Whatever jobs people do, it is important that they feel their efforts at work are worthwhile and are valued. After all, nobody enjoys working at what are seemingly pointless tasks day after day. Managers and supervisors play a direct role in ensuring the work allocated to their direct reports is seen as purposeful by them.
Having a strong sense of purpose is central to every human being’s psychological well being. Having a sense of purpose motivates us; it encourages us to meet the challenges we face head-on and it acts as a buffer against the pressures and stresses we experience.
Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University, says: “Purpose is vital for individual performance and that’s about being connected to the impact of your work and the difference that it can make.”
But having a sense of purpose is not only good for encouraging individual performance, it also has a real impact on an organisations financial health. This is because of the positive impact a sense of purpose has on absenteeism levels. People who feel their work has a real purpose are known to be less prone to sickness and to have lower levels of absenteeism. With absenteeism currently costing the UK £29bn each year (research by PWC) http://www.pwc.co.uk/human-resource-services/issues/the-rising-cost-of-absence-sick-bills-cost-uk-businesses-29bn-a-year.jhtml anything managers and supervisors can do to promote a sense of purpose in their direct reports and so reduce absenteeism adds real value to their organisation.
One of the fundamental ways managers and supervisors can give their direct reports a clear sense of purpose is by ensuring that each and every person understands their role. By being clear on the role you expect each of your employees to do and communicating this with them, your reports can better understand the ways in which their daily work contributes to the overall goals and values of the organisation. This alignment of daily activity with long term company goals and values will help to give your reports a genuine sense of purpose and is considered a fundamental part of positive performance management.
Also important to positive performance management is regular feedback. Employees who receive regular feedback and appreciation from their line manager for the work they do feel valued, and so know that what they do is important to their organisation.