Help teams feel purpose in their work

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From a personal touch to a well-lit workspace, there are many ways to instil purpose


We all recognise the feeling. It’s Monday morning, it’s grey outside, and the prospect of battling the traffic just to sit in an office probably doesn’t feel like an inviting one for your employees. With heavy hearts, they make the journey and arrive hot, late and bothered – and wonder at all the time that could have been spent a better way. But it doesn’t have to be like this. There are a set of employee engagement strategies to banish those blues and increase job motivation head-on – and people-oriented leadership is a great place to start.

Think back to your time at school, and the teachers you remember most fondly. They’ll likely be the ones who kept the abstract explanations to a minimum, and made what they were teaching relevant to you and your life. It’s the same way with work: according to a study by the American professor Adam Grant, a behavioural psychologist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a college fundraising scheme brought in nearly 400% more donations than average after the volunteers listened to a scholarship student explain what that financial help had meant to them. Essentially, making it personal made people more motivated.

Growing up, you might have been told that honesty was the best policy. The same policy stands true today, especially when developing a best leadership style. People can smell deception and dishonesty a mile off, and they’ll be able to tell your heart’s not in something if you don’t truly feel it. So if you don’t really think that the scholarship student lights up the stage, don’t use them as a motivational factor. Authenticity is key.

There’s another factor that can have a huge significance on the motivation (and productivity) of employees. A flexible working policy can also make a real difference because it empowers your workers to make their own decisions about how they organise their time. And contrary to worries that they may not spend it wisely, the evidence suggests exactly the opposite: study after study shows increased productivity – and job satisfaction.

Combining a flexible working policy with a flexible working space can bring yet further gains, as employees are able to cut the commute by working somewhere closer to home; enjoy an environment geared to work, with none of the distractions of running a building; and even network with other clients – who knows where that could lead on the business front? Plus, investing in a bright, modern workspace shows your employees that you value them and the contribution they make to the company. 

We spend a lot of time at work, so it makes sense to spend it well. A personal touch, a belief in what you do and an inspiring place in which to do it will all help your employees to do their best work – and do it with real meaning. 


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