The Relationship Between Employees and the Purpose of the Organization

April 08 2024
By: Shawn M. Galloway

How driven are your employees to the purpose of the organization they work for? What about remote workers? Since 2020, many organizations have pushed employees to work remotely; some have returned to work, some companies maintain a hybrid approach, and some individuals will only work remotely as long as employment opportunities allow.

As remote work is part of work life, their level of engagement will be a new area to monitor. Gallup, a group that monitors this, has reported a new concerning trend. "The most worrying finding in the latest survey -- especially in a workplace that is increasingly hybrid and remote -- is that employees who can do their work remotely have an eroding connection to the mission or purpose of the organization. The drop is more pronounced recently for exclusively remote employees -- 28% strongly agree they feel connected to their organization’s mission and purpose, tying the record low for this group from 2011."1

Connecting remote or in-person employees to the purpose of the organization is crucial for these reasons:

  1. Motivation and Engagement: Understanding and aligning with the organization's purpose gives employees a sense of meaning and direction. This connection serves as a powerful motivator, leading to increased engagement and commitment to their work.
  2. Sense of Fulfillment: When employees see how their contributions contribute to the overall purpose and goals of the organization, it provides a sense of fulfillment. Knowing that their work has a broader impact fosters job satisfaction.
  3. Increased Productivity: Employees who feel connected to the purpose of the organization are more likely to be invested in their work. This emotional investment can lead to increased productivity as individuals are motivated to contribute their best efforts.
  4. Resilience in the Face of Challenges: Understanding the organization's purpose can provide employees with a sense of resilience. A strong connection to purpose can help individuals navigate difficulties and stay committed to the organization's mission in challenging times.
  5. Alignment of Values: When employees connect with the organization's purpose, personal and organizational values are better aligned. This alignment creates a positive work environment and enhances the organization's overall culture.
  6. Talent Attraction and Retention: Organizations with a clear and compelling purpose are often more attractive to top talent. Employees who resonate with the purpose are more likely to stay with the organization, contributing to lower turnover rates.
  7. Innovation and Creativity: A shared sense of purpose can foster a collaborative and innovative culture. Employees are more likely to think creatively and contribute new ideas when they understand how their work fits into the organization's broader goals.

Strengthening the relationship between employees to the purpose of the organization creates a sense of shared identity and a positive work culture, contributing to individual and collective success. Several strategies can be effective in strengthening this important relationship:

  1. Clearly Communicate the Mission: Articulate the organization's mission and purpose in a clear and compelling manner. Ensure that employees understand how their work contributes to achieving these overarching goals.
  2. Leadership Alignment: Demonstrate leadership alignment with the organization's purpose. When leaders embody the values and mission, it sets an example for employees to follow.
  3. A person in a suit drawing a yellow chalk arrow followed by smaller white chalk arrows.
  4. Personalize the Connection: Help employees see the personal relevance of the organization's purpose. Illustrate how their individual contributions directly impact the achievement of broader goals.
  5. Create a Positive Work Environment: Foster a positive and inclusive work environment that reflects the organization's values. A supportive culture enhances the connection between employees and the organization's purpose.
  6. Provide Opportunities for Feedback: Encourage open communication and feedback. Allow employees to share their thoughts on how the organization's purpose can be better integrated into daily work.
  7. Recognition and Rewards: Recognize and reward employees who exemplify the organization's values and contribute to its purpose. This reinforces the importance of alignment with the mission.
  8. Training and Development: Offer training programs that highlight the organization's mission and values. This ensures that employees are well informed and understand the significance of their roles in achieving the broader purpose.
  9. Incorporate Purpose into Goal Setting: Connect individual and team goals to the organization's purpose. This alignment helps employees see the direct impact of their efforts on the overall mission.
  10. Celebrate Successes: Celebrate milestones and successes related to the organization's purpose. Acknowledge and share stories that highlight the positive impact of collective efforts.
  11. Involve Employees in Decision-Making: Provide opportunities for employees to participate in the decision-making processes. When individuals feel involved, they are more likely to feel connected to the organization's purpose.

The relationship between employees and the purpose of the organization is crucial because it fosters engagement, motivation, and a sense of shared commitment. When employees understand and align with the organizational purpose, it enhances teamwork, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. This connection contributes to a positive work culture and can lead to long-term success for both the employees and the organization. By implementing these strategies, organizations can cultivate a sense of purpose among employees, fostering a stronger connection to the overarching mission and values.

"People want to do well and do good. They want to understand how they’re making a difference in the world. Things change all the time, but your organization’s purpose transcends any individual product or service." – Mark Weinberger, former CEO of Ernst & Young

"The most important keys to remote work at a startup have been weekly stand-ups. At Hive, we all get on Zoom once a week to chat and give shoutouts to the team. We also have regular 1:1s with video on. Having your video on totally changes the tone of a meeting and is critical for a startup." – John Furneaux, CEO of Hive

"Putting in long hours for a corporation is hard. Putting in long hours for a cause is easy." — Elon Musk, Founder and CEO of Tesla & SpaceX

  1. Harter, J. (2023, December 14). Are remote workers and their organizations drifting apart?.

Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.

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