How Helping Employees Find Their Purpose Increases Your Talent Retention

It often surprises people to discover that money is actually pretty far down the list on why people leave a job. Lack of connection to their supervisor, an uninspiring culture, and the inability to find value in their work are the top reasons employees exit a work environment.  

So what does this mean for management? It means finding value and purpose is more important than ever in the talent retention game.

People seek to have purpose and meaning in their life; it is just a part of what makes us human. When employees understand their purpose and value as a part of the organization, they commit to achieving the desired outcomes of the organization itself.

“People leave managers, not companies.” -Marcus Buckingham

Belonging and the Importance of Trust

The greatest leaders know how to create a trusted environment and establish a safe place for discourse, healthy conflict, and debate. Being a truth seeker and building trust are important leadership roles, and building trust is impossible without a sense of belonging.

Leaders of strong trusted environments speak with honesty and candor, simultaneously allowing others to do so without fear. These leaders possess high levels of emotional intelligence, and always take into consideration the way individuals feel and how they may perceive information being shared. A lack of trust hinders this ability to share information, which is why trust is essential to an organization’s success.  

How Do We Help Employees Find Purpose?

Here are three key ways to help your employees find purpose in their everyday work that will positively help retain talent and impact the bottom line.

Mentors Play a Key Role

Mentoring is a relationship-building activity between two professionals who allow for an exchange of information for the purpose of development, advancement, or succession. In a mentoring program, there is a mentee—a young professional—and a mentor—a seasoned or experienced leader.  The mentor serves as a “grounding board” for the mentee.

A grounding board scenario is based on fact, not opinion and the grounded individuals are not trying to impress the mentor. While a sounding board simply reflects what is being said at the moment, the person who is acting as the “grounding board” absorbs and processes information to make a truly informed decision. Typically, a sounding board has limited information and doesn’t offer healthy conflict, a safe environment, or collaboration. Therefore, true leadership requires a grounding board approach.

Create Opportunity for Validation

Employees must have a performance process that allows for their continuous development and coaching. This process evaluates what the employee is doing and why what they’re doing matters to other team members, as well as other parts of the organization. This process builds team performance and offers ways to sustain the culture’s healthy existence, which leads employees to growth opportunities and maturity—first for themselves and then for the organization. When employees feel they belong and that what they do matters, that’s when we get a glimpse of commitment. 

High-fives, Handshakes, and Fist Bumps

One easy way to make an employee feel validated is to offer outward acknowledgment of a job well done. When leaders give high-fives, handshakes, and fist bumps to others, employees, they are bonding through the process of affirmation and acknowledgment. And affirming what people do gives them a feeling of accomplishment and pride.

Imagine the feeling of value an employee receives when a member of leadership congratulates him for completing an assignment, participating in community service, finishing an educational achievement, or helping a consumer. It’s the acknowledgment that signifies a job well done. These minor efforts can have a major impact on teamwork, performance, and retention.

I encourage you to look for an opportunity to celebrate someone on your team today.

Are you looking for ways to help your employees feel a sense of belonging in your organization? Who is doing a great job? Celebrate them in the comments below!

To learn more about the leadership values that can positively impact your team and create a Cohesion Culture™️, connect with Dr. Troy here.


Dr. Troy Hall is the Chief Strategy Officer for South Carolina Federal Credit Union, a $1.8B financial cooperative with over 165,000 members. With a Ph.D. in Global Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Troy has earned the designation as an International Development Educator. As the author of Cohesion Culture: Proven Principles to Retain Your Top Talent, his book showcases how and why South Carolina Federal Credit Union has been named a “Best Places To Work” by Glassdoor, the Credit Union Industry, and State of South Carolina.

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