- Kathleen Hogan has served as Microsoft’s chief people officer for close to five years, overseeing over 140,000 employees globally.
- She talked to Business Insider correspondent Shana Lebowitz about the mechanisms behind CEO Satya Nadella’s push to transform company culture.
- One of these shifts has been considering a sense of purpose essential to job performance.
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Purpose: It’s not just for millennials.
This, as Microsoft chief people officer Kathleen Hogan recently told Business Insider, is a key takeaway from her first half-decade on the job.
"There is a lot written about how millennials want purpose," she explained to our correspondent Shana Lebowitz in a recent Q&A. "And what I’ve come to believe after five years in this role is everybody wants purpose. That’s the secret sauce."
The purpose you feel from working at Microsoft is the "secret sauce" to getting hired and staying at the company.
Hogan is accountable for over 140,000 Microsoft employees across the globe, and she looks for indicators that potential employees will find purpose through the company and the opportunities and culture it provides.
"Pay and perks are table stakes," Hogan said, "but if you have that great sense of culture and people, pride in the company and that sense of purpose, when you have all layers working, that’s when people are at their best. And also when I think people want to stay."
She points to the research on how millennials want purpose from their work. According to a March 2019 report from Gallup, millennials want more than just a paycheck: They want a purpose. They want to work at a place that recognizes their strengths and allows them to do what they do best. Hogan says the need for purpose encompasses everyone, not just millennials. That’s what she’s come to believe after five years as chief people officer.
Purpose means being personally fulfilled and feeling like you’re contributing something meaningful to society. A study from Morten T. Hansen, a management professor at the University of California, Berkeley, found that finding purpose could help with job performance as well. People who matched passion with purpose performed better at work than people who didn’t express one or both qualities, according to Hansen’s research.
Unfulfilled employees are urged to make a change — whether internally, in terms of perspective, or externally.
When Microsoft employees aren’t feeling fulfilled, Hogan encourages them to zoom out and look at the bigger picture. Sometimes people can get stuck on a single meeting or project, but when they look at the opportunity they have within the company, the people that they get to work with, and the global impact they have, their mindset could change.
Even with that, if employees are still unfulfilled, they need to have that conversation with their manager. They have to do some soul searching and understand what gives them joy and purpose.
"If it’s not the role that you’re in," Hogan said, "seek to make a change."
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