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Workforce Report | The Value of Purpose, Belonging, and Independence

May 19th, 2022

On a recent car ride with my 20-year-old daughter, en route to her now favorite milkshake bar, The Yard; we chatted about her new job with a local dental practice. As a recent graduate of a dental assisting certificate program, she is new to the workforce and the workplace.

As a parent, I was thrilled to have her open up about her feelings and her excitement with this new role. As a workforce professional, I was also curious about her impressions of this new landscape. I also learned a bit about myself on this car ride…mostly that I have no idea who Luke Combs is and why seeing him in concert is “worth saving money from your paycheck to get a ticket.”

My takeaways from a Saturday drive with Caroline:

Work Gives a Feeling of Purpose! A recent McKinsey Report shares that nearly 70% of people surveyed derive their purpose in life through their work. Employees are seeking workplaces that help them feel a part of something greater. We have seen that number jump living through the pandemic and the social shifts in the last two years. Today’s workers want to feel the connection to a “greater good” and are evaluating employers based on that desire.

Belonging is Critical to Attraction and Retention! Seeing yourself represented in a job and in a workplace is only one part of the equation. 

Having a sense of value and being seen by others is also critical. A recent Wellbeing Report by Glint reveals that belonging is now #2 on candidate’s/employee’s lists of importance…jumping 4 places since 2019. Being encouraged to be our true and authentic selves not only improves attraction and retention efforts but also can create a sense of “joy” in the employee!

Learning Makes Us More Independent! A job is so much more than a paycheck! It is often the pathway to confidence and independence. Many who are new to the workforce, or new to an industry, are craving a more independent life; but struggle to move forward. Lack of knowledge, life experience, required skill sets, and behaviors can all be significant barriers. A workplace that values communication, goal setting, and providing safe spaces for new employees to move out of their comfort zones fosters independent thinking and better outcomes!

Throughout the employee/employer life cycle, remember the value of purpose, belonging, and independence.

I will close with a quote from singer Luke Combs. When asked in a 2021 interview: “What makes you do the work you do?”. He answered:

“It gets me out of bed in the morning. To be able to write a song about what you feel genuinely connects you with your peers. And THAT is really cool.”

Kelly Fuller Headshot

Kelly Fuller 
Vice President of Talent & Workforce Development 
KellyFuller@columbus.org