Purpose in the context of work

In the Japanese language, there’s a very intriguing word: ikigai. It refers to one’s self purpose, self-determination. It’s the will to wake up each morning and say, “this is what I’m going to accomplish today”.

Purpose means motivation. It’s an objective to work towards. Ikigai is akin to the Costa Rican concept “plan de vida”, a life plan. It’s having a destination, a goal, a motive, and with that, an engine that propels us to advance along this life plan to fulfill our ikigai.

When uncertainty befalls a company, it obliterates your ikigai and shatters your life plan. The uncertainty deprives you of your purpose. It prevents you from discerning what you and the rest are aiming for.

Why are you waking up and going to work each morning? You don’t know if what you’re doing will last, so why bother about its quality? Should you even bother about doing it? Maybe you should wait, because, you know, things are always changing.

Is this sea of doubts and waves of unknowns what drowns employees and pushes them out of the company. So what can we do?

⚓️ Stabilize Company Direction

· Encourage organizational leadership to establish a consistent, unwavering direction for the company.
· Minimize frequent shifts in strategy and priorities, providing employees with a clear, long-term vision.
· Craft a well-defined business plan and ensure it’s consistently communicated.

📣 Prioritize Communication and Transparency

· Promote open and transparent communication within the organization.
· Keep employees updated regularly on company goals and objectives.
· Provide explanations for any necessary changes, and involve employees in the decision-making process when shifts are required.

❤️ Maintain Employee Engagement:

· Keep employees engaged by giving them a sense of stability and purpose.
· Provide opportunities for employees to contribute their ideas and suggestions.
· Recognize and reward employees for their dedication and commitment, even during times of change.

By addressing these action points, individuals and organizations can uphold employees’ ikigai, nurturing motivation, fostering happiness and yes, productivity, for we all enjoy working on what we love, what gives us purpose.

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