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Sure, work can be its own reward. But for people who are lucky enough to have a purpose behind their work, the rewards don’t end there. Purpose-driven work has become a bit of a buzzword lately, not only for the sheen it can put on ordinary products and services, but also for the motivation it can spark for employees and executives.

“There are two types of entrepreneurs,” Ari Kalfayan, founder of the Startup & Tech Mixer told Inc. earlier this year. “One [type], they just want to get rich, … and that’s fine and we’re totally okay with that. And the other side is people who actually want to enact change in the world. And that change can mean many things: social change, change in business. [This means that] they may be giving away products and money for their service…[or] they’re finding a social need within society and filling it. And that’s what’s driving the business.”

This may sound familiar to many credit unions, where the commitment to serve members and community has driven the industry since the beginning. But now, that sense of purpose is not only innate – it’s also trendy. How can credit unions capitalize?

  • Make your mission part of your recruitment strategy. Asking candidates to discuss their interest in helping members achieve financial goals or their ideas for making meaningful connections in your community helps you find like-minded, motivated employees. Bonus: You’ll underscore your own commitment to your mission.
  • Put goals and deeds into words. Credit unions excel at putting their good intentions into action. But those actions have more far-reaching effects when they’re articulated as company lore, social media posts, finely-tuned mission statements and more. It is not enough to do the right thing. You must say that you did it – why and how.
  • Talk about purpose – and how you’d like to promote it. Do you make the time to discuss mission-related goals with your team? Are you soliciting their stories and perceived needs? Just as critically, are you consulting members, prospective members and people in the community about their goals, needs and values?

The great thing about purpose is that it aligns us. It draws people from many walks of life and far-flung departments and unites them toward a common goal. Purpose also drives us. Work ethic may motivate us, but purpose inspires us to dig deeper, care passionately and imagine greater things.

Watch an inspiring discussion of purpose at work with bestselling authors Susan Cantrell and Mark Thompson in conversation with young credit union leaders in this video from THINK 14.

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