Employee Fulfillment Trumps Engagement

Imperative releases 2019 Workforce Purpose Index
May 22, 2019 11:00 AM ET

Never confuse motion with action. Good advice from Benjamin Franklin. Never confuse motion with meaningful action. Even better advice from Aaron Hurst et al., in the third Workforce Purpose Index, released May 16.

In 2015, 2016, and again in 2019 Hurst and his team at Imperative have been peeling back the layers to understand what drives real employee engagement and value. Yes, it is purpose, as they first discovered and reported in 2015, but it goes deeper than that. The key finding of the latest research is that fulfillment in our work plays a critical role in our lives and the lives of the organizations that employ us.

There is good news in these findings. First, people prefer fulfilling (meaningful) to engaging (busy) work. They believe it is not only possible to find, it is their responsibility. People see fulfillment as something they create for themselves, not something for which their boss or company are responsible; it’s not an entitlement. Second, people need meaningful relationships, impact, and growth at work to feel fulfilled. Third, fulfillment links directly to core measures of business success. Finally, there are clear implications for leaders to engender employee fulfillment, largely through their own behavior and the work environments they cultivate, as has always been the case.

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