Epic Meaning is that sense of purpose that fuels our passion for a cause – whether that’s showing leadership in the workplace, an all-night gaming marathon or inventing the next best thing since electric scooters!
As such, Epic Meaning has a little to do with defeating ice-dragons and a lot to do with creating a sense of purpose. By harnessing the power of purpose, you can change behaviour and transform your organisation.
Join us to discover what Epic Meaning is and how it can transform your training programmes!
Epic Meaning Explained
In her groundbreaking TED Talk, ‘Gaming Can Make a Better World‘, game designer Jane McGonigal describes Epic Meaning as our desire to do something that matters, be involved with a goal and be of service.
This is why computer games are so popular – they give us opportunities to do something we perceive as meaningful. McGonigal says: “Gamers love to be attached to awe-inspiring missions and human planetary-scale stories.”
Just like gamers, we all want to change the world! This is what Epic Meaning is all about – a sense of purpose that drives us to do something that matters. It is the need or urge to be part of something much bigger than just yourself.
Epic Meaning is also the first core driver of The Octalysis Framework, created by a gamification guru Yu-kai Chou. The core driver guides us to seek a higher purpose or meaning beyond our personal goals.
According to Yu-kai, Epic Meaning is ‘the drive where people are motivated because they believe they are engaged in something that is bigger than themselves.’
As such, Epic Meaning is activated when your company inspires its people and gets them excited about being a part of a bigger purpose or plan. So, in a nutshell, Epic Meaning is our desire to be superheroes!
Why A Sense of Purpose at Work Matters
Creating Epic Meaning at work is all about showing each employee how their personal brand of awesomeness is essential in achieving your company’s mission. Feeling like a superhero is all well and good, but what about the business benefits?
When Epic Meaning is activated, employees choose to take action not because it benefits them directly but because it turns them into the heroes of the company’s story. As a result, you’ll gain active participants. This helps you grow your customer base and potential clients through your employees’ passion and commitment to your cause.
As such, make your employees feel important by showing them how they can use their skills to change the real world, and you can see meaningful business impact! Let’s explore how a sense of purpose at work can benefit your employees and your organisation.
1. Increase Employee Engagement
Research shows today’s employees are motivated by work that gives them a sense of purpose. So, whether your employees are on the shop floor or C-suite, make sure they understand how they contribute to the broader company mission.
This matters because nurturing your employees’ sense of purpose in the workplace increases employee engagement. In fact, research shows 73% of employees who report working for a “purpose-driven” company are engaged. And engaged employees are 17% more productive than their peers.
2. Increase Productivity
70% of business executives say that embracing the company mission boosts employee productivity ‘to a great extent’. Why? Because creating a sense of purpose gives employees the knowledge they need to excel in their role.
Understanding company goals helps employees better prioritise tasks, solve problems and innovate. On the other hand, a lack of purpose and role ambiguity is a common cause of workplace stress.
So, help keep your staff stress free and focused by making the purpose of their work transparent. This is important because happy employees are 13% more productive.
3. Customer Satisfaction
If your employees don’t understand your company mission, then your customers definitely won’t. Giving employees a clear sense of purpose in the workplace makes them better able to communicate the company mission and values to customers.
Employees with a deep sense of purpose will help keep customer satisfaction high and spread the love for your company’s world-changing mission! This can lead to better business outcomes as two-thirds of companies compete on customer experience.
4. Staff Retention
Our work plays a massive role in giving our lives meaning. Everyone wants to feel proud of how their work is helping change the world.
But what happens if your employees don’t understand the value of their job or no longer believe in your company’s mission? Eventually, they will leave. And did you know that the average cost of replacing an employee can reach a staggering 33% of their annual salary?
To hold onto your intellectual capital, nurture Epic Meaning throughout your organisation by recognising the vital role each employee plays towards your company goals. When your employees feel a sense of purpose in the workplace, they will stick around.
How Learning Technology Can Help Create Epic Meaning
You need to take the time to understand your learners. That’s the only way to create training interventions that activate Epic Meaning for them. As such, identify what their values are and what activities make them feel like they are part of a bigger purpose. This will help you to design the right learning content for your audience.
Here are just a few of the ways you can use learning technology to create Epic Meaning within your organisation.
1. Training with an Epic Purpose
Create engaging online training to communicate your company’s mission, goals and values to the staff at every stage of the employee life cycle. Remember, Epic Meaning is the desire to do something that matters. Whether your employees are learning about a new product, developing their customer service skills or completing leadership training, make it clear why their personal development benefits the wider company mission.
One of the best ways to install Epic Meaning into your employee training is to incorporate an engaging narrative into your training interventions. This allows you to drive meaning using the power of storytelling. It helps to forge an emotional link between your learners and your product or company.
After all, storytelling can be even more engaging than facts and stats. You can achieve the highest levels of Epic Meaning by aligning your employees’ aspirations to your company’s mission and values.
2. Rewards and Recognition
Whether we’re trying to level up in The Legend of Zelda, unlock a new character in Super Smash Bros or gain good feedback at work – we all like to receive rewards! This is because recognition feels good and fuels our sense of purpose. As such, recognition should be an important part of your company culture, as it makes your employees feel valued.
Gamification is an excellent tool that helps you to reward employees for helping in your company’s mission. Gamification means taking game mechanics and applying them to a non-game context to make the experience more fun and engaging.
Here at Growth Engineering, we love gamification! Our learning management system, The Academy LMS, is filled with features that help you make your learning interventions more engaging.
You can reward employees with Experience Points (XP), Badges and Achievements. Make sure to give each reward heaps of Epic Meaning by making it relevant to both the employees’ personal achievements and the wider company mission.
You can generate further Epic Meaning by linking your training to real-world rewards. For example, let your employees use their acquired XP or Badges to benefit a social cause by tying these rewards to charity donations or corporate sustainability efforts. After all, employees have been shown to perform better when they feel good about their company’s CSR involvement.
3. Social Power
We often derive meaning about our lives, identities and goals from others. So, it’s no wonder that research shows 76% of people say peer praise is extremely or very motivating.
TOMS shoes are an excellent example of Epic Meaning with social context. Their shoe programme means that when a customer purchases a pair of shoes, the company sends one pair of shoes to a child in a third-world country. This makes the purchase extremely motivating. With a simple purchase, the customer can let others know that they are helping the world and living up to their values.
You can harness this peer power to create Epic Meaning fuelled by social learning. Our learning technology solutions use pioneering social features to help learners test their knowledge, share their expertise and take ownership of their training.
Social features like Live Chat, Social Feeds, Clubs and the Experts Area give employees the opportunity to communicate, celebrate each other’s successes and offer feedback. This way, employees can socialise online to create their own Epic Meaning!
Epic meaning helps you to get the most out of your employees while crafting a winning company culture and getting business results. If your training programme doesn’t hold any meaning for your employees, you can’t expect it to change their behaviour.
In this article, we have explored Epic Meaning and the sense of purpose in the workplace. We hope you are eager to use our tips to transform your organisation! By following these tips, you can create and maintain a training programme that oozes with Epic Meaning. And with that in place, learner engagement will soon follow.
Would you like to learn more about Epic Meaning? Supercharge your training programme by downloading our guidebook, ‘Your Guide to Epic Meaning’, today!