How a ‘purpose intervention’ increased job performance by 171%, and how to replicate these results with your team

JP Michel

In 2007, Adam Grant, best selling author and management professor, conducted a study on the call center employees of a major university. Much like fundraisers, these individuals call alumni to ask for donations.

To motivate the callers, Grant designed a ‘purpose intervention’.

Grant arranged for one group of call center workers to meet the students who were the recipients of the school’s fundraising efforts. This purpose intervention was short;  a five-minute session where the workers were able to ask the student about their studies. 

The results:

One month after this visit, the callers showed average increases of 142% in weekly time spent on the phone and 171% in money raised. 

(Callers in two control groups, who did not meet the students, showed no significant changes in performance.)

The shift:

When the employees learned about the story of scholarship students, they shifted from cold-calling to changing lives.

Seeing their job as a way to help others added purpose to the work of the callers. 

And their persistence and performance improved as a result. 

How can you replicate these results? Reconnect with your ‘why’. 

Invest time reflecting on the following questions:
-Who do we help? Why?
-How does our work benefit them?
-How can I spend more time in contact with those we help?

By deepening the connection between our work and those we help, we can increase our #purpose#motivation and #performance.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

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