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How to Find Value and Purpose at Your Job

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Read Time: 13 min

According to MicKinsey & Company:

Nearly two-thirds of US-based employees we surveyed said that COVID-19 has caused them to reflect on their purpose in life. And almost half said that they're reconsidering the type of work they do because of the pandemic. 

This sudden change in employer sentiment is known as the "Great Resignation."

The pandemic has forced us to reconsider spending our time and money. A physiological shift has occurred, and one's values and purpose in life are under questioning. The quick guide on what to consider before accepting a new job can help you find the right job:

But if you're like many employees, earning more money isn't enough. They want their work to be meaningful and to have a positive impact. The chance to be heard and empowered has been equally crucial to earning more money.

This shift in psychology has changed the landscape of the working world. Employees no longer take the first job that they can find. To recruit the best talent, employers must make the employees workplace more human-centric. 

This article discusses how employees can find meaning and purpose in their jobs. We'll also cover how employers can deliver these more meaningful work opportunities. 

Find a Job That's Got Value and Purpose

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Are you looking for work with a purpose? (Image source: Envato Elements)

You've decided to find a job that brings you meaning and purpose. But are you wondering how can I find a job that brings me the fulfillment I am looking for? 

With a bit of introspection, planning, and research, you can find the right job for you. In this next section, we'll cover the various factors you need to consider when looking for a meaningful job and actionable steps that you can take. 

1. Know Yourself

Before the job search begins, you need to understand who you are as a person. Discovering what you value will be your compass when navigating the job market. 

Taking a deeper look inside yourself doesn't have to be some spiritual ritual. Start with thinking about what you focus on in your life. This can be anything from organizations you support or the type of work environment you prefer. 

Include specific priorities for the workplace and outside the employees workplace. Write down each of these priorities in your life. This provides a clearer picture of what matters to you. The tutorial below can help you to better define your values:

2. Create a List of "Must-Haves"

Next, it's time to construct a list of "must-haves" and "nice-to-haves." The "must haves" are workplace values and qualities of a job that you won't compromise on. The "nice to haves" is a list of workplace values and ethics that you want but aren't a deal breaker if they aren't there.

Use the list of priorities in your life in step one to help you create these other two lists. Be sure to include more job-specific wants and needs in your lists. Salaries, location, and benefits are all essential to have here. 

When going through job interviews, don't compromise on your "must-haves." Finding a job with these workplace values is the whole point of looking for a new job. 

But don't include everything in your "must haves" list. Rarely will you find a job with all your workplace values and wants. There will be compromises when taking a new job. You shouldn't compromise on your important values and desires.

You're ready to start your job search with your "must-have" and "nice-to-have" lists. You can now begin looking on job search websites to find leads for jobs that interest you. But scrolling through job descriptions on job search sites isn't enough. This won't help you find a job that has meaning to you. 

You need to dig deeper into the company that interests you to understand its culture. 

Informational interviews are an excellent way to see what it's like to work for the company. Volunteering and talking to team members helps you to see whether the company's values align with yours. 

The key is to be an active participant in your job search. Pre-written online content about a job won't reveal a company's true self to you.   

4. Network

Networking with like-minded professionals is essential.

You should look at job sites and start making connections there. You can find a job that fits your ethics and values this way, but it isn't the most effective.

Tapping into your network of friends and colleagues will be more productive. Contact people that share the same workplace values as you do and find out ask questions about their workplace. 

As mentioned, you can contact companies and ask for an informational interview. This would be the preferred method for finding a job that aligns with your workplace values.

Another excellent opportunity for networking in person is through conferences. 

Don't have an extensive network of friends and colleagues?

Social media can help here. You can network effectively even if you don't have a big following. Try reposting content and tagging employees from companies you're interested in. Creating discussions around content that uphold your values can help you network.

The only downside is this option may take longer to execute. But hey, finding a job that gives you meaning and purpose isn't supposed to be easy, right?

5. Put Your Values on Your Resume

List your "must-have" values in your resume. This helps job recruiters find the right job for you. This list of values also helps potential employers make a more informed decision on their hiring. 

You can add your values to your work experience or include a separate section on your resume. 

6. Discuss Your Values in Interviews

It's crucial to bring up your values in your interviews. This is your best opportunity to determine if the company shares your values.

When answering interview questions, weave in your values and highlight them. Short stories work well to emphasize what's important to you.

You'll have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of an interview. Take this time to reiterate your values and ask about the company's values. Emphasizing your values gives you a better chance of being hired if your values align with theirs.

Hiring Employees Looking For Value & Purpose

This major shift in the employee workplace is not only a challenge for workers, but also for businesses. Companies worldwide ask, "How can you hire employees that require you to share their ethics and values?"

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Are you wondering "what is the meaning of work?" (Image source: Envato Elements)

Making your company the ideal workplace for everyone isn't possible. Every person has their own set of unique workplace values, beliefs, and wants. 

It is possible to make your company more attractive for value-driven employees by focusing on the company itself. The best place to start is with your organization's purpose in the world. 

Does your company make the world a better place? Are your company leaders using the company's current values to make tough decisions?

Your company's purpose is the one factor you can control. This should be the main focus of making your business a more purpose driven workplace.

A study from McKinsey & Company shows that employees are five times more likely to enjoy their job if the company they work for spends time reflecting on how they can improve the world. 

Start spending time with leadership to reflect on your company's impact on the world. From there, you can begin to make the necessary changes from within the company. 

Also, give your current employees a chance to be heard. Conduct workshops and meetings that create an open discussion on what's important to them. Then start to make the changes suggested by your employees in the workplace.

Help your employees live their purpose at work. Doing this creates an organic shift in the work culture. This organic change significantly increases your company's chances of finding purposeful employees that want to work for you. 

