“Make it Matter”: Rediscovering Purpose at Work


Feeling the work you do has purpose is key for happiness and overall well-being.

Societe Generale Americas offers "Make it Matter,” an interactive workshop that gives employees at all levels the opportunity to explore the meaning and purpose of what they do every day - what it means for them personally, their colleagues, and for the bank overall.

Says Ariel Nyfield (HR), "The job each of us does--it matters. The stronger connection we have to a clear purpose at work, the more we are able to foster a community of engaged employees who are motivated to do better for their stakeholders.”

Attendees focused on such questions as, “Where does your company have goals about having a positive impact on the world?” “In what ways does your team have a positive impact on the world,” and “Does your organization or team provide opportunity for customers to have a positive impact?”

A key theme was the importance of acknowledging progress and achievement, which has also been an area of focus for Societe Generale with its Spotlight initiative.  Says Jeffrey Kowal (Operations), “The biggest message I got was about recognition. It really goes a long way when you hear that another team or a client thinks you’re doing a great job.” He admits that the high caliber of employees and the consistently excellent nature of their work can sometimes lead to taking high achievement for granted. “I’m going to be more proactive and go out of my way to recognize people more and also do it more publicly,” he says.

Echoed Mark Pekala (Data Management), “A session like this brings to the surface how important it is to express appreciation, which can fall by the wayside amid the pressure of deliverables and deadlines.” His personal goal: to write more notes to teammates, and to create awareness of their accomplishments among senior management. “I want people to feel reassured that I not only know they’re doing good work but that my manager does as well.”

Haviland Dunne (HR) says she took the class because she is a Culture and Conduct Champion and wants to focus on team spirit. “I appreciate my manager so much because she’s always recognizing everything that we do and showing her appreciation. Even if it’s just the small things like buying us lunch, it makes you feel good to work with a manager that puts that kind of effort into it.”

She also spoke about the pride she takes in the bank’s various philanthropic efforts as something that they value about working at Societe Generale Americas. “I am constantly reminded that Societe Generale is a good place to be because of the many charity activities that are being done.”  Agrees Mounia Madry (Risk), “The training gave us the chance to reflect on how much the Bank gives back to the community. Societe Generale offers our employees the opportunity to give back through our partnerships with various charities such as America Scores, Cents Ability and the Harlem Food Bank.”

She continued, “The big advantages to working here are our charity activities, our employee resource groups, and the relationships we all have with each other.” She said she hopes to inspire her team members that they can—and should—re-find their purpose. “I re-found mine.”

Attendees said they would welcome the chance to share their insights with team members, and to explore the topics covered in the workshop in more detail.

Summed up Dorothy Motus-Chin (Finance), “For me work is constantly `go-go-go.’ We’re going 150 mph and you have to take a step back. This was a way to unplug and say, `Why am I here? What is my purpose?’” Her big takeaway: “It was a refresher about purpose. It’s a great opportunity for all employees to have that, and we should all spread what we learned here with our teams.”