Purpose in the Workplace


There was a Harris Poll survey years ago that asked employees how connected they were to the purpose and core values of their company.

  • 37 percent of these US workforce employees clearly knew their company’s purpose.
  • 20 percent were enthusiastic about the purpose of the company.
  • 20 percent could see how they as an employee could support the purpose of the company.
  • 15 percent felt enabled to work toward the purpose
  • 20 percent fully trusted the company that employed them.

Is that a good set of statistics or not? It’s not unexpected when you look at the US workforce right now.

What if that were a football team? So what if you’re the quarterback on this football team and on this football team, on the offensive side, there are 11 players and you find among all 11 players that only four of them know which goal they’re going to. That only two of them cared. That only two of them knew which position they’re supposed to be playing. The two of them believe that their efforts could make a difference out of the 11, and that eight of them would just as soon be rooting for the other team.

That makes little sense, right? When I talk to groups, to companies about this, people have a nervous laugh because they know they should be acting like a team, but that they’re not typically.

Victor Strecher, University of Michigan School of Public Health

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