhere. This can reduce engagement and motivation in the employees ‘left behind’, increase recruitment costs for the organisation, and lead to a negative employer brand perception due to high turnover.

How can you track if your employees feel they have purpose and boost employee engagement?

 Do your employees understand what your organisation is trying to achieve and how they play a part as individuals or teams? By implementing regular employee listening surveys you can track whether your employees feel purposeful, and whether the overarching organisational mission is resonating.


The WorkBuzz platform offers simple, flexible, customisable surveys that allow your organisation to gain confidential insights from your employees about their connection to your organisation’s purpose.

We have a whole bank of questions tailored to purpose, as well as many other key drivers of employee engagement.

If you’re looking to start implementing employee engagement surveys, or are reviewing your existing survey solution, get in touch and see how the WorkBuzz platform can help. Book a demo today or drop us a message: hello@workbuzz.com.

Related content:

[eBook] Steering your leadership teams: A how to guide for HR

[ARTICLE] Employee engagement drivers that you should prioritise

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