- Eighty percent of college graduates consider a sense of purpose either very important or extremely important to their work, according to new data from Gallup. The organization's study, Forging Pathways to Purposeful Work: The Role of Higher Education, polled 2,205 grads and 637 hiring managers.
- Still, less than 50% of grads reported successfully finding purposeful work post-graduation, per Gallup. For undergraduates, there are four experiences the report claimed are important to finding purposeful work: having an applied internship or job; knowing someone who encourages their goals and dreams; harboring realistic expectations for employment after graduation; and participating in classes or programs that help them think about pursuing meaningful work.
- Hiring managers believe a liberal arts education is important to new hires' success, the study said. These participants identified critical thinking, effective communication, teamwork and curiosity as traits they seek in candidates.
Students, much like those already in the workforce, desire meaningful work and might seek out employers with values that mirror their own. One study revealed workers will even work harder and for less pay if they see a greater purpose to their contributions at work. Data have also suggested meaningful work can be critical to employee happiness, which helps drive engagement, ownership and retention.
However, workers may not always see how their labor fits within a larger context to further the organization's mission and, in those cases, HR and direct managers can help them to understand the importance of their work. HR professionals might consider how a culture that factors in purpose and encourages listening to workers' needs can aid this process. A new focus on corporate social responsibility might also help attract workers who desire greater purpose, Peggy Anderson, VP of global talent acquisition at Blackbaud, wrote in an opinion piece for HR Dive.