By Dr Lindsay McMillan

Ever left wondering after a day’s work, whether you’ve made a difference? You may be in need of a meaning maker.

No, it’s not the slickest tech gadget or latest app that millennials are desperate to have, meaning makers are people who help young workers navigate work life and their life purpose.

This isn’t a new fad, but something that workers, especially millennials are looking for – someone to help make sense of work and life.

As part our research on purpose and meaning in the workplace, we found 77 per cent of millennials are looking for purpose and meaning in their employment.

Purpose and meaning are foundational qualities in a business and without them, organisations can suffer from high employee turn-over, disengagement and lost productivity.

Disengagement costs the Australian economy up to $53 billion, so it’s in the interest of businesses that employees have purposeful and meaningful work – this is why meaning makers are important.

Mentoring is an important part of career development however; young people are looking for more than sound advice over coffee.

Meaning makers are more than just mentors, they are in the workplace and they are the people who can say ‘This is why we exist as an organisation and this is why it matters’.

A lot of people gain valuable knowledge and advice from a good mentor, but it’s not your mentor’s role to then say, ‘Okay, how does that fit into your life goals and your personal mission?’

They can be your colleague or your supervisor, the point it that young people want to open up about the hard stuff including how their work is contributing or enhancing their life.

A meaning maker is not about coddling or spoon-feeding employees but providing context about how their work fits into their wider life purpose.

This is high level leadership and if an organisation is successful in providing this for their employees, it will be a hard job to tempt those employees away to another company.

a future that works’ six steps to build a culture of Purpose and Meaning are:

1.                   Foster Employee Participation and Inclusion

A culture of respect and valuing employees can be generated and sustained by the simple act of inclusion.

2.                   Communicate the Alignment between Individual Roles and Organisational Goals

Leaders need to be able to identify and articulate the way in which an individual employee’s role contributes to the achievement of the common purpose.

3.                   Encourage Autonomy and Active Engagement

After there has been a clear identification and articulation of purpose, workers should be afforded a high degree of autonomy to carry out their role and make an active decision to work towards this vision.

4.                   Provide Resources and Information

To increase autonomy, employees should have all the information and resources they require to effectively do their job.

5.                   Serve a Greater Purpose

While an altruistic outcome is not a requirement for developing meaningfulness, this is a recommended addition to help maximise the update of purpose among workers.

6.                   Reinforcing Engagement

Actively implementing these strategies will result in higher levels of engagement, and may be reinforced through incentivisation that is not only linked to financial outcomes, but measures of application and alignment. This can be achieved through career construction and job crafting.

To read the report, Delivering Purpose and Meaning click here.