21 May 2023

The 8 essentials to have job purpose & boost motivation

Feeling unmotivated, without much purpose, or a decline in connection to your job?

Or perhaps you’re leading a team, or an organisation and are feeling unsure how to boost the motivation of your team?

These 8 factors are essentials for job purpose and connection. They are science-backed critical ingredients to elevate the performance and wellbeing of teams.




Factor 1: Clear Goals

Clarity of expectations in your job without ambiguity. People need to understand the organisations and teams goals, and then how their role and remit connects and contributes to those goals. Our purpose and connection to our job is elevated when we have a mixture of performance results driven goals, as well as personal development goals.

Factor 2: Variety & Challenge

Whilst certainty in our jobs is a very important basic human need, we also require an element of variety and appropriate stretch challenge to feel like we are growing and engaged in our work. Being bored in our jobs (boreout!) or facing long stints of excessive workload without adequate support (burnout!) can be leading causes of wellbeing decline. It’s important to have regular conversations with team members and co-create opportunities for a healthy balance of job variety and challenge.




Factor 3: Autonomy

Having some flexibility and control in how we choose to work is very important for our engagement. When people believe they have no choice, or little authority in the decisions that impact them, it immediately signals an inability in their contribution and performance. Removing autonomy and flexibility from people’s jobs is a big engagement and trust eroder.

Factor 4: Work-Life Integration

People’s lives are very interconnected. For most people, time spent for work, family, community, friends. and for themselves is very important. Performance and wellbeing at work is only maintained well, when time can also be readily given to family, to being involved in the community, or self-care to enjoy the things in life we each enjoy. People’s work output is significantly improved when they can integrate work and life well.



Factor 5: Meaningful Work

When we believe in what we do and can see our direct impact, people find meaning. It’s important everyone understands ‘the why’ behind the organisation they work for, and ‘the why’ behind their own goals. Our greatest meaning as individuals is found when we know ‘the why’, then can use our natural strengths, draw on the skills we are proficient in, and do the things that light us up.

Factor 6: Skill Utilisation & Skill Growth

Being able to use our skills to contribute well to outcomes is a big motivator. Being appropriately challenged to extend our skill set and grow our contributions is another big motivator. Providing opportunities for people to do what they do best is very important. And providing regular development opportunities for people to stretch and extend their skill set (or close skill gaps so they can take the next step) is a sure-way to boost engagement and performance.



Factor 7: Collaboration & Cohesion

People need 5 friendly relationships at work to feel connected, and they need 7 to feel like they really belong. As technology continues to evolve the ways we work together, it’s never been more important to go above-and-beyond providing people with opportunities to build meaningful relationships at work. Regardless of whether  we operate in a remote, virtual or in-person environment, remaining firmly connected together ensures a more psychological safe, cohesive and trustworthy working environment – the gateway also to better innovation.

Factor 8: Feedback & Recognition

Most people feel hesitant giving feedback. A great strategy here is to shift the mindset. Rather than getting feedback, we can tell someone what we’d like feedback on and why. Feedback becomes our gift of choice. Unrecognised work is the fastest way to foster resentment. Too often we are hustling across so many priorities, we do not take the time to stop and recognise the wins. No matter how big or small the win, make the time to publicly recognise and pay gratitude to people’s contributions.


Purposeful job design is not a nice to have, it is a must-have human need, a key factor for our success, psychological safety and happiness at work.


ACTION FOR INDIVIDUALS: If you are feeling unmotivated and low on purpose at work ask yourself what are my must-haves for each of these 8 factors? Taking the drivers wheel in hand for positive change, begins when we first get clear on what we want and need ourselves.


ACTION FOR LEADERS: If you are keen to boost team motivation and connection, try using these 8 factors as a conversation platform with individuals to co-create more purpose in everyone’s job.


Each of us will value these 8 factors differently, but a balance is important. What gives you job purpose? How do you keep your teams motivated and connected?


#jobpurpose #jobmotivation #jobconnection

#ThrivingWorkingParents #EmpoweredWomenLeaders #MentallyFitTeams


Poppy Griffiths is a professional coach and Director of UnlimitU a high-performance coaching consultancy, which supports the inclusion of working parents, women in leadership and the mental wellbeing of teams. If you are interested in private or organisational coaching, group coaching workshops, or a high energy keynote, please get in touch. poppy@unlimitu.com.au  


Poppy is UnlimitU's founder and principal success coach. "Every human has more potential, hidden, held back or in the making"