Reigniting Purpose

Gallup’s Q12, the powerful employee engagement assessment tool, dedicates two of its twelve questions to understand if employees are connected to something bigger than themselves:

Question three – “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day” [1].

Question eight – “The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important” [1].

Question three speaks more to an individual’s ability to work daily on something they are personally passionate about, something they do best.

Question eight speaks directly to an individual’s connection, and their job’s connection, to the organization’s mission.


Gallup publishes the results for each of it’s twelve questions here [1]. Here are some trends for the percentage of people answering “strongly agree”:

Question three – January 2020 = 39%. Reduced 5 percentage points to 34% in November 2022. The low point post-pandemic was 31% in February 2022.

Question eight – January 2020 = 38%. Also reduced 5 percentage points to 33% in November 2022. The low point was 32% in June 2022.

The trends for these two questions should be warnings signs for leaders and a reminder for us that connecting people to our missions and helping them give of their best each day is one of the most important roles we have as leaders.

When we help people lean into their unique gifts, strengths, passion, and work that motivates them while simultaneously helping them see how their work contributes to our missions, our employees will be motivated, passionate, and more fully living out their own unique passion and calling.

Gallup asserts that if we can do this effectively, customer service ratings will increase, we could realize 30% less turnover, experience less absenteeism, and realize improvements in quality and overall effectiveness. [2].

Connecting People to Purpose

So what can we do about it…

Gallup suggests that leaders know their employee’s so that we can align their work with what they care about.

“The best managers know where their employees excel and position them so that they are engaged” [2]

“Great managers create opportunities to share mission moments and stories about the organization achieving its purpose” [2]

To double down on this, one organization I worked with dedicated time in routine one-on-one meetings to help their employees feel more personally connected to the mission. In these meetings, leaders sought to find ways that employees could live out their own personal calling more fully at work.

Instead of focusing the one-on-one meeting on tasks and tactical items, the conversations were employee-centric.

Leaders were encouraged to ask questions that surfaced the employee’s passion. Questions like:

  • “What work makes you the most fulfilled?”
  • “What tasks give you the most sense of purpose?”
  • “How can I help align your work to be more in-line with what provides fulfillment?”
  • “What can I do to make you feel more connected to our mission?”

Depending on how employees answered these questions, leaders would create dialogue about how to provide the employee more opportunities to perform work in the areas they were passionate about. Without changing roles or job descriptions, employees were encouraged to leverage their time at work to lean more into their passion.

If we can follow this example, perhaps we can reverse the trends and reignite a purpose-driven workforce that unleashes our potential!

[1] Gallup, Inc. 2023. “Indicators: Employee Engagement”

[2] Gallup, Inc. 2023. “How to Measure Employee Engagement With the Q12”