Today's Workforce is Built on Purpose

By Vickey Li | October 04, 2022

Today's Workforce is Built on Purpose

What drives today’s workforce? Here at Veery, we’ve talked a lot about flexibility and community. But there’s something deeper that underscores every employee’s experience — and the reasons they stay with companies in the long term — a sense of purpose. 85% of people feel that they have a purpose but only a fraction of those people truly feel that they’re able to fulfill that purpose through work. 

Naina Dhingra of McKinsey found that, “...70% of people say they define their purpose through work. And actually, millennials, even more so, are likely to see their work as their life calling.” 

What this tells us is that today’s workforce is built on the idea that work = purpose. More and more people expect that their jobs will give them a sense of purpose — and employers need to be prepared to meet this need to stay competitive on the job market. So, how do companies keep up? 

  1. Articulate your mission clearly. To cater to purpose driven individuals, first you need to articulate your company’s purpose and mission clearly. When this is done well, people who align with your mission will naturally gravitate to your company and feel fulfilled by being able to contribute to that mission.

    A great example of this is Patagonia, a company that has clearly articulated and shown a visible commitment to the environment. As they so clearly state, they use business to protect nature and this is what drives their workforce. You’ll find that environmentalists, climate activists, and sustainability enthusiasts make up a majority of Patagonia’s workforce and they continue to attract exactly what they put out into the world.

  2. Be clear about your values. Beyond your mission as a business, you need to have core values. These are not just words you put on a wall or a website — but the way you operate on a day-to-day. Purpose driven individuals are also people who have a strong commitment to their values. Companies like Lyft make their values front and center from the moment you start looking for a job on their website. Everything from “Wowing customers,” to “Taking care of each other” make up the company’s ethos — and tell you not just what they want to accomplish, but who they are on the inside. As cliché as it sounds, what’s on the inside really does matter.

  3. Foster a sense of personal accountability. A sense of purpose is a two-way street. Employers have to want to create a purposeful environment, but employees must also be accountable for their own experience and actions. By fostering a culture of ownership and accountability, you give employees the ability to work for themselves and become agents of change. Be sure to clearly define what success looks like to your employees, then let them spread their wings!

  4. Create meaningful interactions at work. Living and working with purpose every day is not an easy task. It requires every single person at a company to be invested in something greater than themselves, it requires visible commitment and it requires meaningful interactions among people. When we connect with people, we are able to connect to what matters within us — our creativity, resilience, humor, innovativeness, collaboration. These interactions bring to life the mission, values and culture of a company in a tangible way.

    Give employees opportunities to come together and have meaningful conversations, engage in self-reflection and consider how they actively work with purpose every day. 

While most employees today do believe that they can make a difference and find purpose in their job, only 16% of those employees tell us that they feel completely fulfilled at work. Workplace expectations are evolving — and today’s workforce is on the hunt for purpose. They want to share in your enthusiasm for changing the world — however you’re doing that. So instead of trying to match benefits packages, think about how your building a purposeful environment and culture for your employees. 

For more content about the future of work, check out some of our other articles on or follow us on social media @veeryoffices. 

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