How to Connect to Your Purpose at Work

Purpose at work

Purpose at work isn’t something we tend to think about every day, but when we slow down for a moment and ponder it, it’s a big part of what makes or breaks a happy work life. 

A sense of purpose at work is a sense of direction, intention, and understanding that your contribution matters. 

To find out more, we talked to our experts: winners of the UKG 1 Champions Award. These individual U Krewers (our nickname for UKG employees) are playing critical roles as members of our business integration teams, which formed from the 2020 Ultimate Software and Kronos merger

We intended to ask these employees how they “find” their purpose at work, but after talking with them, it became clear that purpose isn’t something you find. It’s something you value—and nurture over and over again. 

Here are five ways to make your work more “purposeful.”  

1. Find meaning from continual learning. 

A growth mindset allows you to upskill and develop your experience.  

“I love to learn something new and stay ahead of the curve so I can help others. It’s also motivating to know that the work I do every day affects so many of our customers.” –Mike Bouley

“If I’m learning, I’ll love doing it. Even if I fail, I know that I’ll grow as a person because of it. That is my North Star.” –Sushil Kumar

2. Be the one to solve problems. 

Turn a challenge into an opportunity to find solutions. 

“My mantra is, ‘Be the solution, not the problem.’ My purpose is to go into a situation, face the problem, figure it out, and move forward.  There is no good that can come from pointing fingers, so taking the people factor out will ensure for a successful resolution." –Kate Carson

“My sense of purpose comes from being a private investigator and solving complex issues.” –Elaine Tellier

“I love being able to connect the dots in data to answer a question, provide a new insight, or tell a story in a new and compelling way. I like to take something complicated and frame it so that the audience can understand and see it from their perspective.” –Jason Rubovitz

3. Help others. 

Advocating for and supporting your colleagues leads to greater purpose. 

“As a people leader, my purpose is advocating for my team to ensure their talents are known and recognized and they’re exposed to opportunities to grow and continue contributing.” –Jane Beck

“When I can help solve an issue for someone or show them how to do something for themselves, and they have that ‘a-ha’ moment, that’s me fulfilling my purpose.” –Teresa Mann

“I find so much joy in helping others. From enabling colleagues to conquer their daily tasks to illuminating hidden talents through guidance and teaching, I am fulfilled by the act of nurturing and supporting those around me.” –Amber Reedy

4. Leverage trust to help others connect with their purpose. 

Finding commonalities and being open minded is key to building trust and instilling purpose. 

“If someone isn’t finding their work fulfilling, I look for ways to draw them into work that is closer aligned with their purpose. I talk with them and try to help them figure out what it is that gives them a sense of fulfillment. If all fails, we go grab a coffee or ice cream together.” –Amber Reedy 

“Build on the common bond you have. Remind them of their strengths. Sometimes just checking in with someone and letting them know you care about them is enough for them to slow down and reconnect with what matters.” –Jane Beck

“We’ve all been in that situation where our mindset gives us blinders. I try to help people see beyond the weeds to what’s important. I make sure they know I’m here for them and will do what I can to ease their stress.” –Kate Carson

“A person must motivate themself; you can’t do it for them. But often there’s a reason why someone has lost their motivation. Be the person they can talk as they’re on their path to finding inspiration again.” –Mike Bouley

5. Find your source of inspiration.

Staying motivated in your work doesn’t just happen, it’s an intentional pursuit (here are five ways to keep your people inspired). 

“To stay inspired at work, I move outside of work. I’m always doing something, like bike riding or going to the gym or spending time with my family.” –Elaine Tellier

“When you’re in a stressful time at work, it’s possible to lose your inspiration or motivation. I started doing 10-15 minutes of yoga each morning. This has helped me stay connected to my purpose.” –Sushil Kumar

“For one week, write down how your daily tasks made you feel. Then try to do more of those things that make you happy and fulfill your sense of purpose.” –Teresa Mann

“Find your professional community and look there for support and inspiration. For me, that is internal and external networks of data analytics practitioners.” –Jason Rubovitz

About These U Krewers