Harnessing Personal Purpose to Enable Employee Experience

Peer coaching can help build employee engagement and support a sense of purpose at work — something that’s critical for retention.

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As talent continues to reshuffle across the economy in rapid numbers, more and more businesses are realizing that they need to build a work culture that attracts and retains great people. What’s clear from the latest labor trends is that employees are leveraging power in new ways — and companies must focus on besting their competition when it comes to employee experience.

When pursuing an employee experience that engages workers, companies too often make the mistake of looking only at one-size-fits-all solutions. They vow to provide more flexibility, opportunities, and an inclusive culture. While these factors matter, they don’t cover what is often the most important one that’s missing: a personal sense of fulfillment. The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer survey found that for people leaving or looking to leave their jobs, the biggest driving force involves values — and within that category, the top reason is that they want more personal fulfillment from work.

As McKinsey notes, people gain a sense of fulfillment from finding purpose in their work. But that purpose is not all about the company’s mission statement. Instead, it’s unique to each individual, according to McKinsey: “People who find their individual purpose congruent with their jobs tend to get more meaning from their roles, making them more productive and more likely to outperform their peers.”

One of us (Aaron Hurst) researched the role of purpose in the workplace for his book, The Purpose Economy. He found that because purpose involves complex emotional and social factors, people need tools to uncover their own unique sense of purpose and discover how it can be applied to their work. Now, through his peer coaching software, which guides pairs of colleagues through structured, thoughtful conversations, he helps organizations do this.

Hasbro, where Kathrin Belliveau works, introduced this peer coaching method to its employees last year. The program proved so transformative in addressing the employee experience that, for the first time ever, four units all volunteered to fund it together: brand, learning and development, purpose, and employee engagement.

Discover Personal Purpose Through Guided Reflection

Companies benefit when they create frameworks for employees to find their own purpose drivers.


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