WIP Peterson-Ward and Jones (1)

Finding a sense of purpose and dignity in your job

A conversation with Zoe Peterson-Ward, chief customer officer, Workhuman, and Beverly Jones, host, Jazzed About Work and author of Find Your Happy at Work

In this episode of the Work in Progress podcast, I’m joined by Zoe Peterson-Ward, the chief customer officer of Workhuman, and Beverly Jones, host of Jazzed About Work podcast and author of Find Your Happy at Work.

How do people thrive in the workplace? Of course, a good-paying job and job security are import. Experts say employees also need meaningful work, a sense of purpose, and a sense of being valued and recognized by their employer and coworkers. And they need room for career and personal growth.

The more that an employer can foster that kind of environment and the more a person can make their job more meaningful, the better for the worker and the company.

In San Diego, at the 2023 Workhuman Conference, I spoke to Zoe Peterson-Ward about that connection.

“We had, for many years, focused so hard on efficiency and grinding out the cost of doing business that we forgot that what actually makes people tick and makes people thrive is just as important in getting those business results,” argues Peterson-Ward.

She says even before the pandemic, the mindset had started to shift and the impact of a worker’s sense of dignity and purpose on themselves and the company began to come to light.

“We’ve discovered that we can actually create a much more fruitful environment, if we could just be kind, if we could just be grateful for the work and the commitment that people are giving in their day-to-day world, and the purpose that they are fulfilling, not just for their business but for their entire sustainable being.”

Says Peterson-Ward, “When you make those connections between purpose and work, it creates a much more productive environment. It enriches the community, it enriches the individual, and I think just creates a generally more beneficial outcome for all the parties involved.”

In addition to the employer providing an environment in which workers can thrive, workers themselves have ways to contribute to their own sense of fulfillment. That’s the thesis behind the book, Find Your Happy at Work. The author is career coach Beverly Jones, who also hosts the Jazzed About Work podcast.

She says that your own relationship to your job and career can be just as important as how your employer treats you.

“You have your own relationship with your career, which is something that’s bigger than your job. (For me), it includes classes I take. It includes things I read, and the discipline I try to have about getting up in the morning and doing things. It also includes how I take care of my fitness, because it takes a lot of energy to keep working for a long time, which I intend to do,” explains Jones.

Like Peterson-Ward, Jones believes everybody does better on the job if they have an idea of their mission and goals in the context of work.

“Work is more enjoyable – it’s more successful – if it’s tied to your goals and also your values. If you know you’re serving the public good – if every day you’re making difference in somebody’s life – it can be that kind of mission.

“But there are also people who are maybe doing a second job because they’re putting their kids through college or they’re working on their own grad school plan. Work that isn’t what you want to do forever, and doesn’t have a big mission for you, can be meaningful if it is enabling you to do something else.”

Jones has suggestions on ways in which your can to find your happy at work. Listen to the podcast here, or wherever you get your podcasts, to learn more.

Episode 271: Zoe Peterson-Ward, Workhuman, and Beverly Jones, podcast host, author, and career coach
Host & Executive Producer: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Executive Producers: Joan Lynch and Melissa Panzer
Theme Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4.0

Download the transcript for this podcast here.
You can check out all the other podcasts at this link: Work in Progress podcasts