Episode 99: Purpose and Workplace Wellbeing

What’s the importance of purpose for our work performance and its impact on well-being? This episode addresses this question and highlights the role purpose plays in cultivating intrinsic motivation, and the need for purpose to be aligned with everyday life. We also explore the role of purpose in organizational success, the gap between leaders and employees in feeling a sense of purpose, and the challenges of implementing a comprehensive approach to workplace well-being. Along the way, we address burnout as a phenomenon related to working conditions and cover the need for organizations to prioritize tasks and support their employees.

Jessica Grossmeier, PhD, MPH is an award-winning researcher and the author of Reimagining Workplace Well-being: Fostering a Culture of Purpose, Connection, and Transcendence. She is a leading voice in workplace well-being and was recently recognized as one of the most influential women leaders in health promotion. Dr. Grossmeier has published more than 80 articles in peer-reviewed and industry professional journals and presented at more than 100 industry events and webinars.

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Episode Highlights

  • The personal payoff for having a strong sense of purpose
  • The neuroscience of purpose and the benefits of reflecting on values and purpose
  • How reconnecting with values and purpose can transform work experiences.
  • The significance of integrating purpose into various aspects of the workplace, such as onboarding and performance reviews, for organizational success.
  • Understanding burnout as a phenomenon related to working conditions and the need for recovery and support from organizations.
  • The changing expectations of employees and the importance of social connection in the workplace.
  • The need to approach work with dignity, respect, and compassion, embracing complexity and imperfection.

Jessica's view on the greatest unmet wellbeing need at work today

"Social connection, because people still feel like how we treat one another at work isn't necessarily the top priority. It's like, 'results of a top priority. Get there any way you can.' The unmet need is, is actually building social connection into the workplace.

And many organizations have said, 'Okay, I get it.' Now, the pandemic taught us that when you don't have social connection, it's a big problem. And so some organizations are saying, well just get people back into the office, it's naturally going to change.'

Well, actually, it won't, because what research shows us is that you have to attend to more than just giving people the opportunity to come together, you have to intentionally foster deeper conversations about things that matter to people and to help people to connect in a human way, not just around the everyday tasks of their work."

What “working with humans” means to Jessica

“When I think about what it means to be human, I think about complexity, adaptiveness resilience, imperfection.

Working with humans is about embracing complexity and imperfection with a default mindset that appreciates the whole person—the light, the dark, the positive, the negative, the inspiring, and the distressing—knowing we're all interconnected. And under different circumstances, we will reveal either the best or worse of ourselves.

And so with this understanding, I think working with humans is about approaching our work with a spirit of dignity and respect and compassion that's offered to everybody, especially those we dislike, misunderstand or disagree with.”


Follow: Jessica on LinkedIn
Visit: Jessica's website
Read: Reimagining Workplace Well-being: Fostering a Culture of Purpose, Connection, and Transcendence

Michael Glazer is the creator and host of Humans At Work. His purpose in life is to make well-being at work a globally-accepted, basic human right. Learn more about Michael here.