After management realigns the company's core values, a system of accountability must be put in place. If the company leaders don't follow through on the workplace values they set forth, you won't stand a chance at attracting value-driven employees. Put a system of accountability and measurement in place to ensure follow-through of your company's purpose.

5 Companies That Make a Meaningful Difference

Purpose-driven workplaces often work to make a difference. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Companies of all sizes continue to make a significant impact on the world. According to Forbes, companies with a meaningful purpose are nearly 80% more likely to be remembered by customers. 

The contributions that companies make to improve our world come in different forms. Some companies focus on social issues, some make regular contributions to charities, and others donate their products to those in need. 

The list below is of a few companies that give back (sources: Comparably, Tony Robbins, and Forbes) Here's how each one makes a difference in the world: 

1. Chipotle

This fast-food Mexican grill chain is an active contributor in a few ways. Giving back to the people the company serves is a big part of Chipotles value driven contributions. They allow communities to host fundraisers that give back 33% of the sales. They also have support disaster relief, organic farming, and donated over five hundred thousand meals to non-profits. 

2. Patagonia

This outdoor clothing brand has pledged 1% of its profits to positive environmental change and local agriculture since 1985. 

3. Warby Parker

Warby Parker uses their product, eyeglasses, to make a difference in the world. For every pair of glasses purchased, the company donates a pair of glasses to someone in need. Also, the glasses that Warby Parker sells are very affordable. 

4. Marriott

The mega hotel chain Marriot uses its own rewards programs to try and make the world a better place. When customers stay at a hotel, they receive rewards points. The customer can donate these reward points to help fight racial inequality, provide COVID relief, and other causes. Marriott will then match the points the customer donates and convert them to cash. The cash is then donated to the causes mentioned. 

5. Ben & Jerry's

We all know Ben & Jerry's for their colorful ice cream creations. Since the company began, it has focused on environmental issues, social justice, and sustainable food sourcing. Currently, the company donates 7.5% of its annual profits to philanthropy. 

The contributions listed show the unique ways companies positively impact the world. Within your company's niche and operations, you can create a plan of action to make a meaningful difference for people. 

Let's now cover how you can make companies can make their workplace more meaningful to their employees.

Jobs That Make a Difference

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If you're looking for meaning and purpose in your work, you're not alone. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Unsure of what type of jobs can make a difference in the world?

Here's a list of jobs that can get your value-driven job search started:

  • Physician. Physicians help care for people in their community. As a physician you'll examine and treat patients in need of medical attention.
  • Environmental Engineer. Today's world is filled with complex problems. Engineers can help protect the earth's ecosystem.
  • Investigative journalist. Find out the truth as an investigative journalist. Fake news is more prominent than ever. An investigative journalist can help people make informed decisions.
  • Firefighter. Firefighters are needed now more than ever with global warming. You'll respond to fire outbreaks as well as other emergencies.
  • Social worker. With this job, you can make a difference by improving vulnerable groups living conditions. 

Let's now look at how companies can provide more meaningful work opportunities.

How to Provide More Meaningful Work Opportunities

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Workplace values are an important consideration when choosing a job. (Image source: Envato Elements)

As employers, it's crucial to understand how to attract new talent in a tight labor market. The recent shift in employee behavior can leave your company with subpar talent if you don't know how to create a value-focused work environment. 

This can also lead your current employees to find meaningful jobs elsewhere if you can't provide them with a sense of meaning and purpose.

Here are a few ways companies can make a difference in how employees view their work.

1. Take Purpose Audits

Before you can begin to make changes, you must understand what everyone's workplace values are. Company-wide personal audits are excellent for finding out what changes need to make. 

Personal audits are nonformal questionaries that have the employee reflect on what's meaningful to them. Include a question about your company's values and how they can relate to them. Have the employee discuss how their current work fits in with their purpose. All this information is invaluable when deciding how to bring more meaning to your company's jobs. 

2. Give Your Team Members More Freedom

When someone performs a repetitive task without an influence on the direction of the job, they won't feel a sense of purpose. Giving your team members more autonomy is something all companies should consider to varying degrees. 

Here are ideas you can use to give your team members more freedom in their jobs:

  • Let employees work during the hours of the day when they want to work rather than having a set work time.
  • Loosen company rules.
  • Don't micromanage.

Research has been showing just how ineffective micromanaging can be and how it can damage your management style. 

3. Provide Career Advancement Opportunities

Give your employees a chance to better themselves on their own time with career advancement programs. When given the opportunity, employees will be much more inclined to take their careers to the next level. This helps them make progress toward their goals.  

There are plenty of companies out there that offer career advancement opportunities. Here's a list of medium to large businesses that offer career advancement opportunities and quotes from employees. 

4. Philanthropy

As you saw from the list of companies making a difference in the world, they're doing so with philanthropy. Any company can be an active philanthropist. This can be as simple as donating money to a worthy cause or donating your own product to people in need. 

5. Encourage Employees to Donate

You can take philanthropy a step further. Offer charitable donation making from your employees. When an employee donates, match that donation to the same organization. 

This incentivizes employees to donate to causes they feel strongly about, as more money is donated. Here's a list of companies that encourage their employees to give back and the ways in which they donate.

Start Your Job Search Today!

Still need more help finding your ideal job? Envato Tuts+ has many resources to guide you through the job search process. Check out some of these articles below:

Find a Value Driven Job

Now more than ever companies are making their workplace more value driven. Finding the right job that aligns with core values and gives your purpose is possible in today's workforce.

By being proactive in your search, you can find the right job for you. Follow the steps outlined in this article and you can make a difference in the world and spend your working hours contributing to a bigger cause. 

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