According to a recent Gallup poll, fewer than 30 percent of Americans are engaged at work. The research asserts that it is not enough to be well-compensated at work. Instead, the happiest employees are the ones who feel a sense of purpose in what they do. These findings are an excellent reminder to consider more than just the starting salary and bonus the next time you are in the market for a new position. Whether it is a non-profit like The Art of Elysium, a Los Angeles-based organization which encourages working actors, artists and musicians to voluntarily dedicate their time and talent to children who are battling serious medical conditions, or a for-profit social enterprise, like Tom's Shoes, which donates one pair of shoes to the needy for every pair of shoes sold, there are many good work and life satisfaction-related reasons to work for an organization where you will have the chance to make a difference. Below are six of the best ones:
1. You will be a happier person. In a Deloitte survey of more than 1,300 working adults, employees at companies with a strong sense of purpose were more than four times as likely to (79% versus 19%) state that there was high employee satisfaction at their company. Many of us spend more time at work than we do with our partners, families, or friends. As a result, doing work with a good purpose can make a big difference not just to our satisfaction with our professional lives, but with our lives in general.
2. You will like your co-workers better. Not only will other like-minded individuals be driven to a company with a purpose you believe in, but also that company will seek out such individuals. Mission-driven companies tend to look beyond just how qualified a candidate is for a job, and assess for cultural fit. Furthermore, according to Alia McKee, co-author of The State of Friendship Report, companies such as Zappos or 1-800-Got Junk have "Staff with strong bonds - teams that know and care about each other beyond what's required of their tasks and roles," and that these friendships are a key driver of employee satisfaction.
3. You may have access to some pretty great perks. In addition caring about the impact of the work they do, mission-driven companies also to tend to care about the well being of their employees and value work-life balance. Depending on the size and industry, socially-conscious companies can offer a wide variety of perks. For example, at BidKind, we offer employee benefits including a paid two week leave of absence each year to perform community service, group spin classes, and free healthy snacks. At the nearly 40-year-old Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the CAA Foundation is dedicated solely to giving back. The CAA Foundation harnesses the power and reach of pop culture to create positive, social change by forging strategic partnerships, encouraging volunteerism, stimulating public awareness, granting financial contributions, and providing in-kind donations. The CAA Foundation also empowers employees, companies, athletes, and artists to contribute their time, talent, and resources to make a difference, be of service, and improve conditions worldwide.
4. You won't be so bored at work. Sixty eight percent of employees in the US today believe that businesses are not doing enough to create a sense of purpose and deliver meaningful impact. At a social enterprise, the issues you think about will likely appear in headline news, the companies and organizations that you partner with will be focused on changing the world. Beyond alleviating boredom, giving back can add meaning to your work. Supermodel Selita Ebanks learned about Shine on Sierra Leone, an organization that seeks to improve the impoverished nation's quality of life, during an ELLE Magazine fashion shoot in Sierra Leone's countryside. Now, she is the organization's spokesperson and she finds that the cause brings her a sense of purpose.
5. You will have more opportunities for growth. Many mission-driven companies engage more actively in employee development and retention. They attract managers and executives who are focused on people and are more likely to mentor and train employees for success. Company-wide policies are also more likely to include professional development. One social enterprise start up, Warby Parker, cites their mission as a key driver behind their programs for employees including quarterly 360-degree reviews, monthly informal feedback sessions, workshops, and outside speaker sessions.
6. You will have more exit opportunities. If you ever decide to leave your new mission-driven employer, your resume will now resonate more with other purpose-driven companies, regardless of sector. Similarly, working for a non-profit or social enterprise can actually help make your business school applications stand out from those of more traditional candidates.
There are many personal, professional, and of course, moral, reasons that working for a mission-driven company can improve your satisfaction with work and life. Having a sense of purpose is even enough motivation for Jay Z to give up the $2.3 million that he averages each night while on tour in order to perform for free in Central Park as part of the Global Citizen Festival, a concert encouraging individuals to make a difference. Hopefully you have found that level of satisfaction at work. If not, it may be worth considering a change. Happy job hunting!