Career, Community, Cause

That’s what most employees want out of their place of work, according to a recent Harvard Business Review blog post. The authors write,

If [Abraham] Maslow were designing his pyramid from scratch today to explain what motivates people at work, beyond the basics, what would it look like? That’s a question we set out to answer at Facebook, in collaboration with our people analytics team.

We survey our workforce twice a year, asking what employees value most. After examining hundreds of thousands of answers over and over again, we identified three big buckets of motivators: career, community, and cause.

Career is about work: having a job that provides autonomy, allows you to use your strengths, and promotes your learning and development. It’s at the heart of intrinsic motivation.

Community is about people: feeling respected, cared about, and recognized by others. It drives our sense of connection and belongingness.

Cause is about purpose: feeling that you make a meaningful impact, identifying with the organization’s mission, and believing that it does some good in the world. It’s a source of pride.

These three buckets make up what’s called the psychological contract — the unwritten expectations and obligations between employees and employers. When that contract is fulfilled, people bring their whole selves to work. But when it’s breached, people become less satisfied and committed. They contribute less. They perform worse.

Here are a few interesting bits from their survey:

  • “Contrary to the belief that Millennials are more concerned with meaning and purpose, we found that younger people cared slightly less about cause — and slightly more about career — than older people. In fact, people ages 55 and above are the only group at Facebook who care significantly more about cause than about career and community. This tracks with evidence that around mid-life, people become more concerned about contributing to society and less focused on individual career enhancement.”
  • “Our engineers care a lot about community, giving it an average rating of 4.18 on a 1-5 scale. And just as we saw with age and location, across functions people rated career, community, and cause as similarly important.”
  • Career ekes out ahead in virtually every group, except among Latin Americans (just barely), Western Europeans (career and community are almost identical), and those 55 and above.




1 thought on “Career, Community, Cause”

  1. It seems to me that the statistics are likely skewed a bit by focusing on a self-selected group. I doubt that educators and health care workers are properly represented here. Not sure whether non-profits are included. All three of those sectors are likely to have “cause” ranked higher.

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